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wodan22
04-29-2014, 03:15 AM
I want to branch out a little more than just playing chords. I want to work on reading music (I already read music in general, but I mean specifically being able to play uke from sheet music), and playing melody lines/individual notes/not just chords.

I got some books that introduce these concepts, but they don't raelly address how to actually play the individual notes. Do I use my thumb (a la a thumb strum, but indivudal note)? Do I use the back of a nail on one of my fingers (i.e. down-picking)? Pluck/up-pick the note with my fingers or nails? Use some kind of plectrum?

I'm guessing there is no "right way", but I am curious as to how other people approach this, cause I have not been particularly satisfied with my own attempts.

RAB11
04-29-2014, 03:36 AM
I normally use my thumb but the fingerpicking I do is never that intricate. Depending on how complex you go some people use a finger for each string.

There won't be a right or wrong way but as with everything musical, getting into good habits early on will help you as you tackle meatier stuff. I'm sure someone with a lot more experience than me will chime in with what those good habits are though.

Ukejenny
04-29-2014, 03:54 AM
I have watched some of Aldrine's videos on here and on youtube, along with other youtube videos on finger picking and I go really slow. I anchor my pinky on the body of the uke and try to use the other four fingers on the strings. Taking it very slow right now. I'm also slowly going through this book:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/books-sheet-music-media/hal-leonard-fingerstyle-ukulele--a-method-songbook-for-fingerpicking-backup-solos-book-cd

Lori
04-29-2014, 05:53 AM
There are lots of different techniques that you will see people use. Some people use the thumb and index finger, others use more fingers along with the thumb, and then there are the ones with the pick. For the most versatility, use your thumb and 3 fingers. That way, you will be able to play more complex songs, and incorporate interesting strumming patterns. It is important for you to get used to using more fingers as a beginner, then it is to try and add more fingers later. If you want to do clawhammer style, you might pick going down with the back of your nail. Most of the time, I pick with the underside of my nail, like a classical guitarist. I tend to use my thumb for the 4th string note, and some 3rd sting notes, and fingers on the first, second, and third strings.

–Lori

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
04-29-2014, 08:08 AM
Thumb for melodies. For starters, at least.

SoCal Ukester 713
04-30-2014, 06:13 AM
Watch Jake Shimabukuro playing. He uses lots of classical guitar techniques. It's a good basis for fingerpicking study -- eventually incorporating some flamenco guitar and banjo techniques, too.

Kayak Jim
04-30-2014, 11:43 AM
It is important for you to get used to using more fingers as a beginner, then it is to try and add more fingers later.


I've been playing for several months generally using thumb on 3rd and 4th, index finger on 2nd, and middle on first string. Now I'm learning a song that suggests only using the thumb on all strings- for a softer sound I think (Smiles, arranged by Mike Lynch). I'm having some trouble getting used to my thumb not being dedicated to just two strings! Far easier for the muscle memory to have fingers "know their place" I think.

CeeJay
04-30-2014, 12:09 PM
I want to branch out a little more than just playing chords. I want to work on reading music (I already read music in general, but I mean specifically being able to play uke from sheet music), and playing melody lines/individual notes/not just chords.

I got some books that introduce these concepts, but they don't raelly address how to actually play the individual notes. Do I use my thumb (a la a thumb strum, but indivudal note)? Do I use the back of a nail on one of my fingers (i.e. down-picking)? Pluck/up-pick the note with my fingers or nails? Use some kind of plectrum?

I'm guessing there is no "right way", but I am curious as to how other people approach this, cause I have not been particularly satisfied with my own attempts.

Firstly, find a simple-ish tune ....then seek out the melody inside the chords.......In other words ...which of the strings held in the chord hold the tune or melody notes ........O I know what I am trying to say ....but it's not coming out right .....You can strum "melodically" by fretting extra notes or emphasizing the melody notes in the chord ......which play the tune .....

Use whatever digit(s) you like...(possibly don't use a plectrum until you can use your fingers, is a general rule ,but do what ever works...I like all methods )

It is important to learn where the notes lie on the fretboard and scales on the fretboard so that then you can make an informed choice about which fret you are

going to use ......and Re-entrant tuning will be a little trickier than low - g tuning because it won't "scale" soundwise ......Soprano,Concert or Tenor ....or a big

bass Bari?

