1/24/18

Beginning Fingerstyle Ukulele Made Easy - First Fingerstyle Lesson


Here are some of the basics of fingerstyle presented for beginners.

Here are some of the basics of fingerstyle presented for beginners.    This lesson should be mastered before attempting any of my fingerstyle arrangements.

This lesson should be mastered before attempting any of my fingerstyle arrangements.



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Before attempting this lesson, the following lesson must be mastered:

Are you holding the ukulele wrong? Avoid there 5 mistakes

Right hand technique overview


In ukulele playing you'll find two approaches to right hand fingering, you can use your thumb and three fingers or your thumb and two fingers.

In Classical guitar you have 6 strings and the thumb is used for the bottom 3 strings and you first three fingers are used for the remaining 3 strings, with one finger assigned to each string.

With the Blugrass banjo you have five strings and you typically use a your thumb and two fingers. The only exception being if you play a classical arrangement on the banjo you might use your thumb and 3 fingers.

The ukulele is like a classical guitar in some ways and like a banjo in some ways. Since you have 4 strings it makes the most since and works best to primarily use the thumb and two fingers with exceptions being in more complicated pieces or passages.

Try it with two fingers!


Holding the ukulele, with proper right hand position you'll find here, rest your thumb and 2 fingers on  strings 3, 2 and 1 as shown below.

Beginning Fingerstyle Ukulele Made Easy - First Fingerstyle Lesson

With your fingers still resting on the strings do the following - exercise 1:

  1. Gently move your thumb downward to pluck string three
  2. Gently move your first finger upwards to pluck the second string
  3. Gently move your second finger upwards to pluck the first string  
Put you fingers back on the strings and try it again.

Add dynamics and volume


To add volume simply try the exercise above but push on the string a little.

Put your fingers on the strings like you did above and try this - exercise 2:

  1. Push down on the strings just a little
  2. Now push down a little harder

The harder you push on the strings before plucking them, the more volume you'll get when you play.

Pushing down just a little on the string do this - exercise 3:

  1. Move your thumb downward to pluck string three
  2. Move your first finger upwards to pluck the second string
  3. Move your second finger upwards to pluck the first string  
Now try the same thing but apply more pressure to the strings.

Try it with three fingers!


Now try it with the thumb and three fingers.

Beginning Fingerstyle Ukulele Made Easy - First Fingerstyle Lesson

Apply it


Naturally, when you're playing your fingers won't be resting on the strings. The above exercise is important to get the proper feel and to understand how to properly execute fingestyle playing.

For the next exercises:  Hold you hand just above the strings.

Beginning Fingerstyle Ukulele Made Easy - First Fingerstyle Lesson

Hold the ukulele like we learned here



Exercise 4:

  1. Play the same thing we did above in exercise 3, applying very little pressure
Exercise 5:

  1. Play the same thing we did above in exercise 3, applying more pressure

As you can see you can control the volume with some practice.

A look at the two approaches - recap 


In general, with exceptions, you'll use your index finger for the notes on the 2nd string, your middle finger for the notes on the 1st string and your thumb for the notes on the 3rd and 4th string.

In parts where one finger per string is necessary (three fingers and the thumb) the thumb and each or the three fingers gets it's own string.

The fingers are indicated to as follows in classical music and when written on sheet music:

In music notation you will notice fingering indicated with the following letters, rather than first finger and second finger:

First finger or index finger = i
Second finger or middle finger = m
Third finger or ring finger = a
Thumb = p


Play a song!


Now it's time to put what you've learned into practice.

UPDATE 6/27/2018:

Here is a video of this lesson and soe easy songs you and play right now!:

Easy fingerstyle ukulele video and two songs

Here's something more challenging:

Beginning Classical Ukulele: Lesson 1

Beginning Fingerstyle Ukulele Made Easy - First Fingerstyle Lesson

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