Saturday, March 27, 2010

Finger Picking Tutorial

This week I had a request from a friend about how to finger pick properly. So i figured I would post a simple Ukulele finger-picking technique along with some tips and tricks to make your picking faster and sound better too.

The beautiful thing about the Ukulele is that it only has four strings. This makes it really easy to begin playing, and although it can make some difficult progressions on guitar nearly impossible on the ukulele, for the most part, four strings is a good thing. Especially if your trying to learn how to pick.

  The Simple Pattern
The pattern your going to learn is the 1-4-2-3 pattern, and the simplicity of this one is going to blow your mind. But first things first. You're going to want to drop your right hand (assuming your right handed) down directly  above the sound hole. This is really where it should be anyways, but many Ukulele players tend to strum higher up on the fret board because of the small size of the instrument.  This will help you pick at the strings more easily because the strings are farther away from the ukulele here. Your left hand will be making chords of course, just like it would be if you were strumming.

The thing to remember with the Ukulele is that the strings are numbered from the bottom up, so the smallest (bottom) string is number 1, the next largest is number 2, and so on. 
With the 1-4-2-3 pattern you will pluck the strings in the order of the pattern to complete it.
 This is the case with all picking patterns and learning this now will help you a lot if you ever want to read and play Ukulele tabs in the future. 

For most picking patterns you will only need your first three fingers and as a general rule, your thumb owns the top two (G and C), your pointer finger will pick the next one down  (E), and your middle finger will pick the bottom string (A). I usually float my ring finger in the air and let it wiggle around how it likes while I pick, and my pinky finger tends to push down against my uke for support, but this is really just my personal preference and you may do it however it is comfortable.

If your playing the 1-4-2-3 pattern properly while the ukulele is open (no chord is being made)  you should be playing the strings in this order A-G-E-C. This wont sound pretty without a chord to pick, so a simple C chord is fine for learning.  Once the pattern is complete you just repeat it to sound the chord. To pick the chords of a normal song, you would change the chords of the song just like if you were strumming, and maintain the picking pattern with your fingers.

Put very simply, To play the 1-4-2-3 pattern, start by plucking the bottom string with your middle finger, then pluck the top string with your thumb, pluck the second string from the bottom with your pointer, and  finish by plucking the third string from the bottom with your thumb to end it. Repeat as necessary

 Okay, I know your not going to want to hear this, but the most important thing to need to remember in order to get good at picking is to practice, practice, practice. Simply picking slowly while you watch some TV, or setting aside twenty minutes or so for practicing a day will help your speed tremendously, and if you get frustrated, just play something else, and come back to it later.

If your have any questions  leave a comment below, and I'll help you out.

Stay Tuned


  1. thanks for the lesson. Does this work as well with a baritone or is there a different/better sequence for it?

  2. My name is Margie and I am trying very hard to learn how to do fingerpicking on my soprano uke. When I play the chords for a song how do I know what strings to fingerpick with the song. IS THERE one set or pattern to follow for the strings that can be played for many types of songs. I hope you can understand what I am trying to say. Thanks, hope U can help me out.

  3. Yes I am also in look for of Flash tutorials,
    as I would like to learn more on the topic of flash, so if you have please post it here.

    Here is my page

  4. What a pleasant YouTube video it is! Awesome,
    I loved it, and I am sharing this YouTube record with all my colleagues.

    Here is my homepage:

  5. Highly energetic blog, I liked that a lot.
    Will there be a part 2?

    Feel free to surf to my web page - website
    my page: website

  6. What’s up friends, you are sharing your opinion regarding web site Search engine optimization, I am
    also new user of web, therefore I am also getting more from it.
    Thanks to everything.

    My web blog:

  7. I keep listening to the news speak about getting free online grant
    applications so I have been looking around for the best site to get one.

    Visit my page ... website

  8. I every time spent my half an hour to read this blog’s
    posts daily along with a mug of coffee.

    my page ::

  9. Wow! this cartoon type YouTube video I have seen when I was in primary level and at the
    present I am in academy and watching that again here.

    Also visit my web blog; website

  10. Post writing is also a fun, if you be familiar with afterward you
    can write if not it is complicated to write.

    Look into my web-site;

  11. Actually picture is the presentation of some one’s feelings;
    it provides the lesson to the viewers.

    my website website
    Also see my webpage: website

  12. Your style is so unique compared to many other people.
    Thank you for publishing when you have the opportunity,Guess I will just make this bookmarked.

    Visit my web page ::
    My site :: website

  13. As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can help me.
    Thank you

    Feel free to visit my blog post ::

  14. Hi colleagues, is there any other fastidious blog related to
    JavaScript articles, while this one is good for PHP programming.

    Here is my homepage -

  15. Come on dude, these facts* and proof* i mean who is posting* lol :P

    Look at my homepage ::

  16. It’s remarkable to pay a visit this web site and reading
    the views of all colleagues regarding this piece of writing, while I am also keen of getting know-how.

    Feel free to visit my web blog:
    My webpage >

  17. I got this website from my buddy who told me concerning this web page and at
    the moment this time I am browsing this web site and reading very informative articles
    at this place.

    Also visit my blog post;

  18. I got so bored in the present day afternoon, but as
    soon as I watched this YouTube comical clip at this blog I turn into fresh and glad too.

    Here is my website -
    my webpage:

  19. If you are paying attention to learn Web optimization strategies
    then you should read this article, I am sure you will
    obtain much more from this article regarding Search engine marketing.

    Feel free to surf to my blog post ::

  20. What’s up friends, you are sharing your opinion regarding web site Search
    engine optimization, I am also new user of web, therefore I am also getting more from it.
    Thanks to everything.

    my website :: website

  21. Hello to all I can’t understand how to add your site in my rss reader.
    Help me, please

    Have a look at my web site

  22. found your site on today and really liked it.
    . i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later .


    Here is my page ... website

  23. I wish getting over a broken heart can be so easy as following a few steps.
    . but its not…

    Also visit my web page ::

  24. Nice post! GA is also my biggest earning. However,
    it’s not a much.

    My web-site

  25. Hello. Great job. I did not expect this on a Wednesday.
    This is a great story. Thanks!

    My blog post -

  26. Alex: Many gamers have a problem getting "friend zoned"
    with girls they like. He says that he heard about it two months
    ago and Stassi and Jax were together then. Your question also needs to be SIMPLE enough for her to respond without a ton of thought.

    My web site: Tao of Badass Review

  27. Thiѕ іs а topіc whіch is
    сlosе to my hеаrt... Τhanκ you!
    Whеrе aгe your contact details thοugh?

    Αlѕo vіѕit mу ρagе .

    .. get ripped abs fast workouts

  28. I thinκ the admin of this web pаge is in faсt working hard
    for hiѕ website, since heге every materіal is quality basеd stuff.

    my weblog

  29. This іs my fiгst time go to see at here and i am tгuly pleaѕsant
    to гead everthing аt alone place.

    Also viѕit my web pagе: john leonard pure leverage

  30. Hello there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this site?

    I'm getting fed up of Wordpress because I've had issues with hackers
    and I'm looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

    Feel free to surf to my site ::

  31. I pay a visit every day a few sitеs and blоgs to reaԁ сontent,
    howevеr thіs web sitе pгesents
    feature based articleѕ. Full Guide