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    Ukulele Finger Picking 101 - Wipe Out!!

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The drills we have been doing in the advanced uke lessons have focussed completely on the hand that is doing the finger-picking. Now, we are going to get the other hand involved, and do something that actually counts as playing your ukulele. This phrase is exactly the same as the previous exercise in terms of what your picking hand does, but your other hand will be fretting the strings, on the frets as shown in the tab diagram:

If this is your first exposure to "tabs" or "tablature", then you may not know what the numbers in the circles are - those are the fret numbers where you will press the string with your non-picking hand. For example, if the circle has a 3 in it, you press the string at the third fret. For this example, I recommend using the index finger on the 3rd fret, the middle finger on the 4th, and the ring finger on the 5th - it will be easiest that way. Repeat the phrase over and over to achieve a semblance to the song.


If you find this really, really, insanely difficult, then you need to spend some more time with the previous exercise. If you keep on practicing with your picking hand until it becomes easy, second-nature, even, this phrase, and every other phrase you will ever try to play, will become much easier.

Try to "decode" the simple tablature above. When you start trying to play it, go slow - really slow - so slow it won't even really sound like a song yet. And then speed it up. And up, and soon you'll hear the song in your head, as your fingers do what you have been training them to do...

Here's a little snippit of me playing the exercise, pretty fast:

But don't be discouraged if it doesn't happen quickly! Finger-picking is a difficult skill, most people who play stringed instruments, especially ukuleles, never learn to finger pick. If you practice for a little while, almost every day, and break the finger-picking down into it's smaller parts as I show you to do here, you will be able to do it in days or weeks, as opposed to months or years. So, if you don't catch on in a matter of minutes or hours, definitely do not be discouraged. Keep at it - it won't take long - and it's SO worth the time and trouble!

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