SALE: Forever Site Access Memberhip for $149 $279 Get It Today! • An Annual Membershop is $81 a year. • Live Streaming Every Thursday 11AM EDT (-4 UTC)

News

Ukulele

Lessons

Series

Songs

Books

Videos

Ukes

Calendar

Access

Search

Fest 2020

About

Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering

Learn the six fingering principles to navigating the ukulele fingerboard.

PUBLISHED: Mar 15, 2006 UPDATED: Dec 31, 2019 • VIEWS: 140 • BOOK CODE: 6SUF

Instruments: ukulele Subjects: techniquefingerboardfingering

This Download is NOT part of your LearningUkulele.com membership level. Sign-up for a Site Access or Upgrade your current access level to download this PDF or your can purchase a copy for download.

Each PDF file is a formatted high resolution file that prints out great. You'll need Adobe Reader or a PDF viewing application to view your PDF file.

This book is also available as a
Printed Hard Copy

Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering

Product Code: 6SUF
Author(s): Curt Sheller, Chuck Anderson
Publisher(s): Curt Sheller Publications
Published: 2006-03-15 00:00:00
ISBN-10: 1-60321-041-5
ISBN-13: 978-1-60321-041-6
Size: 8.5 x 11
Size: 8.5 x 11
Pages: 42
Price, Hard Copy: $19.95
Price, PDF: $9

Learn the six fingering principles to navigating the ukulele fingerboard.

Introduction

Fingering is one of the most universal topics. Whether your style is Rock, Blues, Country, Jazz or Classical, these principles will improve your technique, your solos, even your sight reading.

Think of fingering as a series of pathways. When you learn to connect these pathways, there are benefits not only to technique but also to creativity. All fingering on the ukulele can be reduced to 6 principles of motion. Each principle has physical and musical characteristics that you can use to improve your playing.

Technically, fingering problems are linked to an instruments tuning. The characteristics of a tuning can force constant adjustments in fingering and contribute to the difficulty of learning the notes on the neck*. Note duplications, open strings and unequal tuning all contribute to the complexity of fingering. Since strings vary in diameter, notes produced on different strings vary in tone color. Generally, thicker strings produce warmer or darker tone color. Thinner strings produce a brighter or more cutting tone color.

This book is devoted to the application of the six principles of guitar fingering as applied to the ukulele. The study of fingering can be broken down into several topics of study. They are: position and technique, finger independence and strength and the principles of motion with their applications. The first step is a good hand position. Critical for technique, a good hand position eliminates the needless waste of effort and energy so typical of under developed fingering technique.

NOTE: The fingering principles in the books are suitable for ANY ukulele tuning.

Hand Position and Technique


Efficiency of motion and energy is the key to technique. The thumb should be flat against the back of the neck approximately under the first or second finger. The exact position varies with thumb, neck and hand size. The thumb pushes up against the neck while the fingers press down and poised above the strings, ready to move in any direction.

The four fingers span four frets, one finger per fret. By laying the first finger flat across all strings at the first fret or by playing the Bb7 chord at fret (1), the wrist naturally bends giving each finger equal access to all strings within a four fret span.


In playing single notes, place the finger just before the fret. Use enough pressure to get a clear tone but don’t over press. If a “buzzy” tone results, readjust your finger. Make sure that the tips of your fingers press the strings down straight without pushing or pulling the notes.

NOTE: The fourth finger will not be as arched as the other fingers because of its size and relative reach.

The fingering hand should not support the ukulele and needs to be free to move over the fingerboard.

The “high” thumb position has always been a controversial subject. If your thumb takes a “high” position, the finger span is reduced from four to three frets. You’ll need more movement and effort to play anything in the standard four fret position.

The “high” thumb position is often used as a leverage device for bends and vibratos in Blues and Rock music. It is an exceptional position and should not be be your fundamental position. Work to develop the low thumb position.

If you need to stand while playing and want to use the four fret span position, wear the ukulele high. In this way, you can easily reach the four fret span and there is little change in playing angle from a sitting to a standing position.

Finger Independence and Strength


The four fingers of the fingering hand need to function independently of each other. Strength, agility and control are necessary for great hands. Practice the following exercise:


  • Play the G# note - finger 1, string ④ fret (1)
  • Play the A note - finger 2, string ④ fret (2)
  • Play the A# note - finger 3, string ④ fret (3)
  • Play the B note - finger 4, string ④ fret (4)


Continue this pattern on each string. This exercise when played ascending, descending, forward and backward is an important first step in developing control of the four fingers in a four fret span. It’s also an essential step in synchronizing both hands. Keep the thumb in back of the neck at all times. Don’t lift the fingers unnecessarily high.

