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Ukulele Lesson: Basic Picking Technique with Craig Chee


Fingerstyle playing on any stringed instrument is all about subtlety and nuance. The slightest adjustment to the position of your fingers, hand, or palm, the fingers you chose to pick with, the length of your fingernails, and the part of the finger with which you strike the string all influence the quality of the tone that you produce on your instrument greatly. The ukulele is particularly responsive to adjustments in your picking technique, especially when compared to instruments like the steel-string acoustic guitar, because of its small size, short scale length (or string length between the instrument’s bridge and nut), and nylon strings.


In this online ukulele lesson, internationally-renowned ukulele player and ArtistWorks instructor, Craig Chee outlines his basic picking techniques on the ukulele to quickly get you playing your favorite melodies and producing a beautiful, singing tone on your instrument. He even provides a few exercises that you can practice to help improve the fluidity of your picking and your muscle memory.


LEARN MORE: Want to learn how to play the ukulele from a master musician like Craig Chee? Try some free online ukulele lessons now!


“Compared to many guitarists who often use multiple fingers to pluck the strings, we focus much more heavily on using the right thumb to pick when playing the ukulele,” explains Craig. “It may seem counterintuitive, but this helps ukulele players get the most out of their right hand and allows them to produce a nice clear tone on their instrument.”


Using the tip of the thumb is critical when fingerpicking on the ukulele for two reasons. The first is that, by using the tip of the thumb, you’re able to easily access and pick the string from above to produce a nice full tone. The second reason is that using the tip of the thumb allows you to use your nail slightly in certain instances to give a note more attack or presence.


“When you’re positioning your right hand to pick the strings, you want your wrist to be bent and at an angle so that you can access the strings from above,” Craig explains. “This gives you clearance to access each of the strings individually while still producing a clear, crisp tone.”


To learn how to properly fingerpick and generate a beautiful, rich tone on the ukulele, dive into this online ukulele lesson from Craig Chee:


Basic Picking Technique with Craig Chee:




Have you always wanted to learn how to play the ukulele? Through our comprehensive ukulele lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn from internationally renowned players, like Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel, and get personal feedback on your playing.


Craig and Sarah’s course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner ukulele to advanced performance techniques, improvisation methods, Hawaiian and popular music tunes, and beyond. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as ukulele players and musicians.


Try out some free sample music lessons here and see what makes ArtistWorks courses some of the best online music lessons around!



Sarah Maisel & Craig Chee Monthly Ukulele Livestream: January 2022 feat. Diane Nalini

Ukulele Lesson: An Introduction to Barre Chords with Craig Chee

ArtistWorks Music Series Podcast—Building Your Practice Roadmap: Craig & Sarah




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