Ukulele Techniques: Articulations & Ways to Play a Note

Technique is HOW you play the ukulele. It’s the way you physically interact with the instrument.

Since that encompasses everything, a sub-set of “techniques” – usually note articulations – are often sorted out for independent study.

Mastering these techniques is one of the gateways to easier ukulele playing. You can know all of the notes in the world, but without technique and articulations, you will be somewhat limited in what you can do.

Some give notes different sounds, some can emulate the voice, some are overkill! Learn to use them as you would a library – you don’t read every book at once, so don’t use every technique in every song.

The very best lessons I offer here on Live Ukulele are about left hand technique. These video lessons cover almost everything below in much more detail and with a sequential lesson plan.

50 Lesson Video Course

A massively detailed and sequential guide to fretting the ukulele. In these lessons, you’ll learn proper hand positioning, how to fret notes more efficiently, methods for navigating the fretboard, many ways to express music with articulations, and much, much more.

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Bending

Learn how to stretch your strings to the max. By bending you can smoothly ramp your way up to the next pitch. It sort of “takes away the frets.”

Hammer-on

How to get from point A to point B in one pick. Use your momentum to carry you through more than one note.

Harmonics

An effect that makes the ukulele ring like bells.

Mono Strum

Pioneered by James Hill. Using a strum to sound only one note.

Octaves

One note from this octave and one note from that octave.

Palm Mute

Helps add tightness and a deep tone to your playing.

Pull-Offs

Increase your picking speed with smart descending technique. This is the name of the pull-off game and in this lesson I show you how to use it.

Rakes

How to add a percussive line of mutes to any note.

Slides

Get smoothly from point A to point B in one pick.

Tapping

Like Eddie Van Halen! Hammer-ons and pull-offs on steroids that involve your picking hand.

Tremolo picking

Playing one note rapidly.

Vibrato

Subtly bending a string to change the pitch and add emotion.