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View Full Version : Fingerstyle vs strumming



AmandaJ
01-02-2018, 03:46 AM
I'm curious as to which way people prefer to play.

I can't sing very well so I prefer fingerstyle because I can make it sound more like the song I'm trying to play.

But it seems that a lot people prefer to strum chords?

Which do you prefer and why?

Rllink
01-02-2018, 04:07 AM
I do both of and I don't prefer one over the other. I play fingerstyle and sing to it as well. A lot of songs sound good accompanied by fingerstyle. Others sound better strummed. It just depends. I like to mix them up for variety. So I can't vote.

MopMan
01-02-2018, 04:27 AM
Option three: both have their own place.

I tend to play more with strums at this point in my ukulele career (they are easier for me for now), but I have fingerstyle on my practice plan and I am careful not to neglect it.

Croaky Keith
01-02-2018, 04:37 AM
I started off picking melodies, & only later gave strumming a shot, because I wanted to join in on the Seasons threads, & they mostly sing & strum, but when it's just me, I pick melodies. :)

Jim Yates
01-02-2018, 04:46 AM
Like Rllink and MopMan, I like to do a bit of each, sometimes in the same song. For Five Foot Two/Please Don't Talk About Me, I like to play the melody using finger style and strum while I'm singing.
Is chord/melody style considered strumming?

I have never used a flat pick on my ukes, but two of my students, who had been playing for a while before they came to me for lessons, use the pick exclusively. I have tried to get them to experiment with finger style, especially for double stops, and they have reluctantly given it a try.

Chopped Liver
01-02-2018, 05:19 AM
Hm . . . tough question. I voted for fingerstyle because I love all that you can do with it and I love baroque and classical music, but strumming is probably more fun and relaxed for me. If I am going to sing along, I strum. Strumming is easier for me, too.

kitsunegarcia
01-02-2018, 05:51 AM
I voted fingerstyle but I actually do both as well. I like to sing for both styles if there are words included. It might be better to make a poll answer that includes both.

AmandaJ
01-02-2018, 06:05 AM
I voted fingerstyle but I actually do both as well. I like to sing for both styles if there are words included. It might be better to make a poll answer that includes both.

Yes - I thought of that. But I was curious as to which people liked most. Ideally, I guess, you'd be able to play both and choose which one depending on the song and if you were playing with others etc.

Interestingly, so far, fingerstyle is winning the poll. But a lot of the resources that I find only gives chords. Sometimes there is a lead sheet but often not arranged for ukulele or have ukulele tabs (I can read music but I'm a bit slow). Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places!

TobyDog
01-02-2018, 06:14 AM
I voted fingerstyle. I'm currently on my 2nd book of classical tabs from S. Muir's website. My 2018 goal is to get though each of her classical books.

I like the way strumming sounds, but what time I have to practice I end up spending on fingerstyle.

TobyDog
01-02-2018, 06:18 AM
... But a lot of the resources that I find only gives chords. Sometimes there is a lead sheet but often not arranged for ukulele or have ukulele tabs (I can read music but I'm a bit slow). Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places!

Have you checked out Samantha Muir's website (she's British)? She has a ton of tab music for ukes. I think her beginner's book is called something like 'The Art of Arpeggios". http://www.samanthamuir.com/ukulele-2/

jer
01-02-2018, 06:26 AM
I mostly strum. That said, I do a little picking within chords too sometimes. I'm not sure that should qualify as fingerstyle though. I tend to associate fingerstyle with more instrumental music, and as something much more involved than what I do.
I also will hit a single note here and there while strumming in sort of a folk or country type style. I'm just more rhythm oriented on uke.

AmandaJ
01-02-2018, 06:27 AM
Have you checked out Samantha Muir's website (she's British)? She has a ton of tab music for ukes. I think her beginner's book is called something like 'The Art of Arpeggios". http://www.samanthamuir.com/ukulele-2/

Thanks - I'll have a look. I picked up one of Tony Mizen's books as a result of a recommendation from here which has nice fingerstyle arrangements for ukulele.

bratsche
01-02-2018, 07:35 AM
Fingerstyle only for me. I can't play and sing at the same time (as if anyone would want to hear me to sing), and strumming alone would be boring as heck.

bratsche

Ukecaster
01-02-2018, 07:49 AM
I started all strumming, trying to incorporate more fingerstyle now. The Samantha Muir books will really get all the right hand fingers going. On the other hand, I've watched some videos by Kimo Hussey, and he plays the heck out of his ukes using what looks like mainly thumb and pointer, pincer style. So I guess there are many degrees of fingerstyle.

wayfarer75
01-02-2018, 08:37 AM
I do both. No preference, other than my mood.

merlin666
01-02-2018, 08:43 AM
I don't understand the question and need a explanation as to the difference between "strumming" and "fingerstyle". With my steel strung guitars I use a plectrum and I pick and strum with that. With my ukulele, I use the fingers to strum and pick ... so I guess it would be fingerstyle as I don't use an additional tool.

buddhuu
01-02-2018, 08:49 AM
I don't have a real preference but I guess I actually do more strumming as I mostly play to accompany vocals. Or, in my case, to try to drown out vocals.

acmespaceship
01-02-2018, 08:54 AM
I play both. I voted "strumming" because it's losing and I felt sorry for it.

