How To Fingerpick A Ukulele – Simple Method

Once you have got to grips with some basic chords. There are basically 2 ways you can play them. You can either get your wrists in gear and strum the hell out of them, or you can delicately fingerpick them. The style of the song really dictates what style you should use when playing. In this article, we are going to learn how to fingerpick a ukulele and a few fingerpicking patterns that once you get to grips with will make you very equipped to play more difficult songs in the future.


  • What fingerpicking offers
  • Where do I put my fingers
  • Using 2 fingers
  • Adding the 3rd finger
  • Using 4 fingers
  • Alternative Patterns
  • Twenty One Pilots Lane Boy ( Advanced )


While its great to sing your heart out while strumming along to your favourite songs. Fingerpicking allows you to play things a bit more delicately and allows you to be somewhat more emotive with your playing. It also adds more dexterity to your non-fretting hand which will make flying up and down the fretboard at lighting pace while doing your best Jake Shimabukuro impression a lot easier.


In almost all finger patterns you want to assign your fingers to a certain string. I usually use my thumb for the G and C. My index finger for the E and my middle finger for the A.

how to fingerpick a ukulele

How To Fingerpick A Ukulele USING 2 FINGERS

Let’s take a look at how to fingerpick using 2 fingers. This is what a simple pattern would look like with a two-finger style. Your thumb will control the G and C strings and your index finger controls the E and A strings.

how to fingerpick a ukulele

In two-finger style, you can also use your thumb to control the first 2 strings or the first 3 strings. It totally depends on what is comfortable for you.

Try playing this simple pattern using just 2 strings. If you not sure how to read tab, you can check out my guide here.

how to fingerpick a ukulele

If playing the fretted notes is a struggle for you right now, you can just play all the open notes like this.

how to fingerpick a ukulele

How To Fingerpick A Ukulele USING 3 FINGERS

Adding the third finger can be tricky but once you master it, you are going to see yourself been able to play much faster.

how to fingerpick a ukulele

We are doing the same pattern but instead of using our Index finger on the A string we are going to use our Middle finger.

how to fingerpick a ukulele

How To Fingerpick A Ukulele USING 4 FINGERS

We are now at the point where we are going to have one finger assigned to each string. The thumb will be the G, the Index will be the C, the Middle will be the E and the Ring will be the A.

how to fingerpick a ukulele

Again we are using the same pattern but just different fingers. Try getting your hand comfortable and remember, take as much time as you need.

how to fingerpick a ukulele

Let’s not beat around the bush, it’s going to take a long time to get proficient using 4 fingers. However, if you start with 2 and add more over time, it’s going to make life a lot easier for you.


Here are a few more examples of fingerpicking patterns for you to wrap your head around. They are very similar to our basic pattern about but the slight variation will keep your brain ticking.

how to fingerpick a ukulelealternative 2


Let’s combine what we have learnt about fingerpicking and blend the technique with some riffs. We are going to be learning Twenty One Pilots – Lane Boy. The original part is played on a synth but it sounds really great on the ukulele and it’s a great way to practise.

You will be using your Thumb, Index and Middle finger. Take a look at the tab below.

how to fingerpick a ukulele

As you can see, you want to use your thumb 3 times and then run your fingers down the strings after each succession of thumb hits.

I also did a video lesson that explains in detail how to play this song.

That brings our tutorial on how to fingerpick to an end. I hope you found it useful and be sure to check out another article to help increase your skills on the ukulele. You can also check out some of the following tabs that heavily rely on fingerpicking.

Fleetwood Mac – Never Going Back Again
Arcade Fire – Backseat
Radiohead – No Surprises