Using Your Thumb to Fingerpick Your Ukulele - dummies

Using Your Thumb to Fingerpick Your Ukulele

By Alistair Wood

In alternate picking, you fingerpick your ukulele with your thumb. This method may be confusing grammatically but sounds nice on your uke. Be prepared, though: Your thumb really gets a workout.

In alternate picking, you alternate between picking the g- and C-strings of your ukulele. You can pick the g-string first or the C-string first, both of which you can hear in the alternate picking audio clip. You can see the notation here:


This picking pattern gets pretty repetitive, so when you feel comfortable, you can fancy it up by adding notes in between. For example:

  • Use your index finger to pluck the E-string and your middle finger to pick the A-string.

  • Make a more intricate sound by alternating the strings you play with your fingers as well as your thumb.

You can even pick notes with your fingers at the same time as you’re picking with your thumb!