Do you use a pick with a ukulele? When learning how to play the ukulele, one of the most important questions most beginners ask is how to use the right-hand technique. It is because, depending on the style of playing, the sound that the instrument produces relies on how well is your right-hand method.
Although the traditional way of playing the uke combines your fingernails and fingers, you may still need a pick to play it. While it’s not necessary, you can use it at times. Read on to learn more.
Do You Use a Pick With a Ukulele?
The first known players of the uke were not allowed to use a pick. Instead, they combined their fingers and fingernails to pluck the strings. This traditional technique is similar to how Hawaiian rhythms sound. For instance, the conventional strumming method uses the index and thumb combination.
This technique, known as fingerpicking, allows for various movements and gestures that are impossible with the conventional method. It also produces a distinct sound that’s different from the pick. The main features of this technique are what we’ve come to know as the usual sound and style of the uke.
You don’t need a pick if you are a stickler for tradition. However, if you have issues with hand strength or fingerpicking skills, you might need to consider using a pick.
When Can You Use a Pick to Play the Ukulele?
As musicians, we are constantly pushing the envelope and trying new sounds. We are also naturally curious about what’s next in terms of technology. There have been many musical instruments that have gone through various evolutions over the years.
One of the most widespread musical instruments that have gone through various evolutions is the use of the pick. Due to the instrument’s versatility, it has become a popular choice for pop and rock songs. Some singer-songwriters play the instrument and accompany themselves with the music. The pick adds to create a beautiful and unique sound.
In some Ukulele groups, multiple players play with a pick. It lets them form a unique sound and makes the music exciting and interesting. Using all the instruments’ possibilities to create a unique sound is also a great idea.
There are practical reasons why people often choose to use a pick. For instance, if your fingernails are weak, you might want to use one if you have thin nails that produce a metallic sound. It could be a fantastic option if you don’t like the sound of traditional nails. People who have frequently broken or damaged their fingernails often find it frustrating to practice with them for a long time. It will take a bit of time to get them back to health.
How to Select the Perfect Ukulele Pick?
When choosing a pick, remember that the uke is a light instrument and does not need a heavy pick. A thin pick is ideal for playing rhythm, as it allows you to keep your wrist relaxed and control the movement of the instrument. A thin pick also produces a lovely strumming sound when playing chords.
If you plan on using a hard-to-strummed instrument, such as the uke with complex strings, you might want to pick a heavier one. The standard felt pick is also ideal for the baritone model.
After all, the pick is the one that you like best. This article will give you a few tips on picking the right one and will also help you try out different models. Before you start playing, make sure you are comfortable with the pick. Having fun with it will allow you to learn what you like and don’t.
There are so many different shapes that it’s hard to choose just one that fits your needs best. However, the choice is between the sharp points and the rounder points. The former produces a brighter tone and is ideal for soloing, while the latter is more suitable for strumming.
These picks come from thin, medium, heavy, and extra-heavy materials. The thin picks are ideal for performing light and bright tones, while the thick ones are ideal for faster playing.
Besides plastic, try out other materials such as felt and rubber. While plastic is famous for making musical instruments, Experts suggest using felt for its durability and soft and slightly more authentic sound. On the other hand, rubber picks are more likely to wear out quickly, so you might want to utilize them for specific occasions.
Read also: Best Wood For Ukulele
Finger and Thumb Picks
These are made from durable materials and are very special because you can wear them on your fingers if you are a fingerpicking fan but cannot grow strong nails.
Are There Advantages of Using Ukulele Picks?
Some styles require a strong attack and picking, but most of the time, these are unnecessary. Instead, you can perform them with your fingers. For instance, in Gypsy jazz, the style known as the pomp style is an excellent example of how to reproduce a more potent attack using the fingers.
One of the most common styles built around a pick is bluegrass picking. This style is known for its strong attack and playing style. In other words, it is hard to separate the use of a pick from the sound. For instance, this style’s faster staccato and strum rhythm styles combine well with the more fluid and staccato melody of the other types.
Despite the advantages of using a pick, using fingers is better than using a pick in certain styles. For instance, in a manner known as the la pomp style, you can produce a quick and powerful song drive by adjusting your technique. There are slight differences between the styles, but the sound produced by fingers is more suitable for the uke.
Read also: Ukulele Sizes – Different Ukulele Size and Scale Length Guides
Is a Uke Pick Similar to a Guitar Pick?
There are various dedicated pick types for the Uketo, but you don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to these if you want something more suited to your playing style. My advice would be to try and find a music store that has a selection of these.
Many guitarists prefer the rigidity of picking materials from various hard materials, such as metal, bone, and plastic. It applies to acoustic and electric guitar picks, though not exclusively to steel-stringed instruments. For instance, when it comes to electric steel-stringed Ukes, the strings are the same but have a different scale length.
Do you use a pick with a ukulele? You have the option of whether or not to use a pick. You’ll have to consider the various factors that affect your choices, such as the style of music that you play. Also, consider your experience with the instrument and the differences between playing with fingers and with a pick. Learning to play with fingers can lead to a more versatile player, but it can also take longer to master the technique.
Although picking is integral to specific musical styles, such as rock or blues, it is also popular in other techniques, such as folk, Latin, and even jazz. Learning to use a pick and a finger is crucial to achieving the sound you want to play. There are no right or wrong techniques, just the right ones for you. You can try out different techniques and pick styles to find the one that works for you.