Are you really asking about whether we play melody? Because I often fingerpick chords to accompany vocals and I am not sure if that's included in your definition of "fingerstyle."

Croaky Keith
01-02-2018, 08:56 AM
I don't understand the question and need a explanation as to the difference between "strumming" and "fingerstyle". With my steel strung guitars I use a plectrum and I pick and strum with that. With my ukulele, I use the fingers to strum and pick ... so I guess it would be fingerstyle as I don't use an additional tool.

Finger style usually means picking out the melody, whilst picking individual notes of a chord is usually referred to as arpeggiation.

janeray1940
01-02-2018, 09:21 AM
I'm primarily fingerstyle, since I can't stand the sound of my own voice. But I'll happily strum and sing with others, or play chords to accompany other instruments.

As for resources - I'm not very familiar with free/online sources since I prefer print, but there are many, many books to choose from. OP has already seen Tony Mizen's books; the late John King put out two classical books as well. Fred Sokolow is currently releasing a number of books that have both chords/lead sheets and fingerstyle tab (I like his Beatles book), James Hill just released one, and there are a few from Lyle Ritz and Herb Ohta Sr. available through Flea Market Music.

And if you have access to a Japanese bookstore or are willing to order online, you'll find countless options. Ukulele is huge in Japan and some really great players/arrangers have done books ranging from standards to pop to classical to anime/video game themes.

Booli
01-02-2018, 09:38 AM
I too cannot answer the poll with the choices given.

My playing includes songs that are like campanella as well as flamenco and some songs have elements of both. These are songs that I wrote myself.

If making a video for UU's Seasons challenges, most of the time I am simply strumming in order to accompany my tiresome and labored attempt at singing.

Once I realized that sounding like Paul McCartney, Sting, Bono, Bobby Darin or Frank Sinatra was not within my realm with reasonable effort (baritone vocal range) and lots of singing lessons (and NOT wanting to sing Opera or top-40 pop tunes) I decided to focus my attention on writing instrumental music with lyrical melodies, that can be played with the techniques mentioned above.

The ukulele is my voice now.

Kyle23
01-02-2018, 10:05 AM
I'll always have a soft spot for strumming as I've been strictly doing that since I started playing the uke. I however just started my journey in finger picking on monday. MAN is it hard. I tried it a bit a few years ago, but couldn't quite get it so I took some time off lol. My left hand does what I need it to but my right hand just won't work right! Does anyone have any tips? I feel like a newbie again. I also can't get the strings to ring louder. If I pick harder, it totally just ruins my accuracy. Here's a quick video if someone can help explain what I'm doing wrong. Maybe it's because I'm only using my thumb to pick?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD9V_dk12PE&feature=youtu.be

janeray1940
01-02-2018, 10:25 AM
Here's a quick video if someone can help explain what I'm doing wrong. Maybe it's because I'm only using my thumb to pick?


I wouldn't say you're doing anything wrong - it sounds pretty good to me! However, two things that might make it easier for you are using your index and middle (and maybe even ring) fingers in addition to thumb, and - get a strap. I resisted using a strap for a long time and when I finally tried one, I found my playing improved by a huge leap almost immediately.

Using the thumb-only isn't wrong exactly, lots of Hawaiian and Japanese players who are really advanced play that way, and that was how I started as well. But much later I was told to consider "four fingers, four strings" which made a lot of sense, and started using my index and middle as well. I never could quite get proficient at using my ring finger, but I'm working on that now, using Daniel Ward's Arpeggio Meditations for Ukulele (http://www.danielward.net/shopping/arpeggio_meditations_for_ukulele/). It's tripping me up big time, but getting better.

Gary52
01-02-2018, 11:04 AM
I also can't get the strings to ring louder. If I pick harder, it totally just ruins my accuracy.

As janeray wrote, try adding some fingers. Finger nails will give more volume than the fleshy fingertips. Finally, old strings can sound pretty dead when plucked.

I play finger style on a KoAloha concert (strung with PhD fluorocarbons), and its pretty loud.

Kyle23
01-02-2018, 11:13 AM
I'll give it a shot using all of my fingers. I just feel I might get lost with all that movement going on. I don't want to make this thread about my issues, so carry on haha

Booli
01-02-2018, 11:54 AM
I'll give it a shot using all of my fingers. I just feel I might get lost with all that movement going on. I don't want to make this thread about my issues, so carry on haha

Kyle-

If you pick closer to the soundhole, or even betw the soundhole and bridge, instead of at the 12th fret, you will get more attack in the sound of the strings (without necessarily needing to pick/pluck harder), and if you do pick harder in this area, you have more room to dig in than you do in the ~2.5mm of space under the strings at the 12th fret.

