Ukulele setup – Finger strength is what separates able and ‘great’ ukulele players from those who cannot cut the grade. Without finger strength a ukulele player simply cannot manage the intense and complex licks which are essential in later and further playing.
Prior to these more advanced exercises, it is advised that the reader try some basic warm-up and strengthening exercises.
It’s a good idea to warm up with the aforementioned set and then move on, to make sure the fingers are warm and ready to continue pushing the muscles. Remember these are tough exercises and shouldn’t be pushed too hard. Work it as hard as need be.
So remember, play exercises with ALL FOUR fingers
ALWAYS Using Alternate Picking or individual right hand fingers!
Mixing Exercises Together
This exercise is wonderful. It brings together the scales used in the first lesson and intertwines them all in one exercise. This will help the ukulele player in mastering each one of these licks fully, but will also help to create more lifelike practice and warm ups. As most music written will not follow simple patterns this helps teach the musician to be ready to alter thinking patterns and be ready to play the unusual and inventive music in front of him.
Once more after this is completed to the highest possible pace on a metronome, it is recommended the ukulele player take a rest, relax and tense the finger muscles to keep the blood flowing and listen to an Albert King record in order to feel how finger strength can really help expression.
Finger Dancing in Ukulele Setup
This is a very complex and inventive exercise. The ukulele player must use specific left hand fingers in order to perform this correctly.
Although this exercise may seem very tough and tricky it will enable the guitarist to use more than one finger in a melody, this will aid improvisation greatly as it will allow the musician to ‘plan ahead’ with notes to play in the future, also it will help development of jazz chord shapes and the use of unusual voicing of melodies.
It is a very worthwhile and effective exercise to perfect!
Once again after this has been built as fast as possible it is recommended that the musician take a rest, check the tuning of the instrument and watch a video of how Johnny Marr inventively picked out rhythm patterns.
Sliding and Stretching
This is a wonderful warm up and warm down exercise for ukulele players. This feels awkward on the first try however will slowly get faster and easier. It will really help tease out those muscles and get them ready and loose for hard work.
This exercise doesn’t necessarily have to be practiced with a metronome it is more of a warm up and stretch for the fingers before starting practice.
So keep going though all these exercises!
These will all help push muscles in order to drive them to higher ability and greater strength, and, if practiced correctly, can form the background to a hard working and meaningful practice routine.
How to Strengthen Fingers
Every ukulele player has had the humbling experience of hearing or witnessing a great player tear through riffs and solo’s that leave you feeling overwhelmed, stunned and horridly incompetent.
So how can you develop speed and ability on the guitar quickly? Are there a lessons for ukulele player to aid such rapid growth?
In truth there is no special secret, there is no golden paved pathway which will suddenly turn you into a maestro in seconds…. unless of course you find Robert Johnson’s legendary crossroads, but that might cost something a little more than your time.
So are there any exercises to help develop quickly? To help fingers find the frets faster and more confidently, for example?
No matter the type of music, blues, acoustic, metal, rock, jazz, folk….. In order to increase ability it is necessary to increase the strength and power in the tools used to play. Therefore it is essential to increase finger strength!
To do this use simple exercises such as chromatic scales along with a metronome slowly building faster to gain speed and power.
For these use ALL FOUR fingers,
Always, always, ALWAYS, all FOUR fingers
Using: index, then middle, then ring, then pinkie on EVERY string.
Also use alternate picking with the right hand, so one note is a downstroke then the next an upstroke, this will also help speed develop greatly.
(If learning fingerpicking or classical guitar perhaps try picking with individual fingers on the right hand in order to gain further strength in both hands)
This exercise, although simplistic and plain, if practiced with a metronome or software such as Guitar Pro, will increase strength to a degree which is almost stunning!
Advanced Finger Exercise 1
Once the first exercise is practiced, getting slowly faster and faster until it is necessary to stop, it is a good plan to take a break, relax and listen to some Stevie Ray Vaughan
The muscles in the hand will take a few days to build, so the first few days of practice may seem unnatural and trying, but as they develop everything will get much smoother.
The second exercise is similar to the first, however contains a key difference to stretch and work different muscles in the hand.
Advanced Finger Exercise 2
Once again once the exercise is completed and has gone to as fast as the guitarist can on a metronome it is a good plan to rest again.
Never over work muscles, as specially ones such which haven’t been exercised much previous. Therefore it is a good idea to stretch the muscles, breath deeply and watch a YouTube video of Buddy Guy playing his blues away.
The third exercise once again has a subtle difference from the first and second and therefore will work on different muscles and help them develop further.
Warm-Up for Ukulele Setup
These exercises will also help the guitarist get the blood running into his hands. Much as a sprinter might warm up before a race, these exercises will prepare a musician for his music.
Keep performing these exercises every day, as a warm up before you play to help the muscles develop and also to aid everyday playing
Don’t be afraid to move exercises up and down the neck, starting on perhaps the fifth fret, or the ninth, or the thirteenth, go as far as you can dream.
Keep building that metronome faster and faster.
Having mastered these techniques, the guitarist can add more strength to their fingers, again following some simple step by step instructions and techniques.
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