Everybody loves the soothing tone of the ukulele. But you have to admit, it isn’t the loudest instrument out there. So, if you’re a uke player, should you just give up on playing your stringed instrument outside? Absolutely not! There are several ways to get over the obstacle, and one such way is to pick up a pick. But can you play ukulele with a pick?
To put it simply, you can play the ukulele with a pick. You’ll get louder sounds. But there are some backlashes to the idea, including less vibrant music. Using a pick can make your uke sound less natural too.
Musicians are by nature innovative and creative people who are always looking to push the boundaries of music. With the ever-evolving ukulele music, musicians are introducing new methods and techniques to use picks. Let’s dive in deeper and see what’s it all about.
Why Some People Disagree About Using Picks in Ukuleles
As with ideas, there are always two sides – one party that agrees and the other that doesn’t. The same goes for picks when it comes to ukuleles.
Some purists think that picks are not the right suit for ukes. Here are some of the arguments from their train of thought.
Blocks of Many Possibilities
According to some, you can’t pick and roll at the same time. As you’d agree, the ukulele offers a wide variety of strumming possibilities. But, they argue that when you’re pitching a plectrum between your fingers, you can’t possibly be able to grasp the whole world of strums available to a uke player.
Sounds Too Much Like A Guitar
Some say that when you’re playing your ukulele with a pick, the tune sounds as if it’s coming from a cheap guitar. Of course, there are different arguments about it.
But don’t let these reasons put you off from using a pick if you want to. After all, it’s your instrument, and you’re entirely free to choose whatever style suits you.
When to Use A Pick
Ukulele was traditionally used for strumming alongside Hawaiian music. But that was a long time ago. Since then, it has evolved into an international instrument used to strum along with different tunes from different origins. It’s one of the biggest reasons how picks have been adopted into the ukulele strumming style.
As most pop and rock songs are played over steel-stringed acoustic guitars, uke players adopt those tunes in their instruments through picks. Even many famous musicians use ukuleles to cover their songs. All that has been made possible through the power of picks.
Apart from that, picks have some practical uses too. Suppose someone has weak fingernails or your practice sessions have left your tips raw. But you want to keep playing. That’s when you pick up a pick.
Using a pick, you can go through your daily practice routine without a hitch as your fingers recover. At the same time, you can enjoy the flashy sound that your pick has to offer.
Choosing A Good Ukulele Pick
If you’re thinking of picking up a guitar pick for your ukulele, don’t! They’re different instruments. Just as you wouldn’t bring a paintball gun to hunting, you shouldn’t use a guitar pick on your ukulele.
While you can follow a simple guideline, there’s no one best pick for anyone. Try them all and get what works best for you.
After all, it’s an inexpensive experiment, and nobody will blame you for going a bit crazy. But if you’re still confused, here are some of the factors that you can consider.
You should try out picks of different materials. While plastic picks are highly available, you should try out felt picks first. They’re delightful to strum with.
Apart from felt picks, leather picks are also popular amongst uke players, and they’ve been around for a long time.
Most recently, rubber picks are also gathering a lot of attention. They come in different degrees of hardness and thickness. Moreover, they come equipped with a molded grip which is an excellent fit for the hands of the young and old.
Although, you should note that, while rubber picks offer softer sound, they wear out quite quickly. So, choose your pick wisely!
There are different pick shapes out there. But the main question would be about whether you should go for a pick with sharper or rounded points.
Experts would recommend that you use the classic felt pick for your uke. They come in various shapes, sizes, degrees of hardness, and shapes.
The main difference between them is sharper pointed picks offer a brighter tone while the picks with rounder pints offer mellow ones.
Picks also come in various thicknesses. You can choose from a wide range of picks, starting from thin to extra heavy ones.
The general rule is that the mellower the sound you want, the softer the pick has to be. So, if you want a mellow sound, go for the thinner ones. These thin picks will also offer a lot of freedom and control.
But if you’re looking to play faster music, give the thick ones a go. However, note that thick picks will need more finger strength to play with.
Since acoustic guitars have steel strings, their picks are also designed for handling steel. Using those guitar picks for your ukulele will hurt the softer nylon strings.
If your ukulele has relatively sturdier strings, you can try a heavier pick as they’ll be able to bite into those more rigid strings. For example, if you have a baritone uke, use a felt pick.
With all that said, it’s entirely up to you whether you should pick a pick for your uke or not. You’re an upcoming musician, and the world is your oyster. So, don’t be afraid to use your own ideas.
But if you’re simply looking for the answer to the question- can you play ukulele with a pick? We hope you got your answer.