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Thread: fingerstyle: p-i-m-a vs. p-i-m

  1. #1
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    Default fingerstyle: p-i-m-a vs. p-i-m

    After 2 months of thumb plucking I'm getting ready to move on to some fingerstyle material. Unfortunately, James Hill teaches P-I-M-A while Aaron Keim teaches P-I-M. I guess that to an experienced player there isn't much difference but it's a little confusing to a new comer. Is there any reason to pick one over the other or should I just learn both. I guess ultimately the particular arrangement will determine which one uses. What do you think?

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    What does P-I-M-A mean ...?

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    I use P-I-M, but it probably won't hurt to learn both.

    CeeJay, P=Thumb (some Latin word), I=Index, M=Middle, A=(Some other confounded Latin Word).

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    P is the thumb, I is index, M is Middle, and A is ring finger. The question is whether to use the ring finger for picking. Good question, I'm interested to see what other fingerstyle ukers say.

    John King said he used mainly P I and M, and A rarely. That's also my preference when playing fingerstyle on soprano. I mainly use A for playing fast triplets in the A M I pattern thats also common for tremolo on classical guitar. A is a useful picking finger on the guitar, and many fingerstyle guitarists never learn to use it. Most of the great folk and blues guitarists just used P I and M, and the amazing Rev Gary Davis only used P and I. But classical guitarists use A all the time. Its not a very smart finger, unfortunately, and its weak compared to the others (the pinkie is the weakest and dumbest by far). If you want to use A you have to make a special effort to train and develop it.

    The uke is rather small, especially sopranos, so I find it hard to pick with A as much as I use it for picking on the guitar. But on the tenor I use A more often because the larger body size makes it easier (for me, at least) to position and stabilize.my right hand for picking.

    That's sort of a non-answer. My advice is to learn to fingerpick with P I and M first. A has to be developed thru practice, you can bring it in later.

    But as with everything related to the uke, there are no rules. Ohta san plays amazing music mostly just using his thumb. I'll be interested to hear what others say. Great question!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Down Up Dick View Post
    I use P-I-M, but it probably won't hurt to learn both.

    CeeJay, P=Thumb (some Latin word), I=Index, M=Middle, A=(Some other confounded Latin Word).
    Okay thanks......I use thumb , index and middle....on Soprano and Concert and sometimes just Thumb and Index if ragging it or Clawhammering (Seeger Style I think it is.... where you up stroke as well as down stroke the index finger ...purists will shudder)

    I would think the Tenor (or Baritone) will be better played Thumb Bass or 4, Index 3, Middle 2, 4th (A or Ring ) 1 as that seems to be played in a more Guitar like manner......assigned digits strings you have a more disciplined and rigid method...but easier to get going with because of said rigid structure...

    I don't play the T or B but I play the guitar fingerpicked as above ......(unless failing it of course!!!....fRailing it ...that should be ..fRailing *sheesh*)
    Last edited by CeeJay; 01-10-2015 at 06:46 AM.

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    I use P-I, P-I-M, and P-I-M-A . It just sort of depends on what I want to do. I would say, don't limit yourself to just one style.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

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  7. #7
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    What CeeJay said about using PIMA, assigning each string to a finger, is what Pekelo's fingerstyle method book recommends. if you are learning fingerstyle, and prefer low G, Pekelo two books are really good. You'll learn to use your ring finger if you follow his approach.

    http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/...Ukulele-Method

    The main hurdle with using A is that in fingerstyle the melody note is often on the highest string, and if A is your weakest finger, it can be difficult to get the melody to stand out over the harmony notes. So you really have to work on developing that ring finger.
    Last edited by brimmer; 01-10-2015 at 07:05 AM.

  8. #8
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    Hmm, I never looked up any special way to pluck, I just plucking did it and do with all fingers I can, even on the left hand (:

  9. #9

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    James Hill seems to be someone who has taken classical guitar technique and applied it to the uke, and he is pretty literal in his interpretations. I play mostly finger style and use pim almost all the time but sometimes pima. On the guitar I usually use pima. Note that Aaron Keim plays a lot of traditional folk and is an excellent folk style musician. If you want to play ukulele like a classical guitar and play classical music, James Hill's way is probably the "right" way. If you are more interested in folk and popular music then there is a wider range of styles you can use.

    As an aside: As far as the pinky I think most uke players use the pinky way too little in fingering with their left hand. When people are beginners they tend to avoid the pinky. If you use the pinky a lot, as in fingering the C chord or playing single note melodies, and get used to it, eventually you'll get comfortable using it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonesigh View Post
    Hmm, I never looked up any special way to pluck, I just plucking did it and do with all fingers I can, even on the left hand (:

    We use much the same approach bonesigh.
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