Why Buy My Books

How to pay for this book

Thanks for visiting LearningUkulele.com! I hope you’ve enjoyed the site so far. My site does not run ads. It’s supported by visitors, premium site members, and readers like you.

Short Answer

Because this book is only available directly through me (Curt Sheller), this site and at our Funky Frets family music store. It is the only way this book can earn its keep and its only source of revenue is visitors and site members like you. If you don’t pay, the book dies, gets no updates, etc…

Good news is you can become a Premium Site Member and get this book for FREE as part of your paid access.

Long Answer

I’m not a venture-funded startup nor a major corporation. I’m—a self-employed musician, author, teacher, graphic artist located in southeastern Pennsylvania, USA. And this web site, books, lessons, songs and content have been grinding along in one form or another along since 1995, the ukulele part has literally been a full time effort since 2003 - literally years of effort have gone into creating this content.

Making my books only available on this, my web site is an experiment in using the web as a serious book publishing platform. My goal is to take my music expertise and knowledge that I've gained from the past 40 plus years of serious study, research and application as a performer, student, author, private music teacher and make it available in your quest to be a better musician, enjoy the ukulele more or just having more fun in what you are doing.

I wanted to deliver and present this material with a high standard of quality typically associated with traditional printed, mass produced books by traditional publishers. While taking advantage of all the web has to offer.

All my, Curt Sheller books are the sole product, with 100% of, and all the effort, graphic design, site coding, content, marketing, fulfillment, etc... - by one person – yours truly. And with the help of a few trusted fellow musicians and friends to review before a book is released to wild.

Your purchase supports all that it takes to keep this site going. And, a membership is the best way to do that. I'll not do the Pateron or Kickstarter route for begging for money ( nothing against fellow artists that go that route - just not my cup-of-tea.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents: Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering

  • Introduction 5
  • Hand Position and Technique 9
  • Finger Independence and Strength 10
    • 4 Finger Combinations 11
    • 2 Finger Combinations 11
    • 3 Finger Combinations 11
  • Notes on the Fingerboard 12
  • Motion Principles and their Applications 13
    • Stationary 14
    • Mobile 14
  • Summary of Fingering Principles 17
  • Basic Applications of the Motion Principles 18
  • Priority of Motion Principles 19
  • Motion Principles - the Details 19
    • Basic 19
    • Slide 19
    • Pass 20
  • Ascending Passes 20
  • Descending Passes 21
    • Contraction 23
  • Ascending Pitch Contractions 23
    • Descending Position Changes - Same String 23
  • Descending Pitch Contractions 24
    • Ascending Position Changes - Same String 24
  • Ascending Pitch Contractions 25
    • Descending Position Changes - Cross String 25
  • Descending Pitch Contractions 25
    • Ascending Position Changes - Cross String 25
  • Stretch 27
  • Leap 29
  • Double Stop Fingering 30
    • Double Stops on Adjacent Strings 30
  • Non Adjacent Strings 31
    • Motion Principles Applied 33
  • Model One - Single Principle Solutions 34
    • Basic 34
    • Slide 34
    • Passing 34
    • Stretch 35
    • Contraction 35
    • Leap 35
  • Model Two - Combined Principle Solutions 35
    • Slide and Stretch 35
    • Passing and Slide 35
    • Contraction and Passing 36
    • Stretch and Contraction.36
    • Slide and Contraction.36
    • Passing and Leap 36
  • The Art and Science of Fingering 36
  • Reading 38
  • Improvisation 38
    • Phrasing 40
  • Conclusion 41

Errata: Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering

  • 21 JAN 2010 - Book updated and corrections made.

    Any owners of the book can e-mail curt@curtsheller.com for an updated version.

    Changes when made to a few of the examples.

  • 17 OCT 2003 - Book Released and Errata Log File Created

The latest download ( PDF or eBook ) always has the latest changes and errata changes incorporated and contain the most up-to-date version of the file. If you download the book from LearningUkulele.com you'll be notified when there is a new version of the book available.

Related Lessons

Related Lessons for Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering at this time.

Four Finger Slide Fingering Drills for Ukulele • Updated: Jun 23, 2014

Slide is used when the passage can not be played within a single 4 fret span or when more notes per string are needed to produce a particular effect. It’s also used in situations where a gradually ascending or descending diagonal motion best solves the physical and musical demands of the passage.

The following four finger gymnastics will aide in the development of the physical skills to effectively incorporate the slide fingering principle into your playing.

Four Finger-Four Note Basic Single String Fingering Drills for `Ukulele • Updated: Mar 20, 2020

To play the ukulele effectively, your fingers need physical strength, agility, flexibility and coordination. This four finger-four note drill is designed to get your hands in shape. These exercises work no matter what style of ukulele you play or want to play.

