I can't have a longer nail due to works, should I try getting a pick?

Revano

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Hello, beginner here. I just started practicing ukulele for about a month. Well, until recently I was able to grow my nail out a bit on my strumming hand, but a few days ago I had to cut them off because of work. After that, realized that strumming became exponentially more difficult (I use index finger) and I really don't like how it sounds.

Since I can't really afford to grow a longer nail (even a little bit), I figure maybe I can try some alternative like getting a pick (I thought getting one that you put on your finger could emulate something like a nail), but I want to hear input from more experienced people here first. Is it worth getting one now? Or should i just try to gitgud without nail? If it's worth it, could anyone recommend the kind of pick i should get as a beginner?

For extra context, I'm currently playing a wood concert ukulele with a nylon string.
 
There are lots of picks available. You can easily make your own with scissors and a bit of plastic. Most people like a thin flexible pick but some like stiff. I use an Alaska pick that fits over the finger.
 
I don’t have long nails (just can’t grow them) and strum with my forefinger. I’ve found that my fingertips on the strumming hand have toughened up over time similar to my fingertips on my fretting hand. The sound is good to my ears and I am able to get nice dynamics and even angle in to add a little of my stumpy nails for emphasis.

So… if you get frustrated with picks, try using fingertips too and see how you like it as they toughen up.
 
No
 
There are many techniques that people use to strum. You can explore them to see if one or more work for you.

I know very few people that use a pick for strumming (I actually use a thumb pick for fingerstyle). It is one more technique if others do not work for you. But having a pick engaging the thumb and forefinger will make fingerstyle much more difficult.

Find what works best for you. And then later on, it is okay to change as you gain experience.
 
I like the tactile feel of a finger and/or nail on the strings and with a pick I feel like I'm kind of detached and less in control of the sound. I keep my nails normal/short and strum with my index finger. I find that if I strum with my finger bent and perpendicular to the strings I can play with my nail even though it is short. If I extend (straighten) my finger a bit from that position I can play with both the fingertip and nail and if I extend a bit further I can play with the fleshy tip of my finger. Each approach produces a slightly different sound and volume. Experiment a bit and I think you'll find you can still play with a short nail.
 
You could try a pick. They are cheap, not much lost there. But odds are that you will prefer not to.
If you experience with angling your finger to strum with the ball or side or, more likely brush the strings with the outside of your finger so you can still hit the strings with your nails, you will most likely find a technique that you like better than using the pick.
But dont we all have some picks in a drawer and never use them?

Once I even bought some of those to put on the fingertips. They are not easy to use, and only gather dust.
 
One possibility is Alaska Piks (check Amazon). They’re plastic, removable, fit over your fingertip, and can be shaped with a nail trimmer to fit your specs.
 
One possibility is Alaska Piks (check Amazon). They’re plastic, removable, fit over your fingertip, and can be shaped with a nail trimmer to fit your specs.
I've done Alaska Piks, but they still sound plastic-y and there's no tactile feedback. I wished I liked them better. Some strings file right through my nails.
 
I use picks on steel string guitars, but for little ukulele with synthetic strings fingers are much more versatile. You don't need long nails at all those are for advanced virtuoso players. Using short nail for downstrums and tips of fingers for picking and up strums works well for me and for 1000s of other players.
 
I don't use picks for strumming, but have experimented with them for melody picking. Phil Doleman is a well respected British ukulele teacher. In this video, he discusses using picks for both strumming and picking.
 
I don’t have long nails (just can’t grow them) and strum with my forefinger. I’ve found that my fingertips on the strumming hand have toughened up over time similar to my fingertips on my fretting hand. The sound is good to my ears and I am able to get nice dynamics and even angle in to add a little of my stumpy nails for emphasis.

So… if you get frustrated with picks, try using fingertips too and see how you like it as they toughen up.
Hi Revano, I will chime in here in agreement with Plonky-tonk. I would suggest that you give it a few weeks with the really short nail on that index finger, and I think you'll grow to like it. That has in fact been my experience (although I realize that others have had pleasing results with picks).
 
You could experiment with wrapping your fingertip with medical tape. You might get your strings messy if the adhesive starts being exposed, but If you wrap the tip a lot, the structure will help.
I have done this when I've had a hangnail and picked up the idea from playing congas.
 
I've been working on the fingerstyle lessons for the past week- and index finger based strimming and I'm finding that practice really does make a difference. I can get a lot more and more consistent sound with the sides of my fingers after 20 hours of play
 
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