PDA

View Full Version : Advice needed on technique



Pono Ao
07-28-2012, 10:32 PM
Need some advice on playing technique. MY first uke was a Mainland which I got from my wife in 2010 but work got in the way of practicing. Since I have a less demanding schedule for the next 4 months I am getting back into the swing of things again.

My question arises from testing other ukulele's and testing for buzzes. For some odd reason, 90% of the ukes I fingerpick, buzzes. The store salesperson and my friend both told me its my technique when striking the strings as I only pick with my thumb while bracing 3 fingers on the waist side.

Is it bad technique to brace your hand on the bottom side of the uke by the waist? I seeking advice as I would like to add a Concert and just want to make sure its a player side fault thats causing the buzzing.

The Big Kahuna
07-28-2012, 10:45 PM
From the way you describe your technique, I'm guessing that you're not plucking the string parallel to the soundboard, but in a downward direction toward the Uke'. If you are placing your thumb on the string and increasing pressure until the string "pops off" your thumb, you're probably hitting it too hard and at the wrong angle. Practice plucking the string parallel with the fingerboard and try to pluck as softly as you can.

CasanovaGuy
07-28-2012, 10:45 PM
Nope, that's actually perfectly legit and how most people, including myself, start off xD
As for the buzzing noise, I think it may be one of three problems, or both. The first might be that you may be picking too hard with your thumb. The second is that you might be picking too close to the bridge. Many players I know pick on the fretboard area on the body. The third is that if you're fretting anything, you want your fretting finger to be as close to the bar as possible. So like if you wanted to play a B on the A string, you would put your middle finger near (not on) the second bar, as opposed to putting your finger in the middle of the fret.

Don't fret too much the buzzing (haha very punny xD). If these suggestions don't work, then I'm sure that one of us here at Ukulele Underground will be able to solve your problem! :D

The Big Kahuna
07-28-2012, 10:49 PM
Is it bad technique to brace your hand on the bottom side of the uke by the waist? I seeking advice as I would like to add a Concert and just want to make sure its a player side fault thats causing the buzzing.

To address this specifically, I'd have to answer yes if you're a beginner and not necessarily if you're an experienced player. It's a bad habit to anchor your hand so firmly when learning and will limit your movement. When you're more experienced and have a "full bag of clubs" in terms of technique, then anything goes.

The Big Kahuna
07-28-2012, 10:54 PM
I should also add that you're likely to get several hundred pieces of conflicting advice (see, you've got 2 already). Do what feels natural/comfortable. You might even want to experiment with a thick felt "classical guitar" plectrum.

mm stan
07-29-2012, 02:56 AM
Actually no uke should buzz, make sure when trying ukes to buy...try all the frets on every string for the bees..
not sure if you been unlucky and just "picked" ukes that needed a set up.. cheaper ukes may have more of an
inconsistancy issues....I am picky when selecting ukes too...maybe too much, but it pays to be so in the end..pass
on your first impression if it's not good, there are plenty of other ukes out there..Good Luck and Happy Pickings.
BTW Nice User Name:)

chiefnoda
07-29-2012, 06:29 AM
Hi Pono Ao

Opinions vary widely, but my takes are

(a) The amount of "buzz" is personal - my guitars are set-up quite low, and they buzz when strummed hard. It is my "signature" (haha) sound and I like it that way. The store ukuleles buzz and that simply means your touch is harder than others, and when you acquire one, the ukulele should be set up to your personal touch if you want it that way

(b) If you hold your ukulele with RH fingers and strum with your thumb, again it is your personal style and there is nothing wrong with it. As long it sounds good to you.

(c) Here comes "but". I think your playing style will be limited if you only use thumb to strum, and your tonal range will be also limited if your RH does not move around. Again it depends on what you want to achieve. But if you want to expand your musical horizon (and as you progress, I bet you will), you don't want to be limited in technique. For example, if you want to try a very fast passage, your thumb cannot produce the speed. If you know 100% that you will never be interested, I think that's fine. But if you see a remote chance of playing a fast line, you may want to explore other techniques, like using fingers to strum etc. My belief is at the beginner stage, you probably want to.

Well, so that's my takes. The foremost thing is to have fun and be comfortable.

Cheers
Chief

Pono Ao
08-03-2012, 05:01 PM
Thanks guys for the responses. I will try not to use my thumb only as like others pointed out, I do not want to be limited in my abilities. Videos of others picking make it look so smooth which my middle and ring fingers don't want to cooperate when striking the strings. Any tips on how to get more clean notes when using the fingers other than the thumb. It seems my main problem is not having any support for my fingers to hit the string cleanly.

sukie
08-03-2012, 05:18 PM
Thanks guys for the responses. I will try not to use my thumb only as like others pointed out, I do not want to be limited in my abilities. Videos of others picking make it look so smooth which my middle and ring fingers don't want to cooperate when striking the strings. Any tips on how to get more clean notes when using the fingers other than the thumb. It seems my main problem is not having any support for my fingers to hit the string cleanly.
I anchor a lot with just my pinky finger. Staccato -- which I suck at -- I use more. It truly takes a lot of practice to use all the fingers. But the end result is worth it. Wait 'til you do left hand work. It's killer hard.

itsme
08-03-2012, 05:42 PM
I agree with the Chief, in that you are likely striking the string too hard, especially given that you said 90% of the ukes you've tried fingerpicking on buzz.

I also agree that using only your thumb will severely limit you in fingerpicking.

Anchoring 3 fingers on the soundboard will also limit your range of motion.

I pick in the classical guitar style using my thumb, index, middle and ring fingers with no anchoring. Works for me... YMMV. :)