PDA

View Full Version : Learning to Fingerpick



PereBourik
06-26-2013, 11:50 AM
There are two schools of thought...

1) Start with simple tabs and play until you get the hang of it.
2) Do fingerpicking exercises and ignore tabs.

Who is right?
What resources should I use for each method?

Thank you

itsme
06-26-2013, 12:33 PM
What is your goal?

If you want to play chord melodies (a la Jake) I'd say #1.

If you just want to do fingerstyle accompaniment instead of strumming I'd say #2.

There's a sticky thread on reading tab in the Tabs forum, also Ukulelehunt has some tutorials and the Dummies book also has some good stuff.

Good luck with it. :)

SailQwest
06-26-2013, 01:22 PM
As with most things uke, there is no right or wrong. ;)

I don't read tab. I usually work things out by ear. I listen to recordings of songs I want to learn and play along, working out parts and committing them to memory.

Johnny GDS
06-26-2013, 03:10 PM
There is a book (Hal Leonard) called "Fingerstyle Ukulele" that really has in my opinion a very good method of developing fingerpicking patterns. It presents a 1 or 2 bar pattern and then has a song that uses it from beginning to end. I think this is a great way to go about learning because you never stray too far from making actual music (in the context of a song) and get to thoroughly develop the pattern at the same time. It has a CD too. Also it has notation and tab and chords. It works with quite a few different styles and patterns as well. Check it out, you might like it.

Nickie
06-26-2013, 03:19 PM
I can't remember how I learned to fingerpick...I only know two patterns so far....I think a friend showed me one and the other one came off of You Tube...but I pick right off the tabs....it works fine for me, so far.

Kayak Jim
06-26-2013, 03:26 PM
I'm currently working with Mark Nelson's book/CD Fingerstyle Solos for Ukulele.

stevepetergal
06-26-2013, 03:54 PM
Both schools of thought are right (except the ignoring tabs bit).

janeray1940
06-26-2013, 03:56 PM
I vote for both. At least, that's what has worked for me :)

PereBourik
06-26-2013, 05:51 PM
Thank you all for responding. I'm still not sure I know what to do.

PereBourik
06-26-2013, 06:13 PM
There is a book (Hal Leonard) called "Fingerstyle Ukulele" that really has in my opinion a very good method of developing fingerpicking patterns. It presents a 1 or 2 bar pattern and then has a song that uses it from beginning to end. I think this is a great way to go about learning because you never stray too far from making actual music (in the context of a song) and get to thoroughly develop the pattern at the same time. It has a CD too. Also it has notation and tab and chords. It works with quite a few different styles and patterns as well. Check it out, you might like it.

I find 2 different Hal Leonard books. "Fingerstyle Ukulele" by Fred Sokolow and "Kev's Quickstart Fingerstyle Ukulele". Both have CDs which one do you have in mind?

rowjimmytour
06-26-2013, 08:21 PM
I'm currently working with Mark Nelson's book/CD Fingerstyle Solos for Ukulele.
+1 great way to learn and great song book:)

anthonyg
06-27-2013, 01:59 AM
My two bobs worth. Start with patterns. You can move on to tabs later. Tabs will make much more sense when you have a few patterns down pat first. Its about rhythm.

Anthony

Johnny GDS
06-27-2013, 03:55 AM
It would be the first one "fingerstyle ukulele". Here is a link

http://www.halleonard.com/product/viewproduct.do?itemid=696620

I think it's a purdy cool book! Very straightforward with good variety and musical examples.

molokinirum
06-27-2013, 06:16 AM
I'm currently working with Mark Nelson's book/CD Fingerstyle Solos for Ukulele.

I am using this book as well.....it is very good!!

hibiscus
06-27-2013, 07:38 AM
Mark Nelson's book/CD Fingerstyle Solos for Ukulele~ Highly Recommend!

bassballz
06-27-2013, 01:33 PM
Perebourik, Thanks for the timely thread. (That's where I am right now)
Thanks to everyone for the Book/CD recommendations as well. Being able to hear repeatedly what I'm trying to learn is very helpful for me.

Lime
06-27-2013, 03:46 PM
I'm learning finger picking first and chords later. Well, I learn chords, too, but I like finger picking more. Oddly enough, people tend to accuse me of not having enough fun when I say I'm learning this way. *shrug*

These books and links look really good, thanks for sharing, guys!