One Finger-One Note Basic Single String Fingering Drills for `Ukulele • Updated: May 17, 2019

To play the ukulele effectively, your fingers need physical strength, agility, flexibility and coordination. This one finger-one note drill is designed to get your fretting hand in shape.

Three Finger Slide Fingering Drills for `Ukulele • Updated: Jul 23, 2013

Slide is used when the passage can not be played within a single 4 fret span or when more notes per string are needed to produce a particular effect. It’s also used in situations where a gradually ascending or descending diagonal motion best solves the physical and musical demands of the passage.

The following three finger gymnastics will aide in the development of the physical skills to effectively incorporate the slide fingering principle into your playing.

Three Finger-Three Note Basic Single String Fingering Drills for `Ukulele • Updated: Jan 24, 2013

To play the ukulele effectively, your fingers need physical strength, agility, flexibility and coordination. This three finger-three note drill is designed to get your fretting hand in shape.

Two Finger Pass Fingering Drills for `Ukulele • Updated: Jul 23, 2013

Pass maximizes the number of notes per string, making the timbre consistent. It’s used to move up or down the neck to cope with a passage in which the range is unusually large. The pass provides an effective way to move straight up the first string. It’s particularly useful in developing 3 octave fingerings and in playing melodies with an adjacent drone stringy.

The two finger pass gymnastics in this lesson will aide in the development of the physical skills to effectively incorporate the pass fingering principle into your playing.

Two Finger Slide Fingering Drills for `Ukulele • Updated: Jul 23, 2013

Slide is used when the passage can not be played within a single 4 fret span or when more notes per string are needed to produce a particular effect. It’s also used in situations where a gradually ascending or descending diagonal motion best solves the physical and musical demands of the passage.

The following two finger gymnastics will aide in the development of the physical skills to effectively incorporate the slide fingering principle into your playing.

Two Finger-Two Note Basic Single String Fingering Drills for `Ukulele • Updated: Jan 17, 2020

To play the ukulele effectively, your fingers need physical strength, agility, flexibility and coordination. This two finger-two note drill is designed to get your hands in shape. These exercises work no matter what style of ukulele you play or want to play.

What Finger is What? • Updated: Mar 22, 2012

Just what are the fingers of the plucking and fretting hand called.

There can be a bit of confusion as to what the names and numbers of your fretting hand and the plucking or strumming hand are. Here are some of the common fingering notations I’ve encounter over the course of my studying ukulele and guitar.

Related Book Files, Resources and Assets

Related Assets for Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering at this time.

Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for C Tuning, Low or High G
Updated: May 11, 2019

Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for D Tuning, Low or High A
Updated: Dec 31, 2016

Ukulele Fingerboard Chart for G Tuning, Low or High D
Updated: Dec 31, 2016

Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering - Arpeggio Plus One Worksheet Example
Updated: Dec 31, 2016

Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering - Arpeggio Worksheet
Updated: Dec 31, 2016

Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering - Interval Worksheet
Updated: Dec 31, 2016

Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering - Scale Worksheet
Updated: Dec 31, 2016

Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering - Scale Worksheet Example
Updated: Dec 31, 2016

Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering - Sequence Worksheet
Updated: Dec 31, 2016

Related Books

Related Books for Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering at this time.

QuickStart Arpeggio Fingerings for Ukulele, C Tuning - Major Triad
Updated: Aug 16, 2019

A highly organized, efficient system of arpeggio fingerings for Major triads in C Tuning.

QuickStart Arpeggio Fingerings for Ukulele - Triads C Tuning
Updated: Jan 10, 2020

A highly organized, efficient system of scale and arpeggio fingerings for C tuning.

QuickStart Arpeggio Fingerings for Ukulele - Triads G Tuning
Updated: Sep 23, 2009

A highly organized, efficient system of arpeggio fingerings for G tuning.

QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Bass Guitar - Blues Scale
Updated: Mar 15, 2010

QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Lead Guitar - Blues Scale
Updated: Nov 24, 2009

One octave scale fingering solutions with the Blues scale.

QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Lead Guitar - Volume I
Updated: Jan 3, 2020

Six essential scales for Guitar.

QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Ukulele, C Tuning - Aeolian Scale
Updated: Dec 30, 2019

The Aeolian or Natural Minor is one of six essential scales for ALL ukulele players.

QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Ukulele, C Tuning - Blues Scale
Updated: Jul 1, 2019

The Blues or Minor Pentatonic is one of six essential scales for ALL ukulele players.

QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Ukulele, C Tuning - Diminished Scale
Updated: Aug 7, 2019

The Diminished scale is a traditional scale used in a wide variety of music.

QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Ukulele, C Tuning - Dorian Scale
Updated: Nov 24, 2009

The Dorian or Minor scale is one of six essential scales for ALL ukulele players.

QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Ukulele, C Tuning - Ionian Scale
Updated: Jul 30, 2019

The Ionian scale is a major scale more commonly known by its traditional name - Major.

QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Ukulele, C Tuning - Mixolydian Scale
Updated: Aug 6, 2019

The Mixolydian or Dominant is one of six essential scales for ALL ukulele players.

QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Ukulele, C Tuning - Pentatonic Scale
Updated: Jul 1, 2019

The Pentatonic or Major Pentatonic is one of six essential scales for ALL ukulele players.

QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Ukulele, C Tuning - WholeTone Scale
Updated: Jan 24, 2017

The Whole Tone scale is a traditional scale used in a wide variety of music.

QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Ukulele, Volume I, C Tuning
Updated: Jun 24, 2006

A highly organized, efficient system of scale fingerings for C tuning.

QuickStart Scale Fingerings for Ukulele, Volume I, D Tuning
Updated: Jun 1, 2006

Six essential scales for ukulele using D tuning.

QuickStartScale Fingerings for Tenor and Baritone Ukulele, Volume I, G Tuning
Updated: Jan 4, 2020

Six essential scales for G tuned ukuleles.

Six Secrets of Guitar Fingering
Updated: Sep 23, 2000

These principles will improve your technique, your solos, even your sight reading.

Related Songs

Related Songs for Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering at this time.

Any Song Will Do
Updated: Dec 7, 2015

When any song here can be used for the concepts in the lessons.

Related Lesson Series

Related Lessons Series for Six Secrets of Ukulele Fingering at this time.

Pass Gymnastics for Ukulele
Updated: Jan 1, 2003

Beyond the basic four fret fingering position, it's on to the remaining fingering principles for navigating the fingerboard. The second in the series is the Pass.

Slide Gymnastics for Ukulele
Updated: Jan 1, 2003

Beyond the basic four fret fingering position, it's on to the remaining fingering principles for navigating the fingerboard. The first in the series is the Slide.

Site Access Plans for LearningUkulele.com

Forever Access - With Forever Premium Access, you get Unlimited 24/7 access to ALL lessons, downloads, songs, play-along jam tracks, videos, email access to Curt, resources, related assets, and ALL books by Curt as FREE downloads. Pretty much everything on the site and NEVER worry about a subscription or surprise payment again. And jump the queue for responding to any questions.

If your anything like me (Curt) and getting Subscription overload with everything on-line wanting money from you once a month — I'm with you. For like-minded individuals, this forever plan is a pay once and your done.

The price for Unlimited Forever access is right around the cost of a few months of private lessons. I can guarantee that is more material on-line to keep you busy for a long, long time. And, you get all of my books for FREE. That along is more than the cost of this plan.

Premium Access - This premium gives you Unlimited 24/7 access to ALL lessons, downloads, songs, play-along jam tracks, videos, email access to Curt, resources and related assets. As well as ALL books by Curt Sheller as FREE downloads.

Basic Access - A limited selection of basic lessons — ( currently over 140 ) and 100+ songs for ukulele as well as basic general music reference material — Completely FREE — Simply Register/Signup. HOWEVER - I've been doing ukulele and LearningUkulele.com since 2003 and probably have given too much away already - as reflected in my income from the site in relationship to the time spent on the site. So help support this site and its continued development by signing up for one of the below Premium Access Plans or buy a few of my books. - Thanks, Curt

NOTE: Each higher access level includes ALL the benefits of the lower levels. Private Lessons include all the benefits of a Premium Access Plans as long as you remain a student on the schedule.

Just browsing over both books, they look fantastic! I'm a guitarist and uke player for over 25 years and was thinking about writing a ukulele book but you've already written what I think are the best, most comprehensive and thorough books I've ever seen for the instrument. I just might end up buying every book you've written and I'll be giving my highest recommendation for your books to my friends and students. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such great books!Peter Rhee

Aloha, Curt, All I can say is WOW! What you have accomplished is simply incredible! All the bestGlen Hirabayashi, The Aloha Boys

Folks, if you haven't stopped by Curt's site, do so right now! ..And get his books, they are fantastic. This guy knows his stuff and is able to pass it along too.Alan Johnson Proprietor, The 4th Peg

I can highly recommend Curt's Uke books — I have four of them and they are excellent.fatveg — Portland

Thanks for visiting and checking out the site!

curtieAnim.gif

Original Curtie Animation from 1987 for my first web site on a Macintosh II.
33 years ago.

“Built for myself (Curt), and sharing with the `Ukulele community!”

LearningUkulele.com has one of the largest collections of lessons, songs, and TABS, luthiers, ukulele builders, ukulele festival and club information, and, ukulele links on the web. I’ve been on the ®Internet since the early 1990's and This site just never stops growing!!!

Content is added and updated almost daily - so check back often.