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UkuleleHill
04-18-2010, 06:39 PM
I did a search and I found a thread on it, but it went off topic after the second post, so I was wondering, how many of us use our thumb to strum instead of our index fingers? I came over from guitar and I learned to strum with my thumb on Guitar so it was just natural for me to do the same with Ukulele... So... Anyone else a thumb strummer?

leftovermagic84
04-18-2010, 06:46 PM
guilty. I usually upstrum with my thumb, and downstrum with my finger, so it's all nails and no flesh

Rzr
04-18-2010, 07:02 PM
, but it went off topic after the second post, so I was wondering,

What strings do you guys think I should use?

CountryMouse
04-18-2010, 07:13 PM
It's according to what I'm doing: if I want it to sound softer, so as not to overpower my voice, then I use my thumb to strum down and the tip of my index finger on the upstrum. If I want more volume during an instrumental break, I'll play with my index finger, the nail hitting on the downstrum.

CountryMouse

Dane
04-18-2010, 07:36 PM
I have all my nails grown out, and I strum both with my index, and my thumb at different times, if I want a slower clear single strum it sounds better if I use my thumb, I strum quicker with my index, but sometimes I use my index and my thumb at the same time while I'm strumming, I use my middle finger for chunking, but sometimes I also use it for upstroke strums. I'm also getting pretty decent at what I think aldrine and them called a triplet strum, where you use index and thumb for an up, up, down combo strum. The nails give me options as well, so i can choose single chords or single strums in fact to accentuate with the attack from the nail.

I've used this line before, and I think it should be my own special phrase now, "Never limit yourself" try using thumb if you never do, use index if you never do, it's just another thing to add to your uke arsenal for use when YOU so choose. I'm always trying to gather as many techniques as I can, because I think it will make me a more balanced player.

Dane
04-18-2010, 07:37 PM
What strings do you guys think I should use?

Make your own, there's plenty of cats around. You can choose your thickness that way.

salukulady
04-18-2010, 08:42 PM
Did the first year. When I saw Bill Tapia do it, I thought, it must be okay. Then the leader of my band taught me to use a pick, says you have more control. Then about a year ago I found myself using my index finger when I wasn't playing with the band. I morphed without even realizing it.

Brandon7s
04-18-2010, 08:56 PM
I strum with my thumb for accent only, or for when I want to play very soft passages. Otherwise, I use my middle finger for strumming, or index+middle finger. I have all my nails grown out too (fingerstyle guitarist) so I just don't see a point in a pick, since I can get the same sound without a tool.

DaveVisi
04-18-2010, 10:17 PM
For very soft playing, thumb. For down/up strokes, thumb on downstroke index finger on upstroke. Only use back of nails when I want to play loud or special "fan" strums.

Tudorp
04-19-2010, 01:00 AM
Depends on what I am playing. I use thumb and fingers or a combination of such depending on the type of strum and sound I am going for. I also pick, especially on the banjo and banjoUke, and like mentioned in another thread, sometimes even use a thumb pick when picking...

ichadwick
04-19-2010, 01:12 AM
So... Anyone else a thumb strummer?
I use all of my hand for playing - I strum with the thumb, fingertips, fingernails, sometimes the sides of thumb and fingers, even the side of my hand. Depends on the type of sound and attack I want.

Generally I tend to downstrum with my thumb's edge and upstrum with my fingertips. I cut my nails to the quick so I have more control over my sounds - I can use the tips of my fingers for picking and strumming more flexibly when nails are short. I only use the nails for strumming.

dkcrown
04-19-2010, 02:06 AM
I'm with country mouse and Davevisi. Thumb down and index finger up. But some times all thumb, flesh down and nail up.

smithpaul60
04-19-2010, 03:47 AM
Guilty here too. I also came from 10+ years on guitar so it was natural for me. However I do use the index for faster songs.

hoosierhiver
04-19-2010, 04:05 AM
I almost always strum with just my thumb.

mailman
04-19-2010, 04:43 AM
I may have strated the other post you referred to....

I'm primarily a thumb-strummer, too, and probably for the same reason. I learned it while playing guitar, and now I seem to be stuck with it....

UkuleleHill
04-19-2010, 05:29 AM
Guilty here too. I also came from 10+ years on guitar so it was natural for me. However I do use the index for faster songs.

Yeah I was able to strum with my pointer for one week then I got sick for a week and I didn't play, I lost the ability... I like it though, its just the way I know...


