Can you play only on the fretboard?

roastbeast

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I busk occasionally. Last night a young lady talked to me about my technique, saying my performance would improve if I used her technique, which she said is plucking with her fretting hand only without using her strumming hand at all. I asked her to show me how she does it, and she declined taking my uke cause she never lets anybody play her instruments.

I only know of one uke player, KJ aka Onehandstrumman, that plays with one hand on fretboard.

Is there a style of playing out there as she described? I know of hammer ons and pull offs, but I don't see how you can rely solely on that for performance. Also, I know you can hammer frets with fingers, sorta like playing piano, but that's not what she was talking about.
 
I’ve seen people play guitar by tapping on the strings with their fingers, but I call foul with the young ladies technique. First, she has no right to criticize and tell you how to improve your performance. Secondly, maybe she doesn’t allow others to play her instruments, but that’s no excuse not to play your instrument and show you her “special” technique.
 
Does she play only with 1 hand or is she plucking with both hands at different times? Plucking with your fretting hand is pretty common to make your music smoother (hammer-ons and pull-offs), but not something that I've seen anyone do exclusively.
 
I'm having fun imagining what she is doing with the other hand: Smoking a cigarette with one of those long cigarette holders. Sipping a martini with onions on a plastic sword. Picking her nose. Playing another uke with the free hand. Scratching her butt. Eating a taffy apple. Signing for the deaf. Snapping along to the beat. Waiving a baton like a conductor. Alternately patting her head, then rubbing her tummy....
 
Yeah, I reacted to this the same way as Rusty and Bill Sheehan. Perhaps her delivery of this message was done well, though? Looking for a positive here - maybe she was trying to be helpful. Anyway, in the fingerstyle guitar world, there are many talented folks who play this way, except they use their strumming/picking hand to play only on the fretboard. It's kinda cool at first, but after a minute, all I want is for a return to the use of two hands to play.

This interaction is so odd, though. She was forward/clueless enough to suggest that she could improve your performance, but declined to show you how. Gah! You must have given a great performance to elicit that kind of reaction. Also, I think people confuse buskers with amateurs. You clearly are not an amateur, from what I've read in these forums. And then, I think people also confuse amateurs with "not as good as professionals," which is also a misguided assumption.
 
There are so many techniques for guitar and ukulele out there, and what she mentioned isn't all that rare among guitar players.

It's like going up to a sushi chef at his/her restaurant and saying it would be great for the restaurant if they served hot dogs.


edit: One handed playing:
 
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I busk occasionally. Last night a young lady talked to me about my technique, saying my performance would improve if I used her technique, which she said is plucking with her fretting hand only without using her strumming hand at all. I asked her to show me how she does it, and she declined taking my uke cause she never lets anybody play her instruments.

I only know of one uke player, KJ aka Onehandstrumman, that plays with one hand on fretboard.

Is there a style of playing out there as she described? I know of hammer ons and pull offs, but I don't see how you can rely solely on that for performance. Also, I know you can hammer frets with fingers, sorta like playing piano, but that's not what she was talking about.

What an interesting concept though I’m not so sure that it works well for the typical Uke and player. A few minutes search shows a guitar player using tap-on, pull-off and a thumb pick to great effect, I found it amazing.


To my mind the young lady should have demonstrated the technique to you, it’s her right to refuse to play but you offered her the use of your Uke so I’m inclined to think that her refusal was due to either lack of confidence or lack of ability.
 
I busk occasionally. Last night a young lady talked to me about my technique, saying my performance would improve if I used her technique, which she said is plucking with her fretting hand only without using her strumming hand at all. I asked her to show me how she does it, and she declined taking my uke cause she never lets anybody play her instruments.

I only know of one uke player, KJ aka Onehandstrumman, that plays with one hand on fretboard.

Is there a style of playing out there as she described? I know of hammer ons and pull offs, but I don't see how you can rely solely on that for performance. Also, I know you can hammer frets with fingers, sorta like playing piano, but that's not what she was talking about.

I've seen several people playing like that - tapping/plucking the strings on the fretboard - Jake, 4stringboy, Lil' Rev, and others. If you know the notes on the fretboard, that would probably be a start - like playing the piano.
 
Roastbeast, I'll second what Rusty said-- it was "pretty bad form" on the lady's part to be suggesting ways for you to improve your performance, assuming you didn't solicit her advice.
...and then not demonstrating.

"You know, you can save a lot of wear on your shoes by walking a couple of inches above the pavement. I'd show you how to do it, but I don't want to." 😁
 
...and then not demonstrating.

"You know, you can save a lot of wear on your shoes by walking a couple of inches above the pavement. I'd show you how to do it, but I don't want to." 😁
Hahahahahaha! Love it! By the way, Jerry, I'm probably way behind on this, but I'd been concerned that you hadn't been heard from in a while around here, and then it finally hit me that you simply scored a new avatar photo, and that you've been here all along! Outstanding photo, by the way!
 
What an interesting concept though I’m not so sure that it works well for the typical Uke and player. A few minutes search shows a guitar player using tap-on, pull-off and a thumb pick to great effect, I found it amazing.


To my mind the young lady should have demonstrated the technique to you, it’s her right to refuse to play but you offered her the use of your Uke so I’m inclined to think that her refusal was due to either lack of confidence or lack of ability.

That is inspiring, Graham. I've also found inspiration in a guy named Billy McLaughlin, who was quite an accomplished and successful fingerstyle guitarist, and was then stricken with a disabling neurological disorder called focal dystonia. Rather than give up, he decided to re-learn, making the best of what he still had, and this resulted in his developing an unconventional approach to playing. The clip below goes back a number of years, and I think it's taken from the "comeback" concert he gave after re-learning the guitar in his new style. I always find this clip very touching; you can see the happiness, and the love of the instrument, in his face.

 
If she's only plucking with her fretting hand, it really limits what she can play since she would always need to keep at least one finger free for plucking/strumming. It seems like an artificial limitation she's imposing on herself, without any seeming advantage.

Of course it's possible to do finger tapping, with either or both hands, but again if a person limits themselves to finger tapping with only their fretting hand, it's an artificial limitation - and the advantage of finger tapping is to be able to play complex parts with two hands. Stanley Jordan is the best I've seen using that technique, playing bass, chords, and lead simultaneously on one guitar (or sometimes two).

I think she was talking sh*t.
 
I’ve seen people play guitar by tapping on the strings with their fingers, but I call foul with the young ladies technique. First, she has no right to criticize and tell you how to improve your performance. Secondly, maybe she doesn’t allow others to play her instruments, but that’s no excuse not to play your instrument and show you her “special” technique.
She tipped, lol. But it would have been nice for her to demo for sure.
 
Does she play only with 1 hand or is she plucking with both hands at different times? Plucking with your fretting hand is pretty common to make your music smoother (hammer-ons and pull-offs), but not something that I've seen anyone do exclusively.
The way she explained it, just one hand on the fretboad
 
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