Carica89
05-01-2014, 09:51 AM
Well actually, can be very simple. First figure out what are the chords of the melody ( if you are looking at a piano sheet, usualy the chords are on the bass lines and the melody follows on the upper lines ) , then strum a chord for the first beat that contains the melody and stop on that line.
I mean, if your melody starts on the F just above middle C, and say, your first chord is a F, strum down with your thumb and stop at the second string . Usually, you have to start simple and 1 chord is enough to play a 4/4 bar.
Then, try sdding some hammer-ons or pull-offs, slides, some rolls. After a little while, you will manage to assign one finger per string, but be patient. As long as you are having fun, you are right :cool:
Being able to read sheet music gives you a nice edge.

ksiegel
05-01-2014, 11:35 AM
I just want to say that this is a good question.

I play chord-melody stuff a lot, but have no real idea how or what I do. I basically hear the melody in my head, and try and get the strings to do what I'm hearing.

I don't read music or tab - but I can recognize a treble or bass staff, know where middle C is, and can remember from Junior High School how many sharps are in the keys of G & D (1 and 2, respectively) and how many flats are in F (Just one!). I can't always remember gCEA without singing a stupid Arthur Godfrey song in my head ("He couldn't play/G-C-E-A" is the lyric), and am never sure of the correlation between my fingers and the frets, but hearing the melody in my head, then playing it, rarely lets me down.

So Good Luck, and when you figure it out - please tell me!



-Kurt

rowjimmytour
05-01-2014, 06:42 PM
66399
This book has really helped along w/ roadmaps and ya got two winners.

Nickie
05-02-2014, 12:39 PM
believe it or not, I started learning it by watching banjo pickers....

wodan22
05-03-2014, 11:27 AM
believe it or not, I started learning it by watching banjo pickers....

That's funny. I also play the banjo. :D

seeso
05-04-2014, 05:59 AM
I, like others in this thread, would suggest starting with the thumb to pick melodies. Grasp the upper bout with three or four fingers for an anchor. Take a look at this video for a visual aid (and also because it's a great video):

http://ukuleleunderground.com/2008/11/uke-minutes-28-scale-exercise-i/

OldePhart
05-04-2014, 09:01 AM
"How do you play melodies/single notes?"

Poorly... :(

John

BigMamaJ40
05-05-2014, 11:15 AM
I started by using my thumb to pick out the melody while strumming the chords. Check out Matthew Richards' 2-part tutorial on "Bye Bye Blues"' and Marcy Marxer's "Five Foot Two" tutorial for examples of what I mean.

FrankB
05-05-2014, 11:26 AM
I came to ukulele after playing classical guitar for a number of years. There's no reason why you can't look at a few YouTube videos on basic classical guitar. I use my thumb for the G string.....and in general.... ring finger for A string, middle for E, and index for C. Often a run up a single string is done, and a good classical technique to alternate index and middle fingers. This can be much faster than using a single finger/thumb, and spreads out the wear on tear on nails and ligaments.

FrankB
05-05-2014, 01:06 PM
Here's a very brief and rudimentary video I made tonight, regarding classical guitar technique on ukulele: http://youtu.be/8H0vtaADGKg

P.S. Agreed about Jake S's technique. It all depends on what you're playing, and how much you want to practice a new technique. I can enjoy listening to someone play with their thumb, but I'm not wired that way for my own playing. ;)

**** I watched Aldrine's scale video, and that works great for him. I admire his playing, and have seen his videos before. Wes Montgomery had a magic thumb as well, but I'm a mere mortal....LOL!

coolkayaker1
05-05-2014, 02:28 PM
I guess I have different--not necessarily better--advice than the others. I thing you should not use your thumb to start playing melodies. I think learning to use fingers other than the thumb alone, which will provide you with much more flexibility in playing in the long run, is much easier to do if you learned it from the get-go. Getting great with a thumb, then trying to learn individual finger picking, would be challenging from a muscle memory standpoint.

Paul Hemmings has a nice handout for some basics of playing a melody (not specifying thumb or other fingers)
http://uketet.com/resources.htm
Scroll down to chord melodies for the Vocally Challenged. And thank you, Paul.