View Full Version : Anyone use a pick?

04-07-2011, 12:47 PM
Thread explains itself...does anyone use one when playing? I see them for sale, but don't see anyone using them in videos at all.

04-07-2011, 12:51 PM
I thought about it when I first got mine but after playing for a couple months now the pick seems like overkill. Also, if you used one you'd need to attach some sort pick guard to prevent scratching up the soundboard. JMHO.

04-07-2011, 12:52 PM
I thought of that as well doghouse, but it seems they are made of felt??? Seems odd haha

04-07-2011, 12:54 PM
I saw some picks for the Uke and they were made of Felt or Leather. hmmm... I thought of it too but I'm gonna soldier through it and try not to succumb to the calling of the pick hahah

04-07-2011, 02:21 PM
I used a felt pick sometimes before I learned o strum! The guy next to me at my last uke
"Meetup" used a guitar pick...he is a guitar player that now plays uke. Sounds a little like those uke players with werewolf fingernails.

04-07-2011, 05:02 PM
I wouldn't recommend it. It sounds really unnatural on the softer strings, and ukes don't have pickguards.

mm stan
04-07-2011, 06:27 PM
I myself when first starting thought they were unnatural with no feeling..still do...but I lately picked them up and tried them out, and now I seem to be able to strum sorta good with them now...just in case my
nails break....but over the years, my nails have hardened.. I believe for me when starting, it was better to learn without them, as you have more control....I see of the top Ukulele players using them, they can
be intimadating at first and unnatural.....like anything else it takes time to learn....

04-07-2011, 08:27 PM
Indeed, some of the best players in the world use thumb picks. Check out YouTube vids by
Ukulele Legend Peter Moon, Herb Ohta Jr., David Kamakahi. Then there's some guy named
Aldrine Guerrero who used one when he broke his thumb nail. See Uke Minutes 112 for his
recommendations how to shape a guitar thumb pick for use with a ukulele.
My Aunt recently gifted me with a vintage Martin soprano which had both a felt pick and a thumb
pick in the case. Not sure but I think the felt pick might be for strumming and the thumb pick
for picking individual strings. Personally I don't use either, trying instead for a combination
of flesh and nail.

04-08-2011, 02:20 AM
I use a thumb pick and bare fingers because my nails are too brittle to grow out. I think I get an acceptable sound out of the uke. Lot's of folks use the felt plectrums or even the plastic ones with good results. Find what works for you and go with it.

04-08-2011, 03:37 AM
Been asked a million times before. The answer is: depends on your personal taste and style of music. I play with a pick on my steel-strinegd electric ukes, but usually fingerpick or strum nylon-strings. But I tend to pick when playing blues leads on any instrument.

Thing guitar picks work quite well. I'm not a fan of the fat leather or felt picks and find them difficult to use. They are to guitar picks what an Escalade is to a sports car: fat, sloppy and clumsy.

04-08-2011, 05:45 AM
In most situations, no. However, if I need extra volume (playing against a mandolin, guitar, banjo, or other louder instrument) I'll use as thin of a nylon as I can get. I don't even recall the mm marking, but they are thin.

I would suggest if you are going to use a plastic or nylon pick often, then use some hardier strings. I use Hilo's with a wound low G and C. They put up well with the abuse that a pick will put out.

As far as felt picks, I've used them a time or two and I hate them. After sixteen years of guitar, I have a feeling for certain picks and the felt ones are just too thick.


04-08-2011, 05:45 AM
Being someone who struggles to grow my nails, I wish I could use one properly, but keep the control I have with my bare fingers. I tried the felt picks and really did not like the scrape noise they make. I have seen some cool banjo picks or the Alaska picks that are meant to simulate nails to give you the combination of flesh+nail sound while still be able to switch to strumming like you would with bare fingers.

I am very tempted to buy some to try them out.

04-08-2011, 06:48 AM
I most always play using a Dunlop thin guitar pick.

It's your 'ukulele, so do whatever you want. The mystery is why anyone objects to the use of picks by others.

04-08-2011, 08:14 AM
Sometimes... and more on some ukes/songs that others.

I usually use my fingers - nails specificaly. I sometimes use a flat-pick... of the standard guitar variety. I also use a rubber pick at times. My baritone lends itself to pick use more than some of my others, mostly because of the lack of attack on the fluorocarbon strings I use.

