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supahken
09-27-2012, 08:35 AM
Hi, I'm new here. I just picked up the ukulele in July after a surgery I had - was stuck in bed for a few weeks so what better to do right?
I have no instrumental background. I've been playing mostly chords for awhile and I think I can do so with some clarity now.

Now, I'm starting to move onto some songs that require fingerpicking. I'm getting the hang of it going slow, but the problem is I keep hitting strings I don't want to between plucks when I try to speed up. I know it's a matter of practice, but I wonder if anyone has any other advice they can give a beginner. (Perhaps I've been moving my fingers in the wrong direction, etc.)

I learned mostly on my own using videos and sites. There's nothing too specific on any tutorials. They usually just say pluck and I follow their usual thumb and two fingers.

Also, at the risk of sounding like an impatient noobie, how long did it take you guys to get relatively good at finger picking? I just want a little perspective on everyone's improvement rate. I only have time to practice 30m-1hr a day.

PhilUSAFRet
09-27-2012, 08:46 AM
I haven't "mastered" fingerpicking, but you do have to master the technique slowly...the speed will come when it comes. I was making the same mistake, trying to pick faster than my skill level would allow.....many noobs make this mistake. I often mute the strings and practice my picking while watching TV, during commercials. Works for me. Young folks tend to get it pretty quickly if their brain is "wired" for music. There's a 16 year old in my uke club that plays awesome after only 6 months!!!!!!!!! Learn it right, take your time, learn your chords, see fretboard roadmaps, and just keep on practicing.

barefootgypsy
09-27-2012, 08:48 AM
Hi and welcome! I think you do just need to keep practicing, go slowly and try a little speed until you are making mistakes, then slow down again. And try to play without looking at your plucking hand - go by feel. I think that will really help you to improve. Good luck, stick with it!

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
09-27-2012, 08:51 AM
Welcome to UU! Glad to hear the uke's helping your recovery.

There's a great trick to learning to play any kind of music at a fast tempo---play slowly.

When you find that your fingers are missing their target strings, slow the tempo to a pace that allows you to concentrate on playing each note cleanly. Practice at that pace until it feels natural, then slowly increase the tempo.

Another trick for working on any strumming/picking technique is to either sit on one chord or mute the strings with your fretting hand. Not worrying about chord changes frees up some focus.

Not sure how long did it me to get relatively good at picking. I do know that playing my "natural" picking pattern is much less difficult than playing a prescribed pattern. Heh.

Have fun!

supahken
09-27-2012, 08:56 AM
Thanks for the quick responses guys! I guess I'll keep at it. :)

[edit] Ah, one more question: Where does your pinky and ring finger go on your picking hand? On top of the ukulele or under?

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
09-27-2012, 12:16 PM
Where does your pinky and ring finger go on your picking hand? On top of the ukulele or under?

"Proper" picking technique says no fingers should rest on the instrument (my friend whose taking guitar lessons from a master of Travis picking tells me, anyway). I, however, usually plant my pinky and ring finger on the soundboard while I pick with my other fingers. If I'm only picking with my thumb, my pinky often ends up under the uke.

My friend's teacher also noted that many of the greatest pickers alive have "improper" technique. Doing what comes naturally should be best.

itsme
09-27-2012, 02:50 PM
Ah, one more question: Where does your pinky and ring finger go on your picking hand? On top of the ukulele or under?
As a classical guitarist, I took to fingerpicking on the uke immediately. I also use the CG technique of PIMA (thumb, index, middle and ring fingers). I don't use the pinky at all except for rasgueados (flamenco strums).


"Proper" picking technique says no fingers should rest on the instrument (my friend whose taking guitar lessons from a master of Travis picking tells me, anyway).
That's the CG way as well. Your hand actually has more freedom of movement if it's not "anchored" to the soundboard. :)

frets alot
09-28-2012, 01:49 AM
All the responses you've gotten so far are right. The main thing is to start out slow and practice. I've been fingerpicking guitar for over 35 years. What you will end up developing is something we call "muscle memory". Basically, your right hand and fingers will learn what feels right and accurate. Don't give up and have fun.

coolkayaker1
09-28-2012, 02:22 AM
The only issue with putting pinky on soundboard is that it can't be used for picking then.