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Thread: Bad old picks...

  1. #1
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    Default Bad old picks...

    I don't really think they are bad, but I have a 9 year old and a 6 year old who are having strumming troubles and I think trying without the pick for a while would loosen things up and make a natural strum more possible. Am I on the right track with this? I want them to get a feel for the strings and have a relaxed strumming pattern.
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  2. #2
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    I have never used a pick on the ukulele. Have nothing against them; I flatpick guitar, mandolin and use metal fingerpicks for five-string banjo. But I have always preferred the tone and the feel of plain ol' fingers on the uke.



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ukejenny View Post
    I don't really think they are bad, but I have a 9 year old and a 6 year old who are having strumming troubles and I think trying without the pick for a while would loosen things up and make a natural strum more possible. Am I on the right track with this? I want them to get a feel for the strings and have a relaxed strumming pattern.
    I started out learning the uke thinking a pick would make things easier - I even bought some felt picks. It didn't take long to discover that the pick wasn't helping me any. I'd guess that kids would learn pretty quick that their fingers work as well or better than the added dexterity needed to hold on to a pick.

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  4. #4
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    Jenny I tried picks too. All they did was impede me. Nothing like good old fingers!
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  5. #5
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    it all depends upon the tune. For certain genres (folk, especially), the old fingers work the best. For Southern Rock and other R&R, I find a thin pick works the best.
    ...SteveZ

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  6. #6
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    Plectrums can be useful when teaching strumming & rhythm patterns. They do need to be fairly light gauge with little resistance, 0.5 mm or maybe a tad less and with grip for the thumb & index finger.

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  7. #7
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    How long have they been playing? I see little kids strumming all the time without picks. May be just as well to move them along slowly, as they strum properly, with short sessions during the day, until their little fingers "toughen up." They will.

  8. #8
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    The thing is what sort of music and how are they wanting to play it ....if strumming tunes then finger first I would recommend .......if the pleccie is being held correctly ..on the side of the middle knuckle of the first finger...... and gripped firmly (not in a death grip !!)and the three other digits curled in to the palm ...with a straight thumb ..ask the player to do that and show you...slide the plectrum out from the grip and asked the player to just straighten/ extend the first finger a bit,cock the tumb back a little hold it all gently but relaxed and you have a near perfect strumming ready right hand.........and if they start clattering their fore-finger or wear out the cuticle at the back of the nail and make it sore they can revert to the plectrum and continue....

    I also find it helps to make large strumming action ,this gives you some "hang time " for the right hand while chord changes are made........watch a balalika player like Alex Sinavsky.....I think that for similarity in strumming picking technique the Balalaika..."belly scratcher" and the "dancing flea" must have been seperated at birth.


    I used to loathe the idea of playing the uke with picks ...but I now believe (and do it )that it can sound very effective , but I would say (though not from a lofty peak and in tablets of stone)learn to finger strum and then melody pick with the fingers first......and in the end ..as long as they play the damn thing ..that's what counts.
    Last edited by CeeJay; 11-20-2014 at 02:04 AM.

  9. #9
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    Correctly using picks is a skill in itself. The variety of sizes, stiffness, shapes, styles, etc. all result in unique sounds. Also, how one uses a selected pick (especially incorrectly) can impact string life. Guitarists (and many mandolinists) often learn the hard way why proper pick selection and use can be important, especially how much damage can occur to soundboards by improper pick use.

    Using a pick with a ukulele may be considered as heresy by traditionalists, but for folk who play mainly rock, pop and certain C&W styles a pick makes a whale of a difference. Again, it's all about the music, and certain genres require more "oomph" and individual string clarity than others.
    ...SteveZ

    Ukuleles: Martin T1K (T)*, Oscar Schmidt OU28T (T8), Lanikai LU-6 (T6), RISA Solid (C), Effin UkeStart (C), Flea (S)**
    Banjo-Ukes: Duke 10 (T)*, Lanikai LB6-S (S)*
    Tenor Guitars: Martin TEN515, Blueridge BR-40T
    Tenor Banjo: Deering Goodtime 17-Fret
    Mandolin: Burgess (#7)***

    Tuning: *Reentrant C CGDA. **DAEB. ***GDAE. The rest are CGDA

    The inventory is always in some flux, but that's part of the fun.

  10. #10
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    I have rarely used a pick, even when I played guitar. I like to actually feel the strings personally. I have found that teaching kids it seems easier for them without a pick. Some younger kids don't quite have the motor skills developed yet to hold a pick, and feel out the strings with it. it gives them just one more thing to think about and just seems more natural to them to not worry about how to hold a pick. When they get older and better, they can make that choice for themselves later.
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