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Thread: Playing melody line

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
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    2

    Default Playing melody line

    Any advice re. playing melody line? Pick vs. thumb. vs. multiple fingers?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Durham, UK
    Posts
    266

    Default

    Welcome to UU, Simcha!

    There are many techniques available to play a melody line, chord melody or mixed styles with some strumming thrown in as well. Youtube is a treasure trove with many good tutors. You could check out Matt Dahlberg or Ukulele Cheats for song tutorials. I also recommend Wilfried Welti's website:
    https://www.ukulele-arts.com/?lang=en

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    on a sunny FL beach
    Posts
    1,414

    Default

    I am used to flat pick technique, so thatís what I like and recommend. If I were picking something slow, I could just use my thumb. But, if I were trying to pick something faster like a more embellished fiddle tune, I want to be able to pick the faster notes alternating down and up strokes for speed. So, Iíd either flat pick or alternate thumb down and pointer up. Thumb alone only gives you down strokes and will slow you down.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Forgot to mention that I am interested in playing melody line on Baritone ukulele.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
    Posts
    6,443

    Default

    I mainly play melody with just my thumb, occasionally I'll have a go at PIMA/fingers, do what you feel comfortable with.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Corvallis, Oregon
    Posts
    710

    Default

    There’s no wrong choice here, Simcha. Some people start with the thumb and stay there, occasionally using a pick. Some always use a pick. Some graduate to multiple fingers. Others start with multiple fingers. It doesn’t really matter which method you use, as long as the end result is to your liking. I suggest you give each of them a try, and see which ones suits you best.

    Jan
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    Flight TUS35 (blue soprano)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Posts
    1,016

    Default

    I once received some really great advice: never let your philosophy get in the way of results. Once you align yourself with an ideology (e.g., "I am a thumb-picker"), then you close your mind and rationalize your viewpoint. It is better to think of your goal and choose appropriate tools to achieve that goal.

    Here's how I implemented that. First of all you need a base from which to operate; you need to find a style that works for you initially. For me it was using my index and middle finger in the picado style of flamenco tradition. I became comfortable with it and I still use it 90% of the time. However, I kept an open mind and when my style didn't fit my needs I incorporated other ideas. For instance, I started to use my thumb more for Travis picking or for getting a drone on the bass string.

    I think it is important to establish a technique that works for you. Maybe it is thumb, maybe it is PIMA, maybe it is something else. Regardless invest yourself in whatever system works for you. Then be amenable to adapting your style when something else pops up. If, on the other hand, you try to find the perfect finger style, you will fail. It will be too hard and you will be discouraged. It is much better to take it step by step.

    Coincidentally, I was just watching a video that illustrates this point. I was watching Jared James Nichols, a guitar player who doesn't use a plectrum of any sort. He used his thumb, he used his fingers. He basically uses whatever it takes to make the sound he wants. And that's my goal
    Last edited by ripock; 03-14-2020 at 10:41 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    East Midlands UK
    Posts
    345

    Default

    No right or wrong so far as I can tell! Do what is comfortable for you, and nothing else means a thing really. I use thumb and all of my different fingers on different tunes, it just comes down to what you find easiest to do, and which digit(s) you choose!
    All power and respect to you Concert,Tenor and Baritone players, but Soprano is what does it for me every time! (And my beautiful Sopranino!)

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