Kayak Jim
06-27-2013, 03:56 PM
My copy of Ukulele Exercises for Dummies just arrived today and it has a ton of stuff on learning to fingerpick as well.

PereBourik
06-27-2013, 05:02 PM
Perebourik, Thanks for the timely thread. (That's where I am right now)
Thanks to everyone for the Book/CD recommendations as well. Being able to hear repeatedly what I'm trying to learn is very helpful for me.

Thank you. It's the new frontier.

PereBourik
06-27-2013, 05:06 PM
Tried the TAB this morning. That isn't going to work for me.

itsme
06-27-2013, 05:54 PM
Tried the TAB this morning. That isn't going to work for me.
You tried the tab for what?

Tootler
06-27-2013, 10:59 PM
Thank you all for responding. I'm still not sure I know what to do.

Itsme had it spot on. What is your aim? Both approaches are valid but which is best for you depends on what you want to achieve; accompanying songs or playing melodies? Only you can decide in the end.

Shastastan
06-28-2013, 12:52 PM
Tried the TAB this morning. That isn't going to work for me.

I've sort of been avoiding Tabs myself. I've asked myself why this is and I haven't come up with a good answer. Maybe it's just too many numbers? But, I'm a CPA so that doesn't make any sense. Using numbers for the frets makes sense but using letters for the strings seems better than using numbers. I guess in the end there has to be a way to communicate using single strings and Tabs won out. They are here to stay so maybe I'll just have just learn them---just as I had to do with the bass clef.

PereBourik
06-28-2013, 03:04 PM
You tried the tab for what?

Trying to see if I could make a recognizable melody out of the tab for a song I knew that didn't seem to complex. Worse than trying to dance.

PereBourik
06-28-2013, 03:06 PM
Itsme had it spot on. What is your aim? Both approaches are valid but which is best for you depends on what you want to achieve; accompanying songs or playing melodies? Only you can decide in the end.

My general idea is to hang in a hammock and have a pleasing series of note emerge from my ukulele that makes people happy. I sing pretty well so strumming is going to be my main thing. But I really want to be able to just "noodle" and have listenable music come out.

itsme
06-28-2013, 04:03 PM
Trying to see if I could make a recognizable melody out of the tab for a song I knew that didn't seem to complex. Worse than trying to dance.
Well, there's a big difference between a simple fox trot and a fancy tango like you'd see on "Dancing with the Stars". :)

Tabs can be that way, too, and some that don't seem too complex can be hard to play.

Here's one of my favorites for its simplicity and pure fun to play... Vivaldi's Spring as tabbled by UU member tim0g. Even if you're not into classical, you should recognize the melody. :)

http://ukucafe.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/les-quatre-saisons-gcea.pdf

PereBourik
06-28-2013, 07:33 PM
Well, there's a big difference between a simple fox trot and a fancy tango like you'd see on "Dancing with the Stars". :)

Tabs can be that way, too, and some that don't seem too complex can be hard to play.

Here's one of my favorites for its simplicity and pure fun to play... Vivaldi's Spring as tabbled by UU member tim0g. Even if you're not into classical, you should recognize the melody. :)

http://ukucafe.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/les-quatre-saisons-gcea.pdf

Thanks, I'll give Vivaldi a shot tomorrow.

slowpoke
06-29-2013, 04:28 AM
Itsme, thanks for the Vivaldi tab. Just printed this and picked up my uke and tried it. Dang, it sounds like real music even though my timing was way off ( still very much a beginner here). Perebourik, i don't find finger picking to be easy. i have been using some exercises for a while and am just now getting used to picking individual strings. It was frustrating at first, just trying to get the patterns down but its getting easier. You may find that combining exercises and tabs will work for you. I've found that i need lots of patience for this too.

PereBourik
06-29-2013, 05:29 PM
Didn't get to Vivaldi today. But I did sit on the patio and just pick strings while making chords. No particular point to this other than that I liked what I heard.

PereBourik
06-30-2013, 02:08 PM
Well, there's a big difference between a simple fox trot and a fancy tango like you'd see on "Dancing with the Stars". :)

Tabs can be that way, too, and some that don't seem too complex can be hard to play.

