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Shobo
02-05-2017, 05:41 PM
Hello Everyone!!! I am new to playing the ukulele and I am having issues with moving my middle and ring fingers independently. I can move my middle finger independently OK but I have major issues with moving the ring finger. Anyone know of some exercises that will help with this? It makes it difficult to do chord shapes quickly.

Dan Gleibitz
02-05-2017, 07:25 PM
First: Don't stress, you're perfectly normal!

Two simple exercises that should help:
1) Place your fingers and thumb on a table or your knee, in a comfortable partly curved finger position (think piano playing). Lift and hold one at a time. Repeat. Don't strain your muscles, try to stay relaxed. It's about connecting the brain and fingers.

2)Same position, but this time slowly walk your hand forwards on fingers 1 and 3, then 2 and 4. Keep 2 fingers on the table at all times. Now walk them back the same way. If you're anything like me this will be almost impossible the first time you try it, but it gets easier.

A couple of minutes a day should improve finger independence.

dhbailey
02-06-2017, 12:14 AM
Following Dan's great advice (which you can obviously practice anywhere you are) you should then do the same practice while holding the ukulele. The easiest string to start with is the A string (assuming reentrant GCEA tuning) -- pluck it without a finger on it, then place the first finger on the first fret and pluck, then the second finger on the second fret and so on with many repetitions (keeping in mind Dan's advice not to strain the muscles) of 0-1-2-3-4-3-2-1-0-1-2-3-4-etc. This also has the added benefit of getting your picking hand and your fretting hand to work together for good tone.

Once you have this working fairly well you can add an excercise where you keep your 3rd finger down and then add the 4th finger and keep placing the 4th finger and then picking it up, plucking with your right hand all the time, in a 3-4-3-4-3-4-etc. pattern to strengthen independence in your 4th finger.

DownUpDave
02-06-2017, 01:48 AM
You will get a lot of advice toward specific finger exercises because most everyone starting out had the same issues. One that I like and use daily is finger flapping, done slowly with great concentration on staying relaxed.

Finger flapping is done by placing all four fingers of your fretting hand on the A string . Index on 3rd fret, middle on 4th, ring on 5th and picky on 6th. All fingers are in a relaxed curled playing postion and lightly touching the string. You then lift up the index finger off the string then place it back down so it is lightly touching again, do not push the string down. Do this 5 or 6 time then repeat with the other fingers. You develop a great mind body connection with each finger. Lots of variations, use different finger sequencing. Push the string down then lift up high. Change the string your are on and the position on the fret board, etc, etc.

Twibbly
02-06-2017, 02:00 AM
I stick my fingers on the fretboard one at a time in each position on each string as a mobility exercise, ie, doing 12344321 on each string (and sometimes, 43211234).

I also do it when I've got nothing to do with my hands (ie, watching stuff for class, off on walks, etc.) and do it against my thumb - just 1234432112344321.

SoloRule
02-06-2017, 04:02 AM
First: Don't stress, you're perfectly normal!

Two simple exercises that should help:
1) Place your fingers and thumb on a table or your knee, in a comfortable partly curved finger position (think piano playing). Lift and hold one at a time. Repeat. Don't strain your muscles, try to stay relaxed. It's about connecting the brain and fingers.

2)Same position, but this time slowly walk your hand forwards on fingers 1 and 3, then 2 and 4. Keep 2 fingers on the table at all times. Now walk them back the same way. If you're anything like me this will be almost impossible the first time you try it, but it gets easier.

A couple of minutes a day should improve finger independence.

This is great advice! I notice my cousin who is an established concert pianist does that whenever he sits down. Drove me crazy. Now I know why.

JMort847
02-06-2017, 04:29 AM
Great tips! I have trigger finger in my left middle finger and a surgically-repaired left index finger. While playing the ukulele help them limber up, these ideas will really help!

Django
02-06-2017, 06:43 AM
My first guitar teacher said that the best guitar exercise was playing the guitar.

jollyboy
02-06-2017, 06:45 AM
Lots of good advice :) As has been pointed out this is perfectly normal - the tendons that work your middle and ring fingers are actually connnected. Check this out (good pub trick). (http://www.sciencemadesimple.co.uk/activity-blogs/paralysed_finger)

Shobo
02-06-2017, 01:02 PM
Thank you all for the replies! I will have to try the different exercises and it is nice that this is a common issue for a beginner.

cosmic68
02-11-2017, 11:13 AM
Hi there. Check out this exercise from a UU teacher (Matt Dalberg-all his videos are really helpful).

https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=5fxbpQGVLts

It's called the 'caterpillar' exercise and may be perfect for what your trying to achieve. I turned to it as I have very little control of my pinky, so this has helped.

zztush
02-12-2017, 07:48 PM
Hi, Shobo! I see your trouble with ring and pinkie. I am teaching ukulele to my friend he has same problem.

The trouble with ring finger and pinkie happens mostly when they come in front of middle finger (See the figure below). The left figure shows G7 chord and right figure shows G chord. We normally have not much trouble with G7 because ring finger is behind the middle. This location is common and usually seen in our life. But G chord style is not common which the ring finger comes in front of middle finger.

https://s19.postimg.org/o1sktt4w3/combine_images.png (https://postimg.org/image/saxavz85b/)images hosting (https://postimage.org/)

I am teaching my friend last 4 month. He is doing very good. He still have a trouble with chord change of G. My suggestion to him is repeat G shape.

JJFN
02-13-2017, 08:20 AM
Great tips! I have trigger finger in my left middle finger and a surgically-repaired left index finger. While playing the ukulele help them limber up, these ideas will really help!

I also have trigger finger in my left middle finger. Playing and stretching helped me a lot, but I also got a lot of help from taking Cod Liver Oil. I take 1 1000mg capsule a day. My trigger finger no longer "clicks" when I bend it, and is almost straight rather than concave as it was when this condition started. Good Luck

hikaru
02-22-2017, 05:51 PM
Hi there. Check out this exercise from a UU teacher (Matt Dalberg-all his videos are really helpful).

https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=5fxbpQGVLts

It's called the 'caterpillar' exercise and may be perfect for what your trying to achieve. I turned to it as I have very little control of my pinky, so this has helped.

Thanks for the video! This is really helpful :)

I'm also having some similar problems on moving my ring and little fingers together, especially when trying to play the chords using all four fingers, like Cdim, Fm7, Fmaj7, etc. Those just give me nightmares! Any advice/exercises?