View Full Version : strumming

04-06-2014, 07:57 AM
Hi - I have just started Ukulele, I find it much more comfortable to strum with my middle finger. Is this a bad habit, or do any other players do it this way. Thanks in advance.


04-06-2014, 08:01 AM
Hi - I have just started Ukulele, I find it much more comfortable to strum with my middle finger. Is this a bad habit, or do any other players do it this way. Thanks in advance.


I would say at the end of the day do what works best for you. If later it becomes a problem you can re-learn. Many famous musicians did something slightly different and then everyone wants to learn "their way" but when you ask someone how to do something people often act like there is only one way. There is always a recommended way, but end of the day if you play BETTER that way then why not try it.

04-06-2014, 10:44 AM
Pixie has a point, doing what works for you will at least keep you playing. I personally would recommend however that you try to learn to use your index finger as your primary strumming finger. If you eventually want to move past simple up, down type strumming to fan, triplets, split strokes, finger picking, all of these will be more difficult if you don't use you index finger. If you click the Learn To Play Ukulele link at the top of the page and watch Aldrine's first video he shows you the proper index finger strumming technique, and it's easy!

04-06-2014, 11:00 AM
I strum with my middle finger too. My pointer nail folds as soon as it grows past the tip of my finger and catches on the strings. Now that I've been at it (uke) for a while, I've learned to just keep that nail shorter and settle for the brushier fingertip sound when I use it. I find it's getting fairly easy to switch back and forth depending on the sound I want. Still strum primarily with my middle though. You are not alone!

04-06-2014, 04:22 PM
I started with my middle finger and quickly changed over to my index finger, which started feeling comfortable quickly and now feels like "home" for me. I have more control with my index finger as far as pressure and whatnot.

04-06-2014, 04:23 PM
Oh, and congratulations on starting the ukulele. It is a ton of fun and is a lifelong journey. This is the perfect forum to learn tons of tips and tricks.

04-06-2014, 05:01 PM
I understand the "do what feels best" philosophy, but in my opinion, it's best for a beginner to start by learning more "traditional" playing methods, including using the index finger as your primary strumming finger. As others have pointed out, it will facilitate learning more advanced strumming techniques instead of hindering it. Sometimes bad habits "linger" longer than some of us would like them to.

04-06-2014, 05:02 PM
I started playing with my index finger. Then I broke the tip of that finger. Switched to the middle finger while waving the splint in the breeze. When the nail grew back I switched back to the index finger. It takes a little while to make the shift feel natural.

If the middle finger feels right then get used to playing with it and move to the index finger later.

I like Lopsidedtiger's "different strokes" idea.

04-06-2014, 07:40 PM
Smart to strum with whichever finger feels natural for you, and feel free to try out the other fingers (and your thumb) whenever the mood strikes.

Whichever finger you're using, try to pay attention to keeping the strum as steady as possible.

04-07-2014, 07:04 AM
From personal experience, it's much easier to catch it at the beginning rather than later on. I still find myself getting rid of old habits as I get better and I wish I could go back and just get rid of them before they became a problem.

04-07-2014, 08:51 AM
I'm kinda in between philosophies here, which can be a good place to be... "Different strokes for different folks" i.e. do what feels comfortable to you. However, there's also the school of "Learn the rules so you can consciously, knowingly, deliberately and knowledgeably break them later." I guess I'm saying, as others have, try all the fingers, because you'll use all of them for something on the uke eventually. But don't get stuck in a rut.

And in a uke group you'll stand out because everyone else will be strumming with their index finger. If you're ok with that, then strum merrily along. Just have fun whatever you do, and try not to make all of uke playing a head/intellectual exercise! Because that's a painful place where playing, isn't playing anymore. :o

04-07-2014, 08:54 AM
Thank you for all the replies, It was very helpful, I switched to index finger and will give that a good shot.

Stan (Bigleaf Mandolins)

04-14-2014, 01:03 AM
I have no finger nail protruding so it is all quiet around here. I have found tho that a plect cut from and ice cream bucket lid is my fav. It needs less wrist turn to go from down to up because it has some flex. The felt plect is good for down and a bit dull.

A bit of masking tape on the plastic makes it less slippery for the fingers.