Here's one of my favorites for its simplicity and pure fun to play... Vivaldi's Spring as tabbled by UU member tim0g. Even if you're not into classical, you should recognize the melody. :)

http://ukucafe.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/les-quatre-saisons-gcea.pdf

Got to it today. I will have to practice a lot to get it to where I recognize the tune. Couldn't hear it at all when picking the tab. Had to play 4 Seasons to remind myself what it was supposed to sound like. But hey, if it was easy, everybody'd do it.

Sparkle
07-01-2013, 04:52 AM
Tried the TAB this morning. That isn't going to work for me.

Do you read music? If so, I find reading the actual music as I play, and only using the tab to suggest fingering to me, easier. I started with piano so my brain is trained to read that much more than tab.

ricdoug
07-01-2013, 03:20 PM
http://ukuleletonya.com/files/fingerpicking_lesson.pdf

PereBourik
07-01-2013, 05:08 PM
Do you read music? If so, I find reading the actual music as I play, and only using the tab to suggest fingering to me, easier. I started with piano so my brain is trained to read that much more than tab.

Not really. I've been singing for decades and know time and when the notes go up the pitch goes up. I need to scratch my head to remember the names of the notes; forget do re me.

igorthebarbarian
07-01-2013, 09:07 PM
Ukulele Mike has a few lessons on travis picking, which is kind of fun to practice on:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r39ebDrQbw0

PereBourik
07-02-2013, 11:21 AM
Ukulele Mike has a few lessons on travis picking, which is kind of fun to practice on:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r39ebDrQbw0

This is terrific, thanks.

Tailgate
07-02-2013, 12:44 PM
Trying to see if I could make a recognizable melody out of the tab for a song I knew that didn't seem to complex. Worse than trying to dance.

With you on that one.. if the song is not in my head, the tabs are useless... If there's a video on Youtube of the song that someone is doing something closely resembling the tab structure, I can figure it out. Have used tabs to learn the Star Spangled Banner, parts of Uke Talk, Stairway to Heaven, Dueling Banjos and several others and have been very pleased.. other songs I've tried using tabs for have been disasters and I've given up cause I just can't 'hear' them in my little brain. No desire to learn to read music, so am pretty ok with tabs. Good luck!

anthonyg
07-02-2013, 01:43 PM
Trying to fingerpick rhythm plus lead before you can even hold down an even tempo fingerpicking rhythm is like trying to run the 100m at the Olympics before you can even walk. To fingerpick a lead over the rhythm involves changing your fingerpicking patterns on the fly without even being conscious that you are doing it.

You need to learn several patterns first and have them down so well that you can change between them without a second thought. Then you can start to look at what's going on in tabs.

Anthony

PereBourik
07-02-2013, 05:26 PM
Trying to fingerpick rhythm plus lead before you can even hold down an even tempo fingerpicking rhythm is like trying to run the 100m at the Olympics before you can even walk. To fingerpick a lead over the rhythm involves changing your fingerpicking patterns on the fly without even being conscious that you are doing it.

You need to learn several patterns first and have them down so well that you can change between them without a second thought. Then you can start to look at what's going on in tabs.

Anthony

Well, about 8 hours after doing the first fingerpicking thing that has made any sense at all to me I can't even change a chord without a second thought. I do have some resources now. It has gone from mysterious black art to a very steep hill to climb. That's progress.

T-nice98
07-09-2013, 10:57 AM
Ukemanfischer on youtube has a great travispicking tutorial as well, then incorporates it into dust in the wind. These tuts seemed tough at first and all of a sudden it just clicked for me. I love practicing that song now as well as trying new chord progressions with the travispicking.

Inkdork
07-09-2016, 06:22 PM
Resurrecting an old thread here. This is probably a silly question, but since I don't know the answer, I'm asking it!

I want to learn fingerpicking, and I can read music well enough to make note of them in pencil ahead of time (can't read on the fly quick enough) but I'm seeing multiple mentions of Tabs in this thread. Are the notes from tabs different than just playing the notes as they appear in the music? Or can I just learn the notes as given and go from there?

Is there a chart or something online that says what string and where to fret it for what note? I'm not adverse to buying a book, but free is always nice.