Like everything in music to me, it all depends on the sound I want to make. The "right way" is strictly about the sound and feel - not about what anyone else says.

Coconut Willie
04-08-2011, 08:52 AM
Me....no, never even gave using a pick any thought.

04-08-2011, 11:02 AM
I use a thumb pick and grow out my index and middle finger nails just enough to "catch" the strings well. I have no real use for any flat picks.

04-11-2011, 09:17 AM
I use a pick on my 8 string to play like this:





Yes, the top of your uke will get scratched. That doesn't bother me, though. I love the fullness, accuracy, and speed I get when using a pick.


04-11-2011, 01:12 PM
Thread explains itself...does anyone use one when playing? I see them for sale, but don't see anyone using them in videos at all.

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain use them a lot.

Most ukers are snobbishly against them.


04-11-2011, 02:01 PM
I need a pick for this song that I am learning:
So I bought a sampler of ukulele picks here:
The big ones are too thick in my hands but the other three work well. It is fun to try them all because each one produces a slightly different sound.
Oh by the way, if you buy a Hong Kong only u900 greatest hits album it comes with a cute u900 guitar pick. I've got one, but sadly, it is too stiff for the uke. You can use it, but it makes a hard sound that I don't like.

04-14-2011, 06:42 AM
My ukulele came with a pick in the box but I've never used it.

04-14-2011, 07:06 AM
Recently tried the Alaska Pick. Want an alternative for my frequently breaking nails. So far I'm not feeling the love. Just don't have the control as with natural skin and nails. Haven't given up totally on it yet, however.

06-09-2011, 06:55 PM
I tried finger picking on Bass and that didn't even work for me, neither did the felt or bass picks. Tried the fender turtle shells but the Bass just kept ripping them up and they were expensive as picks went and I used a lot of em .. Then I found the jim dunlop nylons . Oddly I found the .38mm the smallest (read thinist) they make worked well you could do doublets and triplets easily.they are VERY flexable. So when I started Uke I tried to use my nails but I keep them cut so close I dont have any-- I hate having nails and if I don'keep them very closely trimmed I bite them ,terrible habit I broke many years ago. So I broke out a dunlop they work well and I don't find them loud as I pick shallow with it and not hard, I'll never be a lead played anyway as I'm more of a rythum type lol. I haven't found them abrasive on my strings yet and I keep feeling for signs of wear or nicks. Would love to be traditional but it just doesn't work for me.

06-10-2011, 08:11 AM
I recently bought a set of three very nice and soft leather Kiwaya ukulele picks from "hawaiibeachgirl04", for $12 shipped on *bay. The leather Kiwaya picks are very soft and very good quality and come from Hawaii.

The picks really increase the volume A LOT and is a nice change from the traditional finger strum. Try it out!

06-10-2011, 09:49 AM
Nice thread! Great to hear what works for different players.

I've got a felt pick, but I've only used it a couple of times. This thread reminds me to try it out again! Now I'm also curious how leather picks feel and sound.

That being said, I love strumming and picking with my bare fingers. Playing with a pick never occurred to me during four years of self-taught (I'm a guitarist, too) uke playing. I eventually bought a couple of ukulele songbooks (in order to re-learn how to read music); both suggested trying a felt pick, so I picked one up.

Anyway, here's another vote for each ukulele player using whatever works best for her or himself. Felt picks, thumb picks, finger picks, leather picks, nylon picks, no picks, coins, dog tags, bottle caps---whatever makes your ukulele sing to you is the right choice.

06-10-2011, 09:53 AM
I recently bought a set of three very nice and soft leather Kiwaya ukulele picks from "hawaiibeachgirl04", for $12 shipped on *bay. The leather Kiwaya picks are very soft and very good quality and come from Hawaii.

The picks really increase the volume A LOT and is a nice change from the traditional finger strum. Try it out!

I'm just starting out and bought some felt picks. They are harder than I thought they would be. I'm wanting a soft strumming sound, too. I don't even like the noise that my index fingernail makes. I guess that I could strum down with my thumb and up with my index finger. What the hey, for 12 bucks, I'll try a soft leather one. Thanks for mentioning it.