I cannot do fingerstyle over the fretboard, for my nails would then scrape the wood under the strings, and I personally am positioned betw the edge of the fretboard and soundhole most of the time so I can approach the strings actually from somewhat on the side and underneath with my natural nails. Works for finger pads too if that is how you play. :)

MopMan
01-02-2018, 12:21 PM
I'll give it a shot using all of my fingers. I just feel I might get lost with all that movement going on. I don't want to make this thread about my issues, so carry on haha

Kyle, I have been using a book called Arpeggio Meditations for Ukulele (http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?128281-Arpeggio-Meditations-for-Ukulele-(Daniel-Ward)&highlight=arpeggio+meditations) by Daniel Ward. It is focused on simple right hand techniques for beginners and I found that by following his method I gained finger independence and confidence fairly quickly.

I would recommend you to try it. There is a sample exercise linked in the UU thread I linked above.

sopher
01-02-2018, 12:29 PM
I'm definitely fingerstyle, either instrumentals or accompaniment. The only time I strum is when my wife and I attend one of the strumming uke groups. That is really mostly a social gathering for me.

Jarmo_S
01-02-2018, 01:14 PM
I'm a strummer, because as lots I solo with my thumb, it is not counted as fingerstyle. I seldom accompany songs with uke's traditional 3241 fingerpicking or any other, so yes a strummer :)

Kyle, I really liked your solo thumb and video. I have some classical guitar fingerplay background and it many times hurts me see and hear how the fingerpicking is going for them, some uke players. I'm now older and can't grow or keep anyways nails playable anymore lool.
And I don't hold my ukulele the way that is really appropriate for fingerpicking anyways.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
01-02-2018, 01:53 PM
Strummer here! :)

I love to sing with my uke and just about all the song circles I've visited are focused on singing, therefore,
Strumming.

I can fingerpick some songs I've memorized, but I don't focus on that... even for myself at home. I did once,
hence having a few melodies in my back pocket.

When in HNL I try to get permission from Gordon Mark to join one of his classes, and that is all fingerpicking.

Anyway, I like singing and accompanying myself by strumming. i also like figuring out the chords to provide
appropriate background support for songs (as in creating song sheets and songbooks :) ).

keep uke'in',

zztush
01-02-2018, 02:42 PM
I am strummer too. I like to sing with my ukulele. I am big fan of Uncle Rod Higuchi's songs in his MP3s.

Nickie
01-02-2018, 06:15 PM
I voted picking, but I do strum a lot too. The most fun is a combination of both, or what I call making chord melodies.

Jarmo_S
01-03-2018, 02:53 AM
For me I can fingerpick, I have all the chops for that if wanting to study someone else's arrangements. For ukulele I have not tried to read anything except melody only on standard notation. But I have played some tabs.
Can read and play some songs on classical guitar. They are only for to remember.

But what I want to say ... I can't express myself with uke's melody-chord solo play spontaneously. It would need some work that I don't consider so rewarding. What I consider rewarding is accompany myself with ukulele, my singing kind of ;)
I do solo sometimes, uke is a nice instrument for that. Listen songs on radio tv, etc and just play the melody along. Sometimes chord strums too if I get the key. I like the high range of ukulele over guitar so much.

Thumb without nail gives me the best sound for soloing, but yes I'm a strummer.

Jeffelele
01-03-2018, 05:22 PM
Didn’t vote as I use both.

luv2uke
01-03-2018, 07:49 PM
Didn't vote either. I like to do chord/melody songs while playing alone, but in groups I strum faster songs and fingerpick slower songs.

Jim Yates
01-03-2018, 08:11 PM
Quote Originally Posted by merlin666 View Post

I don't understand the question and need a explanation as to the difference between "strumming" and "fingerstyle". With my steel strung guitars I use a plectrum and I pick and strum with that. With my ukulele, I use the fingers to strum and pick ... so I guess it would be fingerstyle as I don't use an additional tool.


Finger style usually means picking out the melody, whilst picking individual notes of a chord is usually referred to as arpeggiation.

I don't agree with this definition of finger style. Picking only the melody in a single line is not necessariy finger style. Picking a melody with your fingers while keeping the rhythm with your thumb would be finger style, but is much easier to do on the guitar or at least a low G uke. Picking the melody with the thumb and strumming chords with the fingernails (Carter's Scratch)is another method of paying that I wouldn't call finger picking.

Any of these patterns, mixed up randomly, would be called Pattern Picking. I guess pattern picking is a form of arpeggios if you hold down a chord.

______3__________3__ _________3__________ ___3_________3_____
_____________0______ _____0_______0______ _________0_________
______0________0____ ___0_______0________ _______0_______0___
___0______0_________ _______0_______0____ ___0_______0_______

bellgamin
01-03-2018, 08:39 PM
I am forced to strum because I can't finger pick, no matter how long I have tried. I can flat pick melody on a guitar, but always break a string or 2 when flat-picking a uke.

RafterGirl
01-04-2018, 02:16 AM
I strum and play chord melodies. I haven't ventured into finger style yet, but would love to learn it.