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View Full Version : What is the benefit of finger strumming over guitar-like strumming technique?



MdBoy
07-12-2017, 12:57 PM
I'm coming from the old-time banjo and pick-less guitar world, I either fingerstyle like travis pick, use clawhammer style, or do that thing where you put your thumb and forefinger together, as if you have pick but don't, and strum, which gives two nail surfaces for both up and down strumming. I do all these on the uke too and it sounds pretty good (I'm about a month into playing the uke so very newb).

I find the finger strumming i see in the uke vids very unnatural, something about dragging my bare finger tip across the strings. Is that done more for the sound or does it convey a technical advantage?

Booli
07-12-2017, 01:23 PM
More than anything the videos you see might be just clumsy fumbling of beginners...and possibly lack of experience.

For myself, I see no technical advantage to using fleshy fingertips.

I use my natural nails and detest all finger-picks, and find a flatpick on ukulele inarticulate and an impediment to flamenco and campanella techniques for me.

If you've already got some skills for your right hand from other fretting instruments, there is no big reason to throw all that away on ukulele, and I feel it gives you an advantage as a beginner on uke, so you might as well keep doing what you are doing. :)

There are enough other impediments anyway.

ripock
07-12-2017, 02:54 PM
for me, it is all about the sound. For example, I am quite fond of using the knuckle of my thumb on an upstroke. It kind of puts a slight muting on the strum that differentiates it from the downstroke and creates a rhythm. It also makes the clearer downstroke, which is often the beat to be emphasized, more stridently the center of attention. Obviously all this is predicated on your style of playing. If, for instance, you're just a strummer who wants to play a Bruno Mars tune, then having a strum that diminishes the verisimilitude toward the original is unwanted. I, however, always just do my own thing and noodle around and in that case having an idiosyncratic strum suits an improvised ditty.

Croaky Keith
07-12-2017, 09:38 PM
I'm not much of a strummer, but I just do what comes naturally. :)

(Not much of a singer, either. :biglaugh: )

Rllink
07-13-2017, 03:47 AM
I started out doing the one finger strum that beginners are taught, but since then I've picked up several different strumming techniques that I use. I might try the pinch the finger and thumb together, just to see how that works. For myself, I try everything. It is never an either/or situation, you can do it more than one way if you want.

MdBoy
07-13-2017, 05:12 AM
for me, it is all about the sound. For example, I am quite fond of using the knuckle of my thumb on an upstroke. It kind of puts a slight muting on the strum that differentiates it from the downstroke and creates a rhythm. It also makes the clearer downstroke, which is often the beat to be emphasized, more stridently the center of attention.

Very interesting idea! I would not have thought about that. It would certainly impart a stronger "groove" than more symmetrical strumming.

kypfer
07-13-2017, 07:24 AM
MdBoy wrote:
I find the finger strumming i see in the uke vids very unnatural, something about dragging my bare finger tip across the strings. Is that done more for the sound or does it convey a technical advantage?

I don't think there's any "technical" advantage ... it's just the way things were traditionally done. See the extract below from the 1914 Bailey's Ukulele Method.

101492

Much like the fuss made over the way George Formby played his instruments ... OK if you want to try to emulate the man, but no more than an exercise if you really want to play clawhammer or campanella ;)

YMMV - :music:

WestyShane
07-13-2017, 07:49 AM
something about dragging my bare finger tip across the strings. Is that done more for the sound or does it convey a technical advantage?

I strum that way but I keep my fingernail long so that it sounds like I'm using a pick.

The advantage for me is that I don't have a pick to lose and I can do a better job of scratching various itches.

Booli
07-13-2017, 11:16 AM
The different techniques just offer different sounds. If you take the time to learn how to do them all you can use them to make a tune sound different, and sound the way you want it to sound. But you do not have to learn them all, you can have a lot of musical challenge and enjoyment by just using any one of them without ever learning any of the others. Sometimes you need to focus on just one thing to optimise speed and accuracy. They will all work on every single ukulele that your will ever own.

aye! and +1 to that ^ :) :music:

UkeNukem
08-01-2017, 07:46 AM
DITTO on the above! Try to imagine the sound you are after in your head then experiment with different methods until you match it.

Plus, part of your unique sound is how you play so if you get a sound that you like that works in that song, enjoy it!