A pick or plectrum is a pad (often triangular or teardrop shaped) made of natural material (horn, bone), plastic or solid felt, which is used to stroke the strings of an ukulele. There are different strengths such as “light”, “medium” and “heavy”; the thinner the pick, the thinner the tone.

The plectrum is held between thumb and index finger of the strumming hand so that its lower third is visible and the vertex touches the string. The plectrum should be kept as loose as possible without any effort.

The best position for the stroke is between the end of the sound hole and the bridge. The stroke is created by moving the wrist.

The use of the pick is intended to

However, it will make it harder to hold the ukulele because control of the body by the strumming hand is lost. It is therefore advisable to use a strap while standing or to use a foot rest to elevate the leg on which the ukulele rests so far that the ukulele rests firmly on the hip.

The ukulele, with its original gut strings, was created to be played by hand. This is not only one of the main features distinguishing it from one of its metal-stringed predecessors, the cavaquinho, but is also a key factor in its historic and celebrated accessibility: You don't need any accessories to play it. Soft felt picks, which give a similar tone quality as using fingers, are sometimes used for performing more intricate or virtuosic work, but are not needed for beginner strumming and picking. Again, if a student presents with a special need that makes the use of a pick the only way s/he can play the ukulele, then (and only then) it is entirely appropriate to teach the use of a pick from the beginning.1)


Peter Luongo: Picking Technique (2019)

Peter Luongo: Picking Technique (2019)

Stefano Rizzo: Minor swing ukulele solo lesson (2013)

Bèo dạt mây trôi (2014)

Sample picks
Holding a pick