Since fingerpicking requires the use of more than one finger on the right hand it can be a little more difficult than
simple strumming. It’s really not that hard to do though and the results are well worth the practice it takes to get comfortable with it.
In my style of playing I use the thumb, index finger, and middle finger. The middle finger always plays the 1st
string; the index finger usually plays only the 2nd string (sometimes the 3rd); the thumb always plays the 3rd and 4th
strings but can also play the 2nd string, just depending on what’s going on in the song at the time. Notice also in the picture that I usually rest my ring finger and
pinkie on the surface of the ukulele just below the strings to anchor my hand and provide stability for the three fingers that are doing the picking. This 3-finger style
of picking has been commonly used by fingerstyle guitarists such as Chet Atkins and many others as well as almost all bluegrass banjo players. Of course the
picking patterns have to be modified a bit because of the different number of strings on the uke.
You can play fingerpicking patterns as accompaniment while you sing instead of
strumming, or you can mix it up by strumming in some places in a song and fingerpicking in other places. You can also play fingerstyle arrangements that
include the melody along with fill notes. This type of arrangement will vary from song to song because it is based on the melody and tempo of the song. The
fingerpicking patterns below will provide some insight about how fingerpicking works. All of these examples just use a C chord for simplicity but you should try
playing them with different chords. At first you might want to try playing simple songs you know all the way through just repeating one pattern throughout the song
. As you get more comfortable you can mix it up in any way that sounds good to you.
Pay special attention to the right hand fingering at the bottom of the tablature
(T=Thumb, I=Index, M=Middle). It might seem odd, for example, to bring your thumb down to play the 2nd string, but this is sometimes done to achieve a balance
with your right hand as the picking speed gets faster.