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View Full Version : Are 8 strings for finger picking?



sirwhale
04-19-2014, 08:29 AM
I'm obsessing but short on cash, there are not 8 string ukuleles in the shops here and I need clear excuses. How are 8 strings for fingerpicking? I strum 20% of the time and much prefer plucking away. How about barre chords? Are they just one trick ponies? or something I could base a lot of songs around? Is there anyone with experience with this?

Cheers

Christian

bobinde
04-19-2014, 09:53 AM
I'll take a stab at this . .

I have a Lanakai 8-string and I tend to strum it 90% of the time, but I do some finger picking on it. For me, a guitar player, it's much the same as playing a 12-string guitar. I tend to like that "jangly" sound of the 8-string sometimes, too.

There are also a lot of (relatively speaking) 5- 6- and 76- stringers out there, too. Just look at the web sites for many of the smaller Uke makers.

Others here have much more experience than me, so I'm interested to hear what they have to say, too.

Hang in there, Christian!

bobinde

mailman
04-19-2014, 10:01 AM
I don't finger pick my 8 string. But then, the reality is that I don't finger pick at all.

I have read posts here on the forums about players that do, though. I'm sure it's done/doable, but I wouldn't think that's the 8 string's strong suit....

PhilUSAFRet
04-19-2014, 03:43 PM
As a general rule, 8 strings are primarily for strummers. The 6 string is a compromise. Much of the chime of an 8 string, but easier to fingerpick. Then there's the 5 string...............

peaceweaver3
04-19-2014, 04:20 PM
Far be it from me to talk someone out of a decision already made i.e. you wanna try that 8-string no matter what we say and you know you do... :D But, my experience was that no way are they suited to fingerpicking. At the time I had an 8-string, 2 or so years ago for only about a month when I actually played it, I fingerpicked about 20% of the time. That's much less than I do now, and even then, it was disappointing. The sound wasn't what I wanted, too muddy I thought. And bar chords were difficult. The 8 strings in general were hard to play and, for me, not worth the extra effort.

But that could all change if that's indeed the sound you want! For me, it just wasn't.

OldePhart
04-19-2014, 05:18 PM
I knew a guy years ago who fingerpicked (almost exclusively) on a 12-string jumbo guitar. However, that ability took years of practice and I would say that picking on an 8 string uke is obviously possible, but it's certainly outside the norm and probably with good reason.

John

Luke El U
04-19-2014, 07:14 PM
As a general rule, 8 strings are primarily for strummers.

What about flat picking it like a mandolin? I've often thought that might be cool, but have never seen it.

Andy Chen
04-19-2014, 07:51 PM
Like, that's exactly what I do! Has the effect I'm after.

TheCraftedCow
04-19-2014, 08:00 PM
I am surprised at the replies you have received which are neutral or negative. Your choice of strings might have an effect. All of my current multistringers have aquila white. I have a couple of collegiate style mandolins strung as ukes- two 2-3-3-2 tiples ( one of which was acquired for a trade of a koa Puleleha 8 stringer---f/p by both of us)

I have written a Joplin style rag that sounds better on a double string instrument than a conventional 4.

sirwhale
04-19-2014, 10:02 PM
I think I have my head in ukulele utopia. I already have a 5 string and love it! I think I should stick it out and wait for that moment when I'll be able to try an 8 string, until then, patience is a virtue...

anthonyg
04-19-2014, 11:08 PM
I finger pick on an 8 string tenor. Sure, it IS a little harder than picking a 4 string but the sound is SOO much bigger. Such is double stringed instruments.

More time to tune of course, and you want the action to be setup well.

Here's me picking an 8 string tenor. Hammers and pull offs too,


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T06R2UkVxug

Anthony

ukeeku
04-20-2014, 01:48 AM
yes. Finger picking is fun. Just takes some practice.

Nickie
04-20-2014, 05:33 AM
I am surprised at the replies you have received which are neutral or negative. Your choice of strings might have an effect. All of my current multistringers have aquila white. I have a couple of collegiate style mandolins strung as ukes- two 2-3-3-2 tiples ( one of which was acquired for a trade of a koa Puleleha 8 stringer---f/p by both of us)

I have written a Joplin style rag that sounds better on a double string instrument than a conventional 4.

Do you have this on video? Can we see it please?

PhilUSAFRet
04-20-2014, 01:17 PM
What about flat picking it like a mandolin? I've often thought that might be cool, but have never seen it.

Primarily, not exclusively, LOL! I couldn't find a video of someone flat picking, but here's a decent fingerpicking one on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_R793z8Yls

hilot.h.
04-20-2014, 04:06 PM
As a general rule, 8 strings are primarily for strummers. The 6 string is a compromise. Much of the chime of an 8 string, but easier to fingerpick. Then there's the 5 string...............

Agree.I have a Taropatch,a 6 string and of course a tenor.The 8 is for strumming,6 for whateva,tenor is the one I use when picking a tune.The few 5 strings I have tried worked well as pickers,because most of my picking is on the bottom 3 strings anyway.IMHO.

bigphil
04-20-2014, 08:02 PM
There are also a lot of (relatively speaking) 5- 6- and 76- stringers out there, too. Just look at the web sites for many of the smaller Uke makers.


It's mostly the 76 stringers that are the hard ones to fingerpick. ;)

CeeJay
04-21-2014, 01:06 AM
There are that many Trombones in the Hit Parade though...to be fair.

Chris

OldePhart
04-21-2014, 02:42 AM
There are also a lot of (relatively speaking) 5- 6- and 76- stringers out there, too. Just look at the web sites for many of the smaller Uke makers.


I think the 76 stringers are called floor harps and they're actually easier to pick than strum...

On a serious note though remember that when you're playing an 8-string there are a lot more unisons because of the string courses that are unison (same pitch). That makes tuning really, really critical. I think that, though I didn't realize it at the time, that was what put me off the one I had. Even when you get the open unison strings tuned perfectly, if your fingering is at all sloppy you can push one of the pair out of place more when fretting and then the pair is going to be out of tune and so on.

Unisons out of tune are more obvious than any other interval.

John

FiL
04-21-2014, 02:53 AM
Although I'm admittedly a simple fingerpicker, I love the sound of my 8-string fingerpicked. It's my main uke.


http://youtu.be/cEs-HmtVjw4

- FiL