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ukuhippo
10-30-2011, 01:43 AM
As you can read from different posts, I'm a newbie. I strum and fingerpick, and I realy like both.
One problem I have with fingerpicking is that I am able to produce a good sound with my thumb, but I'm having troubles producing a nice sound with my index- and middlefinger. Is there a good technique to do this? Should I be picking with my nails, or should I add more pressure with the fleshy side of my fingers? It just sounds dull with no volume, picking the same string with my thumb gives me the results I want.

roxhum
10-30-2011, 04:30 AM
Well I do not know the "correct" answer for this, or even if there is a "correct" answer. I have been at this for over a year and still consider myself a newbie. I use my nails to fingerpick, for the same reasons you mentioned.

DML
10-30-2011, 04:34 AM
I'm a newb as well,,i gave up on finger picking for the same reason and went to nylon picks. Consistent sound every time i strum or pick a string. Not to discourage you from finger picking just thought i would mention what worked for me.

ukuhippo
10-30-2011, 04:49 AM
Must. Grow. Nails.
I guess. Maybe pick up some fingerpicks. But I prefer to learn the more 'natural' way.

Doc_J
10-30-2011, 06:37 AM
Must. Grow. Nails.
I guess. Maybe pick up some fingerpicks. But I prefer to learn the more 'natural' way.

+1 on the nail growing. :)

ukuhippo
10-30-2011, 06:58 AM
+1 on the nail growing. :)

The habit (biting) got worse once I quit smoking. I'm tempted to buy a pack of cigs to help me overcome my nail problem. But I won't.
Must. Grow. Nails.

PhilUSAFRet
10-30-2011, 07:09 AM
What you are having trouble with is "technique." You need to watch some videos, watch a live player if you can, then practice, practice, until it's second nature. I practice my fingerpicking sometimes by muting the strings and just fingerpick while watching TV, etc. Works for me. Get's in some extra practice at developing finger/muscle memory. Go as slow as you need to to do it correctly. Bad habits sometimes hard to break.

ukuhippo
10-30-2011, 07:16 AM
What you are having trouble with is "technique." You need to watch some videos, watch a live player if you can, then practice, practice, until it's second nature. I practice my fingerpicking sometimes by muting the strings and just fingerpick while watching TV, etc. Works for me. Get's in some extra practice at developing finger/muscle memory. Go as slow as you need to to do it correctly. Bad habits sometimes hard to break.

Thanks for the advice Phil. I'm looking at a few youtube videos, and am practisisng a bit right now. I'm improving, but there's still a major difference in sound between picking with nails and flesh. So, for the index- and middlefinger, do you pick with the nail?

Markr1
10-30-2011, 08:00 AM
I agree with philusafret, I'm new to uke also and do a lot of fingerpicking and am perfectly happy with the sound I get using my fingers and don't have long nails. I fingerpicked the guitar for 26 years and had classical lessons for 6 months which taught me correct right hand technique and I just took what I already knew with the guitar and applied it to the uke and as I said I'm happy with the sound I'm getting with my fingers. As Phil said watch other people and practice and soon you'll be happy with the sound you'll soon be producing.

ksiegel
10-30-2011, 08:13 AM
I fingerpick - don't have nails, never have (Been biting 'em since I was a wee tad.)

Actually, I prefer the slightly muted organic sound of the flesh on strings to the nails on strings sound. Even when I was playing steel string guitar, for oh so many years, I never used fingerpicks, and only occasionally used a flat pick.

It is a religious discussion, akin to whether or not breadcrumbs should be used on baked macaroni and cheese (Blasphemy!), or whether someone uses a Mac or a Real Computer (giggle!)

It all comes down to what feels/sounds best to you- as Duke Ellington said, (by way of Prof. Peter cShickele) "If it sounds good, it is good."



-Kurt

PhilUSAFRet
10-30-2011, 03:31 PM
Especially without nails, good technique will give you a less muted sound. That's why, whether it's chords, picking, etc., "mastering the technique" and building up speed gradually will give you permanent results you will be very happy with. Lots of newer players still struggle because they learned, but didn't necessarily "master" their technique.

ukuleleforbeginners
10-30-2011, 03:57 PM
I just started fingerpicking myself, and while it is really frustrating sometimes. It is a lot of fun. I know it will take time though.

ukuleleforbeginners
10-30-2011, 06:36 PM
Especially without nails, good technique will give you a less muted sound. That's why, whether it's chords, picking, etc., "mastering the technique" and building up speed gradually will give you permanent results you will be very happy with. Lots of newer players still struggle because they learned, but didn't necessarily "master" their technique.

I love the ukulele, but I don't think I can bring myself to grow out a nail to play better. I would rather spend time to make my technique better. Like I said. I realize it will take time, but it is just so much fun.

TCK
10-30-2011, 06:48 PM
I finger pick without a bit of nail- I got sick of messing them up (and it was weird I cared about my nails). I pull my hand slightly forward at each pick and get a pretty good note, but I am far from an expert. Watch Jon (Eugene Ukulele) do it- I learned my technique from his videos. Look for the slightest pop forward in his notes (at least I think that is what he is doing) and give it a go

Lori
10-30-2011, 07:33 PM
You don't need much nail to make a good sound. An eighth of an inch to a quarter inch is plenty, and it will help with tone, volume and control. If I let my nails get much longer than that, they always get broken off during other activities. Trim them so you don't have any square edges to catch on. Make them shaped like an arch, and taper at the sides.

–Lori


I love the ukulele, but I don't think I can bring myself to grow out a nail to play better. I would rather spend time to make my technique better. Like I said. I realize it will take time, but it is just so much fun.

Learning good technique is always a good idea, and can be done while you grow your fingernails.

ukuleleforbeginners
10-30-2011, 07:41 PM
Lori, so are nails necessary to make a good sound or just to make it a little easier. I keep my nails very short, generally slightly behind the finger.

Lori
10-30-2011, 08:26 PM
Lori, so are nails necessary to make a good sound or just to make it a little easier. I keep my nails very short, generally slightly behind the finger.

I think the sound is crisper with the nail. It also seems to help me keep in position for accurate picking. I used to play classical guitar, and the fingernails are a big part of that technique. They even go to the trouble of filing the underside of the nail edge to make a smooth surface. When I can, I dedicate one finger per string, so most of the time, the thumb is for the fourth string, index for the third, middle finger for the second, and ring finger for the first. If more than one note is played consecutively on a string, I will alternate fingers.

–Lori

ukuleleforbeginners
10-30-2011, 08:41 PM
Thanks, Lori. Very helpful. I originally started with just my thumb, then with index and thumb. Sounds like a still have a ways to go. Practice, Practice, Practice.

Lori
10-30-2011, 09:01 PM
Thanks, Lori. Very helpful. I originally started with just my thumb, then with index and thumb. Sounds like a still have a ways to go. Practice, Practice, Practice.
There are many ways of doing fingerpicking. I have seen people play every note with their thumb, and it was great. Some people only use thumb and index, or thumb/ index/ middle. Each person will develop what works for them. If you can use all the fingers (except the pinky), you will have more dexterity and more options. I have to practice some fingerpicking patterns A LOT. Once you start learning patterns, it will be easier to add new ones to your memory. Sometimes I mute the strings with my left hand because I get tired of hearing the same thing over and over again.

–Lori

–Lori

ukuleleforbeginners
10-30-2011, 09:04 PM
Okay. That makes sense. i think I will try to just focus on my two fingers for now, and then maybe move onto four when I get better. I don't think I can mute yet, because hearing the sound, let's me know how well I am hitting (or not) the strings.