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Let’s Learn Finger Picking on Ukulele

Hey there, my fellow ukulele enthusiasts! Have you ever wanted to learn how to play the ukulele with the finger picking technique? It’s a great way to expand your playing skills and impress your friends with your sweet sounding melodies. If you already know how to strum your ukulele and want to move on to finger picking, then you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing some tips and tricks on how to get started with finger picking on your ukulele. So, grab your instrument and let’s get started!

Learn some basic finger picking patterns

Before you start finger picking, it’s important to learn some basic finger picking patterns. One of the most common finger picking patterns is the “Travis picking” pattern. This pattern involves using the thumb to play the bass notes and the other three fingers to play the melody. Once you’ve mastered this pattern, you can move on to more complex finger picking patterns.

Start slow and gradually increase your speed

When practicing finger picking, start slow and gradually increase your speed. This way, you can focus on playing the notes accurately and smoothly before increasing your speed. It’s better to play a song at a slower tempo and get it right, rather than play it fast and make mistakes.

Practice with a metronome

Another helpful tip is to practice finger picking with a metronome. A metronome will help you keep a steady tempo and develop a sense of timing. You can start with a slow tempo and gradually increase the speed as you get more comfortable with the finger picking pattern.

Experiment with different finger picking styles

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different finger picking styles. There are many different finger picking styles that you can use to create different sounds and moods. For example, you can use arpeggios, tremolos, or harmonics to create different textures and tones.

Choose a song and practice regularly

Finally, choose a song that you want to play with the finger picking technique and practice it regularly. This will help you develop muscle memory and make the finger picking technique more natural and fluid. Remember, consistency is the key to mastering any musical instrument.

Introduction to Fingerpicking for Ukulele PDF

Here is the PDF that I’m using with my group Tigard Ukulele Group to learn finger picking:

Introduction to Finger Picking

If you’re looking to elevate your ukulele playing to the next level, it’s time to give finger picking a try. While strumming is definitely a staple technique for the ukulele, finger picking allows you to add a new dimension of depth and complexity to your playing. By using your fingers to pluck individual strings, you can create a more intricate melody and syncopated rhythm that really brings your songs to life. It might take a bit of practice to get the finger placement just right, but stick with it and you’ll soon find yourself creating beautiful music that you never thought was possible before.

String Numbering

The standard numbering system for ukulele strings is GCEA, with the G string (near your head) as string number 4 and the A string as string number 1 (near your waist).

C Chord

To Play the C chord, use your ring finger to push the highest string on the third fret.

Finger Picking Patterns

4 3 2 1

3 4 3 4

  2   2

1 1

3 4 2 1

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Play the C chord with the finger picking patterns above


The itsy-bitsy spider

Climbed up the water spout

Down came the rain

And washed the spider out

Out came the sun

And dried up all the rain

And the itsy-bitsy spider

Climbed up the spout again

Best Slow Finger Picking Songs

For the jam with my group, the 6 easy slow finger picking songs I picked was:

  1. Ain’t No Sunshine
  2. Both Sides Now
  3. Can’t Help Falling In Love
  4. If You Could Read My Mind
  5. The Circle Game
  6. Wonderful Tonight


So, there you have it, some quick tips on how to get started with finger picking on your ukulele. Remember, finger picking takes practice, patience, and persistence. But with these tips, you’ll be able to develop your skills and improve your playing in no time. So, grab your ukulele and start finger picking today!

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