single-note picking


When plucking, the fingers of the strumming hand move independently over the strings of the ukulele and not as in strumming all at the same time. As a result, strings can be targeted for melodies, chords without arpeggio and polyphonic passages without chords and legato techniques such as hammer-on and pull-off.

In the early history of the ukulele picking was uncommon because the instrument was mainly used for accompaniment. Many early melodic tunes suggested that every note was played as a chord, which could be done without plucking (see strumming). Only the adoption of guitar techniques changed this decisively.

Picking is divided into flatpicking and fingerpicking.


Plucking only with the pick. In the case of the ukulele, however, the pick is little used.

Fingerpickingfinger picking フィンガー・ピッキング

The fingers of the strumming hand are each assigned a specific string of the ukulele.

To pluck only the thumb is used. It is the simplest form of plucking. This makes it easier to realize tremolos and playing on one; however, arpeggios, polyphony and fast play are less easy.

The unused fingers float freely and as stretched as possible over the strings, lie under the body, or little finger and/or ring finger are propped up below the sound hole.

Adrien Janiak: Salarosa (2014)
Janiak combines flatpicking with rasgueado and dedillo-like strokes at the highest level. Note the length of the thumb nail of the right hand!
Zweifingerpickingtwo finger pickingツーフィンガーピッキング

Thumb and index finger are used. The thumb plays on the 3rd and 4th, the index finger on the 1st and 2nd string.

Gordon Mark: Stranger in Paradise (2011)
At 0:30, Mark also starts rasgueado.
Dreifingerpickingthree finger picking スリーフィンガー・ピッキング

In this technique, ring finger and little finger are not used, the thumb is responsible for two strings. This corresponds to fingering in classical guitar playing.

Katie DeNure: Easy Fingerpicking Exercises (2018)
Herman Vandecauter: Schmitt Courante (2011)
Mark Knopfler: Fingerpicking on Guitars (2017)
Vierfingerpickingfour finger picking フォーフィンガー・ピッキング

In this technique, the little finger is not used. Four finger picking brings advantages in picking patterns that go over all four strings.

Andrew Hardel: Four finger picking exercise (2017)

For the technique of plucking see plucking method.