I almost always strum with just my thumb.

You just got even more cooler in my book Mike! :)


I may have strated the other post you referred to....

I'm primarily a thumb-strummer, too, and probably for the same reason. I learned it while playing guitar, and now I seem to be stuck with it....

You did indeed start the other one... I just couldn't bring myself to resurrect it knowing that it would likely go back in the old direction instead..

kendra
04-19-2010, 07:06 AM
I'm all thumbs. :)

I am a thumb strummer, definitely. I also came to the ukulele from guitar and so thumb strumming is what happened naturally for me, I guess. I've tried the index finger for strumming and I am quite simply unable to keep proper rythyms and strum patterns. It feels wrong to me somehow.

The index finger comes into play along with the thumb for basic fingerpicking and plucking melodies, but I have embraced my "thumb-y-ness" as far as strumming goes.

brickerenator
04-19-2010, 07:51 AM
Mostly thumb. However, I have been working on using my other fingers, as I like the variety of sound that it adds.

Vindelanda
04-19-2010, 08:36 AM
I'm definitely a thumb-strummer. I'm trying to use other fingers, but I'm really stuck on using my thumb. I also use a pick occasionally, which I really like.

Chris Tarman
04-19-2010, 08:44 AM
What strings do you guys think I should use?

lol, good one!

Chris Tarman
04-19-2010, 08:49 AM
I mostly use my index finger, but I am a bass player primarily, so I am used to that already. I do use my thumb a lot too though. Kind of depends on what sound I want. I also tend to spontaneously break into fingerpicking for no reason (lol), so my thumb is always ready to go at a moment's notice!

arashi_nero
04-19-2010, 08:53 AM
when i started playing uke, i used my thumb because i didn't know any better. it wasn't until the first time i played with a hawaiian that i found out the finger of choice is the index finger. i think playing with my thumb has helped with things like triplets and playing softer when needed, but i'm used to doing general strumming with my pointer now. i think using my thumb at first has also helped with picking. i agree with the idea that you shouldn't limit yourself to one finger.

UkuleleHill
04-19-2010, 09:01 AM
I'm not against using my other fingers for different strums, but when I am just playing and strumming, I use my thumb. No way am I limiting myself :)

SailQwest
04-19-2010, 09:07 AM
I strum with my middle finger, or else middle and ring fingers. My thumb is mostly just for picking.

My playing technique is a bit bizarre. Because of a traumatic wrist injury years ago, most of my playing motion is in my fingers, and not my wrist.

arashi_nero
04-19-2010, 09:20 AM
I'm not against using my other fingers for different strums, but when I am just playing and strumming, I use my thumb. No way am I limiting myself :)

sorry, i hope you don't think i was attacking you. my main point was that i have used my thumb and am glad that i did because i feel it's helped me to be a better uke player. i prefer my index now because of the sound i get from my instrument. i just wanted to say that i think people could benefit by learning to play with more than just one finger.

csibona
04-19-2010, 09:36 AM
I mostly use my index finger - but if I'm doing a dud...I'll use my thumb and index finger.

lochtessmonster
04-19-2010, 09:59 AM
Anyone else a thumb strummer? I am. I try to do other styles as well, but at least for the country style strums my thumb seems to work best, because I can dampen a little.

MisoHappy
04-19-2010, 10:15 AM
I only use my thumb on the up strum. On the down strum I use my pointer and middle

Pueo
04-19-2010, 10:45 AM
I use my thumb more when I tear off the skin on my index finger from crazy strumming sessions on my uke with a sharp 14th fret edge.

bazmaz
04-19-2010, 10:51 AM
I do, but only for soft accent, or slow soft song finish

Chris Tarman
04-19-2010, 06:09 PM
I once read that John Entwistle (bassist for The Who) would sometimes practice by thinking to himself "What if I lost THIS finger"... then he would play everything without using that particular finger. Then he would do the same thing for all the other nine fingers. That's maybe a little extreme, but it is sort of worth thinking of. Not LOSING your finger, necessarily, but being able to use them ALL.

brUKEman
04-19-2010, 07:38 PM
I am currently trying to grow my nails. When my thumb nail grows out will I be able to use my nail as a pick and also use the fleshy part of the thumb for strumming. I prefer a chord and finger picking style.

Dane
04-19-2010, 08:50 PM
I had to grow out my thumb nail much longer than my others, because I don't hit the strings in the same direction and it wasn't hitting the thumb nail. But thumb nails are tough, they can take it