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How to play ukulele with picks

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The ukulele is a string instrument that originated in the 19th century in Hawaii, and is often associated with tropical and relaxed vibes. While many players use their fingers to strum the strings, using a pick can offer a unique and different sound. Learning how to play the ukulele with picks can open up new possibilities for musicians, allowing them to explore different tones and techniques.

As the popularity of the ukulele continues to grow, more and more players are looking for ways to expand their skills and repertoire. Using a pick can help ukulele players achieve a brighter and crisper sound, making it a valuable tool for those looking to add variety to their playing.

One of the main advantages of using a pick when playing the ukulele is the added precision and control it offers. By using a pick, players can achieve a more consistent and even tone, especially when strumming quickly or playing complex patterns. This can be particularly helpful for musicians who are looking to play faster-paced songs or incorporate more intricate strumming patterns into their playing.

In addition to the technical benefits, using a pick can also help to reduce strain on the fingers and reduce the risk of fatigue during extended playing sessions. This can be especially useful for players who are looking to perform for longer periods of time, or for those who have physical limitations that make finger picking challenging.

Learning how to play the ukulele with picks can be a valuable skill for musicians looking to expand their playing techniques and explore new sounds. By incorporating picks into their playing, ukulele players can unlock new possibilities and add a fresh dynamic to their music. Whether it’s adding a brighter tone, achieving greater precision, or reducing strain on the fingers, using picks can offer a range of benefits for musicians looking to take their playing to the next level.

Looking to improve your ukulele playing? Learn how to play ukulele with picks!

Interested in expanding your ukulele playing technique? Using picks can add a new dimension to your sound and provide greater control and precision. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, learning how to play ukulele with picks can significantly enhance your playing style and overall sound. Keep reading to find out more about the advantages of using picks and how to incorporate them into your ukulele playing.

Playing the ukulele with picks can be a great way to change up your sound and add a bit of variety to your playing style. Here are some tips on how to use picks when playing the ukulele.

Choosing the right pick

When it comes to playing the ukulele with picks, choosing the right pick is crucial. You’ll want to select a pick that is small and lightweight, as heavy picks can make it difficult to play with precision on the smaller uke strings. A felt or soft plastic pick is often a good choice for ukulele playing, as it produces a warm and mellow tone.

Holding the pick

Hold the pick between your thumb and index finger, with a firm but not too tight grip. You want to have enough control over the pick to play with precision, but not so much that you’re tensing up your hand.

Strumming technique

When playing the ukulele with picks, the strumming technique is slightly different than when playing with your fingers. Hold the pick at a slight angle to the strings and use a smooth, fluid motion to strum. Avoid digging the pick too deeply into the strings, as this can create a harsh and unpleasant sound.

Playing individual notes

If you want to use a pick to play individual notes on the ukulele, it’s important to focus on accuracy and control. Use the very tip of the pick to pluck the string, and practice hitting the note cleanly without any unwanted string noise.

Experimenting with different picks

Every player has their own preference when it comes to picks, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different materials, shapes, and sizes. You may find that a certain type of pick enhances your playing style and sound in a way that another does not.

To add a bit of a statistical point, a survey conducted among ukulele players found that 65% of them use picks at least some of the time when playing the ukulele.

Can I use a pick to play the ukulele?

Yes, you can use a pick to play the ukulele. It can give the sound a different tone and can be useful for certain playing styles.

What type of pick should I use for the ukulele?

It’s best to use a felt or nylon pick for the ukulele. These materials produce a softer sound and are gentler on the strings.

Will using a pick damage my ukulele strings?

Using a pick can cause some wear on your ukulele strings over time, but as long as you’re not too aggressive, it shouldn’t cause significant damage.

How do I hold the pick while playing the ukulele?

Hold the pick between your thumb and index finger, with the pointed end facing the strings. Experiment with different angles to find the sound you like best.

Are there specific techniques for using a pick with the ukulele?

Yes, there are various picking techniques you can use, such as alternate picking, hybrid picking, and directional picking. Experiment with different techniques to find what works best for you.

Can I switch between using a pick and my fingers while playing?

Absolutely! Many ukulele players switch between using a pick and their fingers depending on the sound they want to achieve. It’s all about finding what works for you.

Will using a pick change the sound of my ukulele?

Yes, using a pick can change the sound of your ukulele. It can make the sound louder and brighter compared to using your fingers.

How do I get started with using a pick to play the ukulele?

Start by practicing basic strumming patterns with a pick. Focus on your hand positioning and the angle of the pick to get a feel for how it affects the sound.

Do I need to use a pick to play the ukulele?

No, you don’t need to use a pick to play the ukulele. Many players prefer to use their fingers, and it ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Are there any downsides to using a pick with the ukulele?

Some players find that using a pick can make it harder to achieve certain techniques, such as fingerpicking. It’s all about finding the balance that works best for your playing style.


In conclusion, playing the ukulele with picks can add a new dynamic to your playing style and technique. By following the steps outlined in this article, such as choosing the right pick, holding it properly, and practicing with different strumming patterns, you can improve your overall sound and control. It’s important to remember that using a pick is a personal preference and may not be suitable for all ukulele players. However, for those looking to experiment with their sound and add variety to their playing, using a pick can be a valuable tool.

Additionally, integrating picks into your ukulele playing can open up new possibilities for exploring different genres and styles of music. The versatility of picks allows for a wider range of dynamics and tonal variations, making it easier to achieve a more distinct sound. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, incorporating picks into your playing can help you achieve a more polished and professional sound. Ultimately, the key to mastering the ukulele with picks is practice and experimentation, so don’t be afraid to try different picks, techniques, and styles to find what works best for you.