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View Full Version : Fingerpicking on a 6-string uke



ryanshanabarger
09-26-2013, 03:13 PM
Hello all,

I am still learning how to play, but I like the idea of finger picking little patterns. And Im going to have a 6-string ukulele. I know that typically these are used for strumming for volume/fullness etc.... But can anyone with a 6-string who DOES use it for fingerpicking talk to me about how they do it? I am not talking about fingerpicking melodies, just patterns.... Maybe it doesn't even need special attention for that.

Do you tune both strings to the same note? Or do you tune them an octave apart like normal but have a technique for fingerpicking?

For example, the kind of finger picking in this video, would it require some special technique to sound okay? Or is it going to be easy to play on a 6 string? As a worst case scenario I thought i could tune the two extra strings to the same note as it's twin, but then wouldn't the chords be kind of... unbalanced?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fomtyWQQkaU

Thanks for your help,

Ryan

jcarlos
09-26-2013, 04:24 PM
I play an 8 string, so its kinda the same. When you are picking patterns it doesnt sound too bad, if you are attempting leads it sounds bad in my opinion. If you can train yourself to pick up only to hit the higher octave and down only to hit the low octave you can do some pretty unique patterns. But either way its gonna sounds strange, and strange isn't always a bad thing.

I can make a quick sounds sample but again it will be an 8 string.

ryanshanabarger
09-26-2013, 04:31 PM
Ok, can you explain what "leads" are? And on the 8 string, how is that tuned?

jcarlos
09-26-2013, 04:53 PM
Lead would be single note picking, like solos. The 8 string is tunes GgCcEA

ryanshanabarger
09-26-2013, 06:26 PM
so the video i posted, that would sound 'odd' or whatever? i thought finger picking WAS "single note picking" so im confused

Gillian
09-26-2013, 07:26 PM
I have a 6-string and while I can finger pick it, it does sound odd to me.

You can pick the G and E because they are alone. The middle C is also easy to pick because it is the fattest of the two C strings and easy to feel because it sits "higher" than the thinner high C string. The hard one is the high A. I always seem to pick the low A because it is the fatter of the two and sits higher than the high A. Did that make any sense?

I guess one solution is to replace the low A with a high A, but that is defeating the reason for having a 6-string!

strumsilly
09-27-2013, 03:31 AM
I tune mine GcCeaa for fingerpicking. tuning it gCceaA sounds great strummed, but odd to me when picked. I just used the low A for the G and the high g for an a.

PhilUSAFRet
09-27-2013, 07:31 AM
I have a 6-string and while I can finger pick it, it does sound odd to me.

You can pick the G and E because they are alone. The middle C is also easy to pick because it is the fattest of the two C strings and easy to feel because it sits "higher" than the thinner high C string. The hard one is the high A. I always seem to pick the low A because it is the fatter of the two and sits higher than the high A. Did that make any sense?

I guess one solution is to replace the low A with a high A, but that is defeating the reason for having a 6-string!

Was under the impression that regular tuning for a 6 string was for the A strings to be unison. Mine is tuned G cC E AA. Doc J has recommended using the Aa or aA setup, but I haven't tried it yet

SailingUke
09-27-2013, 08:01 AM
Was under the impression that regular tuning for a 6 string was for the A strings to be unison. Mine is tuned G cC E AA. Doc J has recommended using the Aa or aA setup, but I haven't tried it yet

Unison A's and Octave A's are common.
My preference is unison A's, I like it for picking.
Octave A's were awesome for strumming.
I have settled with low G, octave C's and unison A's, a compromise that gives me a full strum voice and allows melodies & fills to be picked.

jcarlos
09-27-2013, 11:35 AM
so the video i posted, that would sound 'odd' or whatever? i thought finger picking WAS "single note picking" so im confused

Its all single note picking, but I thought you were talking about patterns, I'm assuming you were talking about holding a chord shape and picking a pattern on the strings, like this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIAre_6BpHc&feature=youtu.be

then Solos or leads would be more like this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OBSg5zeExk&feature=youtu.be

Strumming you can see in other videos.

Gillian
09-27-2013, 11:54 AM
Was under the impression that regular tuning for a 6 string was for the A strings to be unison. Mine is tuned G cC E AA. Doc J has recommended using the Aa or aA setup, but I haven't tried it yet

Assuming my Kamaka Lili'u's nut hasn't been modified, it is filed specifically for thestrings to be G, cC, E, aA. The fatter, low A on the inside and the thinner, high A on the outside.

ryanshanabarger
09-27-2013, 12:03 PM
Its all single note picking, but I thought you were talking about patterns, I'm assuming you were talking about holding a chord shape and picking a pattern on the strings, like this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIAre_6BpHc&feature=youtu.be

then Solos or leads would be more like this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OBSg5zeExk&feature=youtu.be

Strumming you can see in other videos.

Um.... I LOVE the sound of those one the 8 string! I see what you mean, but instead of 'odd' or whatever, id say "beautiful, unique, more complex".... Now I can't wait to get my 6 string!

PhilUSAFRet
09-27-2013, 12:04 PM
Wow, some great info re: 6 string setups. My Pono isn't as "full" as I'd like it. Looks like I need to try aA and if still not satisfied, try g cC or Cc, etc.
Is UU great or what. Thanks.

Sorry Ryans, didn't mean to hijack your post.

jcarlos
09-27-2013, 12:09 PM
Um.... I LOVE the sound of those one the 8 string! I see what you mean, but instead of 'odd' or whatever, id say "beautiful, unique, more complex".... Now I can't wait to get my 6 string!

Yea its not bad, its just different. Sometimes it can be annoying, but other times it sounds amazing.