Finger placements while picking strings.

Freya Vie

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When you are plucking the strings.. where do you "place" the rest of your fingers that are not currently plucking?

For eg, when I am using fingers I, M, A.. I realise I have a tendency to place my P thumb at the side of the fretboard.

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And when I am plucking with my P thumb, my M & A fingers tend to rest on the body of the uke.

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Is this normal? Or perhaps a habit I should break?

Appreciate all your sharings!
 
I don't know. My fingers never touch the ukulele when I finger pick but I'm a terrible finger picker.
In that case, does your fingers maintain "afloat" or resting on the strings?

I'm new to fingerpicking.. so I'm probably more than terrible, lol.
 
Lol, I had to try an arpeggio to see where my fingers are when plucking. Looks like they're floating above but near the strings. (I use my thumb for the 4th and 3rd strings, index for the 2nd and middle for the 1st string.) Had to look again.
So I guess my take away is to do it whatever way you're comfortable with so you can do it without thinking about what you're doing. If that makes any sense.
 
Because my thumb is one of the picking fingers, I do not anchor either. My forearm's contact with the lower body is the anchor, leaving the hand free to move as necessary. I try not to pick over the fretboard end, but always go back there for best tone.

Watch the demos in the "KoAloha's KoAlana line refreshed" thread where he picks over the very top of the soundhole.

<edit> I should add that I always use a strap to keep the uke in the preferred position.
 
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Generally, my hand, fingers, and thumb "float" above the strings, although I do tend to anchor my little finger on the fretboard. I know I shouldn't do it, but sometimes the hand has a mind of its own! One issue it has created is a shiny spot on the soundboard of my KoAloha concert, where my finger has gradually polished the satin finish. It looks odd, but it plays fine so I don't care much.
 
I think I do pretty much everything that’s been mentioned so far at some point or another 🤣

I’m definitely guilty of occasionally anchoring my little finger (or pinky). To be honest, as long as I’m not doing anything that might strain my hand and I’m happy with the end result it doesn’t bother me too much how I’m achieving it.
 
Lol, I had to try an arpeggio to see where my fingers are when plucking. Looks like they're floating above but near the strings. (I use my thumb for the 4th and 3rd strings, index for the 2nd and middle for the 1st string.) Had to look again.
So I guess my take away is to do it whatever way you're comfortable with so you can do it without thinking about what you're doing. If that makes any sense.
Thank you for trying out to be sure where your finger placements are, @kkimura ! I tried floating my fingers but I may take several quick looks to see if I'm back at the right strings.

Well, I believe you're right. My finger placements above are my comfort zone.. anything else feels awkward for me.

Because my thumb is one of the picking fingers, I do not anchor either. My forearm's contact with the lower body is the anchor, leaving the hand free to move as necessary. I try not to pick over the fretboard end, but always go back there for best tone.

Watch the demos in the "KoAloha's KoAlana line refreshed" thread where he picks over the very top of the soundhole.
I tried to only rely on my arms securing the body, but it doesn't feel stable yet. Maybe with more practice it'll feel better.

I watched the video you highlighted.. I too do not pick over the soundhole. Is it better to pick atop the soundhole?

Generally, my hand, fingers, and thumb "float" above the strings, although I do tend to anchor my little finger on the fretboard. I know I shouldn't do it, but sometimes the hand has a mind of its own! One issue it has created is a shiny spot on the soundboard of my KoAloha concert, where my finger has gradually polished the satin finish. It looks odd, but it plays fine so I don't care much.
Wow, Larry.. then I guess you found the sweet spot for your finger placement! I am still trying to see what works. My fingerpicking movements are not steady enough so I need to use the top body of the uke to balance on.

I think I do pretty much everything that’s been mentioned so far at some point or another 🤣

I’m definitely guilty of occasionally anchoring my little finger (or pinky). To be honest, as long as I’m not doing anything that might strain my hand and I’m happy with the end result it doesn’t bother me too much how I’m achieving it.
😆😆 well I guess you can say you've exhausted all placements. I guess you're right Victoria. I hope to find the equilibrium soon. As for me right now, everything feels odd and out of place. As a strummer.. fingerpicking is like the most hated subject I had wanted to avoid in school.
 
