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Proper Fretting Hand Placement
Efficiency is the Key to Proper Technique.
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Ukulele or Guitar
This technique tips apply to guitar as well as ukulele.
Four fingers can span four frets, one finger per fret. Start by placing your index finger on string four, fret one. Then on the same string, add finger two to fret two, finger three to fret three, and finally finger four to fret four. The thumb should be positioned flat and right behind finger one and two. In this position, only the fingertips and the thumbprint touch the instrument. The fourth finger will not be as arched as the other fingers because of its size and relative reach.
Your thumb should be flat against the back of the neck, approximately right behind the first and second fingers. The exact position varies with thumb, neck, and hand size. The thumb pushes against the neck while the fingers press down.
The No. 2 Pencil
The old standby No. 2 pencil is a handy tool to show proper finger and thumb placement. I often substitute a "Carpenter's Pencil" to make it a bit easier to demonstrate.
- Place fingers (fingertips) on the pencil's "Painted Body" and your thumb should naturally go into the position of support right behind you index and middle finger.
- That's it. I do typically use a flat Carpenter's Pencil, as it's a little easier to balance and has more of an area on its "Ferrule".
Alternately, you can place all four fingers on string four of your ukulele at frets (1), (2), (3), and stretch your pinky to fret (5). This should place your thumb in the proposition of supporting the fingers.
Your thumb needs to supply equal and opposite pressure to the fingers pressing on the strings.
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Related Lessons for Proper Fretting Hand Placement.
Fingering Gymnastics - a.k.a. Fingering Drills Introduction • Updated: 18 Dec 2018
Ukulele Gymnastics series contains quite a few lessons for developing your finger strength and independence of the fretting hand. The fretting hand is responsible for playing chords and single notes. The fretting hand and plucking hand are responsible for getting the music out.
Related Lesson Series
Related Lessons Series for Proper Fretting Hand Placement.