Collingwood Ukulele Players

To Pick or Not…

There is some brouhaha that arises periodically in the ukulele community online about whether it is “proper” for players to use a pick. It sometimes generates wild discussions that degenerate into camps of us-versus-them. Sometimes the same nonsense arises about using straps, how to hold your uke and what fingers to use when strumming.

Here’s the simple answer: whatever works for you. The rest of the argument is just noise.

First let’s get something straight: there are NO ukulele purists whose word is law in the uke community, who set the standards or determine the playing style for the rest of us. There are no styles or techniques that are absolutely the right way for everyone, the only way to play, the only “authentic” style.

No one knows what is best for you when playing the ukulele: that’s up to you to discover.

There are styles and techniques you can copy, and I recommend you try them all to figure our what feels the best, what makes the best music for you. But don’t not do something because you read some snuffy comment that disparages picks or strumming or how to hold your ukulele.

Whatever works for you, whatever produces the music you want to make is what is best for you. And that’s all that matters.

Ukuleles are tools for self-expression. They are musical instruments and however you play or hold them is absolutely fine. If you want to use a pick, do so. Ditto with a strap. Use your uke to make music, to learn music, to express yourself. Don’t fret about doing it “right” because in the world of music, right is entirely a personal choice.

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One thought on “To Pick or Not…

  1. Jim Miller

    I agree, “whatever works for you”. I’ve found that the people who start dictating what is “proper” aren’t usually very good at playing themselves, so try to find other ways to prove they know something. Similar situations arise in the social dance world, and it’s almost always from those who are not very good dancers, but imagine they know everything.
    BTW, Aaron Keim, for one, uses finger picks, and seems to do pretty well.

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