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I plant my pinky and ring finger on the soundboard, depending which notes I am picking, either my thumb rests on the 4th string or floats in anticipation for the next note or the middle finger rests on the first string, but the index finger always floats when not picking. I very rarely pick with my ring finger.
 
If you are sitting down when playing, then planting your fingers isn't that useful since your ukulele is already planted against your body. If you are standing, then resting your thumb against the edge of the fretboard or against the G-string can be useful when picking with your other fingers. Also, resting your unused fingers against the bottom of the ukulele when picking with your thumb is common. These 2 kids are pretty good players; you can watch what they do.
 
While I like to strum above the fretboard I can't do that for picking and I place the picking fingers over the soundhole. Sometimes when muting is required I rest the palm on the bridge for that. When I started out I rested the pinky, but now most of the time the hand floats freely.
 
If you are sitting down when playing, then planting your fingers isn't that useful since your ukulele is already planted against your body. If you are standing, then resting your thumb against the edge of the fretboard or against the G-string can be useful when picking with your other fingers. Also, resting your unused fingers against the bottom of the ukulele when picking with your thumb is common. These 2 kids are pretty good players; you can watch what they do.

Taimane must have had a stainless steel nail grafted to her thumb. She blows my mind. Jake's not bad, either. :D
 
Google “ Beginning fingerpicking ukulele “ and choose some videos for guidance
 
When you are plucking the strings.. where do you "place" the rest of your fingers that are not currently plucking?

For eg, when I am using fingers I, M, A.. I realise I have a tendency to place my P thumb at the side of the fretboard.

And when I am plucking with my P thumb, my M & A fingers tend to rest on the body of the uke.

While finger picking my pinky finger rests lightly on the soundboard, which is plenty enough to anchor the hand.

The free thumb and fingers hover a quarter inch above the strings.

Eyes are focused in the strings and not the fretboard.

Fingers follow the eyes which means no contact with the sides of the fretboard.

Cheers.
 
I don't play sul tasto as you do. Since I play over the soundhole, sometimes I will plant my pinky to the right of the soundhole and sometimes all the fingers just float. I'm not very dogmatic about it.
I'm going to try the pinky method to see how it feels!

I plant my pinky and ring finger on the soundboard, depending which notes I am picking, either my thumb rests on the 4th string or floats in anticipation for the next note or the middle finger rests on the first string, but the index finger always floats when not picking. I very rarely pick with my ring finger.
Ahh.. okay I guess the placements are very much suited to different comfort levels.

If you are sitting down when playing, then planting your fingers isn't that useful since your ukulele is already planted against your body. If you are standing, then resting your thumb against the edge of the fretboard or against the G-string can be useful when picking with your other fingers. Also, resting your unused fingers against the bottom of the ukulele when picking with your thumb is common. These 2 kids are pretty good players; you can watch what they do.

I do sit when I play.. despite my ukulele nicely positioned, my fingers still feels awkward. Perhaps because I just started fingerpicking. I'm not used to the selective movements of the fingers across the strings. 🤭

While I like to strum above the fretboard I can't do that for picking and I place the picking fingers over the soundhole. Sometimes when muting is required I rest the palm on the bridge for that. When I started out I rested the pinky, but now most of the time the hand floats freely.
Did you feel like there was more space/flexibility when you pick over the soundhole? Just curious! Ah.. okay I guess gradually the fingers will relax, eh?

Google “ Beginning fingerpicking ukulele “ and choose some videos for guidance
Thank you, and I will!

While finger picking my pinky finger rests lightly on the soundboard, which is plenty enough to anchor the hand.

The free thumb and fingers hover a quarter inch above the strings.

Eyes are focused in the strings and not the fretboard.

Fingers follow the eyes which means no contact with the sides of the fretboard.

Cheers.
Ahh... thank you so much for sharing.. I roughly have an idea how you do it. Perhaps I will try your method too and see what works!
 
Oh thank you for sharing this, Amie! Didn't realize she has a video on this!
I find that after I've watched someone's right hand technique for a while, I need to position myself in a mirror to see if I can emulate their techniques. I'm still working on it!!
 
I find that after I've watched someone's right hand technique for a while, I need to position myself in a mirror to see if I can emulate their techniques. I'm still working on it!!
Good luck on that, Amie! I'm sure you will pick it up just fine!
 
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