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Thread: Pointer finger woes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    Default Pointer finger woes

    I had for a long time been trying to avoid plucking with my index finger because, well quite simply, the middle one sounds 1000% nicer. But when I'm playing any sort of fast or intricate passages, I can't avoid it, as thumb and middle finger alone just aren't going to cut it. I was experimenting recording my practice sessions, and I can't deny it - that one finger sounds awful. It sounds like I'm using a pick, and I cannot for the life of me create a pleasing "thunk" sound with it. Playing with my fingers is something I'm really attracted to in playing ukuleles, but due to a perhaps genetic anomaly, the ends of my pointer fingers (on both hands) are the ones least endowed with fat. In fact, there's no fleshy cushion there between skin and bone to speak of. So, my arpeggiated passages sound like "thunk, thunk, thunk, thwap!...." (for example). Short of plastic surgery, am I doomed to make this unmusical sound forever, or is there a natural way to improve the condition?

    bratsche
    Last edited by bratsche; 10-12-2017 at 05:37 PM.
    A bunch of stringed instruments tuned in fifths. And a bunch of cats!


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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default

    I predominantly pick using the thumb, index, middle & ring fingers, but there are times that I drop out the index and just use the thumb, middle & ring. I think the reason for this is simply that the ukulele is quite a compact size and dropping the index out of the line up makes picking a little easier for some tunes. It must be quite a natural thing to do because I didn't even realize that I did it until recently and I've probably been unwittingly doing it for years.
    Last edited by Camsuke; 10-12-2017 at 05:33 PM.
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  3. #3
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    Default

    Yeah, I should have figured... there's always those other 2 fingers, right? Now, if only I could get my ring finger to be as coordinated as the index and middle. It doesn't come naturally for me. Another thing for the woodshed hours.

    bratsche
    A bunch of stringed instruments tuned in fifths. And a bunch of cats!


    "There are two refuges from the miseries of life: music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer

    GearGems - Gifts & apparel for musicians and more!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    174

    Default

    Funny you should mention this topic, Bratsche, as this winter so far has been really bad on my strumming (index) finger, with those little splits and cracks developing to the point where I couldn't even use the index finger without it "killing" me! So just yesterday I tried instead using my ring finger and middle finger (side by side, as a unit) to do my strumming, and to my surprise I'm really kind of liking it! It seems to add a little bit of texture to the sound, that I don't hear when I'm using strictly the index finger, and this makes for a nice built-in rhythmic effect. And with the two fingers side by side carrying the load, I don't seem to get fatigued as quickly. Always fun to experiment with these things...

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    All using my natural nails, when strumming I tend to use the middle-finger-nail on the down-stroke and the thumb-nail on the upstroke, which is a holdover adapted from classical and flamenco guitar playing.

    With finger-style, I also use the P-I-M-A (thumb, index, middle & ring fingers in that order) for one finger for each string as much as possible, again using close to the classical guitar technique of how my finger-tip and finger-nail attacks the edge of the string.

    Also I do not plant my pinky on the soundboard, since I feel that this inhibits both freedom of movement, and steals energy via the tension on your pinky's tendon that is required to force the pinky out and anchor it.

    I do not use fleshy finger pads at all on my strumming/plucking hand unless I've had an injury that's forced me to keep the nails on that hand short, and while I wait for them to grow back, I feel handicapped and clumsy in my technique and quite frustrated for about 2-3 weeks until there is enough nail length to properly shape them as needed.
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