View Full Version : Strumming questions

02-04-2009, 07:08 AM

I got my first Ukulele a month ago (An Oscar Schmidt OU-2) and i love it!

I have been picking it up very quickly but I thinking I'm strumming incorrectly. I'm trying to get into the habit of using my middel finger to strum, but I continue to use my thumb. Is that ok? Also, where exactly do you strum at? Becasue I have been strumming slightly over the fingerboard, but im not sure if your supposed to strum over the sound hole.

Im trying to get out of my classical viola and violin habits and am trying to keep my fingers a littel flatter on the frets. (In violin and viola you keep your fingers upright so this is quite a leap, but im getting the hang of it quickly)

Thank you for any and all help,

02-04-2009, 07:14 AM
Weclome to UU and welcome to the wonderful world of Ukulele. I'm sure there will be some purists out there who feel that you have to strum a certain way, but I find that whatever feels comfortable works.

I started out using my thumb when I began playing. It just felt right. I've been using that ever since but at the same time I am learning how to use my pointer finger and other fingers to play as well. You'll find that as you progress different strumming patterns will make you use different techniques. So I guess what I am saying is that just do what is comfortable and have fun.

Ukulele JJ
02-04-2009, 07:24 AM
I'm certainly no expert, but...

As someone who is used to classical training, you're probably used to there being a "correct" way to do certain things.

Well you can throw all that right out the window. :D

If you want to strum with your thumb, then by all means do so. Lots of people do. Personally, I use my index finger most of the time. You could also use the thumb for the downstroke and the index finger for the upstroke, which gives an interesting sound because you're always hitting the strings with skin instead of fingernail. Or reverse it, so it's all fingernail.

Basically, go with what works for you. It never hurts to have multiple techniques in your repertoire.

As for strumming position, I think you're spot-on. The "traditional" way is to strum further up than you would on a guitar. (I suspect that this is partly due to the instrument's size. There's not enough of the body to comfortably rest your arm on if you were to strum over the soundhole.) I tend to strum around the 14th fret or so.

I suspect that your finger position will evolve on its own, the more you play. I wouldn't worry too much about it.


02-04-2009, 07:58 AM
Ok, Thank you both very much for your help.

02-04-2009, 09:46 AM
I strum with my thumb when I want things a bit quieter - like when I'm practicing at work. I use my index finger or sometimes all my fingers when I'm really working it at home and want my uke to sing out. But it's all good - as long as it's making you happy...and my ukes make me happy.