Shastastan
07-10-2016, 12:09 PM
Hi Deb. I know that it's frustrating when people don't respond, so here I am. I'm also still a novice on uke. I am a musician though and can read music. As you already, know, fretting the strings allow for multiple different notes on the same string(s). So although there is a C string, the 3rd fret on the A string also makes the C note--as do other strings at different frets. Tab shows where to fret (or not) on a string to produce a particular note on a given string.

If you lay your uke on it's back on the table, the fret board is the same as what a blank tab sheet would look like. Where to fret a note on a string is shown by a number. In the case of playing the C note on the A string, the number "3" is written on the A string (tab line 1). For GCEA, the strings are numbered 4321. If you turn your uke on it's side, facing you, counting down from the A string, the tab lines are 1234. The vertical lines on tablature are bar lines.

I like Youtube to see this stuff and there are many uke websites with examples. I also like Ukuleles For Dummies for general reference. I'm a visual learner as you can tell.

Inkdork
07-10-2016, 03:00 PM
That link answers my question perfectly plus others I hadn't asked yet! How did I miss it before?

Booli
07-10-2016, 03:42 PM
Coming from 35+ yrs of playing acoustic/electric/classical guitar, I honestly cannot remember where it started and how I learned to fingerpick. It feels intuitive to me. I see it, or hear the notes, and in a few minutes of noodling I can usually get it exact or close-enough...

I would not know where to begin to teach someone else, other than to demo, in-person, one song at a time and try the 'Monkey-see / Monkey-Do' method and repeat-after-me kind of thing...

Sorry I could not be more help.

But I am going to check out lots of the suggestions in this thread for helping/teaching my 10 yr old nephew how to play.

bunnyf
07-11-2016, 06:43 AM
I don't have a problem reading tab, but reading it quickly enough to play at a good tempo is a challenge for me. I actually find standard notation easier, except for recognizing chords (from notes alone, no letter), which are much easier to see in tab. With standard notation, I can visual exactly what note I'm playing a see where the music is going, like seeing a pattern or a scale.

I'm finding Aaron Keim's fingerstyle excellent for learning fingerpicking patterns. For chord melody, I like James Hill's the ukulele way. He has you learning the notes on the fretboard and understanding how you can incorporate chords, partial chords, and single notes to form a chord/melody arrangement. It's great for someone wanting to do a little solo instrumental style.i tried learning from just practicing easy tabs and it didn't work well for me. Understanding how chords are formed, where notes are, and how you can manipulate chords to bring out the melody was far more useful than just learning a tabbed out piece of music.

greenie44
07-11-2016, 07:44 AM
I just want to chime in on this one again. I recently took a group class from Craig Chee, and he gave me a few exercises that really opened me up to starting to finger pick. They were fairly simple - doing a scale with my index finger alternating with my thumb on the G and such - but it seemed like a great on ramp. Heck, I have even practiced it a bit!

Down Up Dick
07-11-2016, 09:33 AM
I don't have a problem reading tab, but reading it quickly enough to play at a good tempo is a challenge for me. I actually find standard notation easier, except for recognizing chords (from notes alone, no letter), which are much easier to see in tab. With standard notation, I can visual exactly what note I'm playing a see where the music is going, like seeing a pattern or a scale.

I'm finding Aaron Keim's fingerstyle excellent for learning fingerpicking patterns. For chord melody, I like James Hill's the ukulele way. He has you learning the notes on the fretboard and understanding how you can incorporate chords, partial chords, and single notes to form a chord/melody arrangement. It's great for someone wanting to do a little solo instrumental style.i tried learning from just practicing easy tabs and it didn't work well for me. Understanding how chords are formed, where notes are, and how you can manipulate chords to bring out the melody was far more useful than just learning a tabbed out piece of music.

I simply couldn't agree more, bunnyf, though I don't have Aaron's book (yet), I have another that I've been noodling on and off. I find music notation so much more informative than TAB except for chords. I do agree that reading TAB chords is much easier though.

Reading music notation is no problem for me because it's all I use on my tenor (and favorite) banjo. I'm also working on learning to play all of them by ear.

As I've said many times before, having both TAB and music notation is best. I don't buy TAB only books anymore. :old: