Ukulele & Languages

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Improve your ukulele technique : a tip by Herman Vandecauter

23 2010

Today multi-string-instrumentalist Herman Vandecauter from Belgium discusses the importance of using the little finger when playing the ukulele and illustrates his point with an exercise for ukuleles in GCEA tuning which you can hear and download further in this post.

Here is what Herman says :

I am always impressed when I see good left hand technique on the ukulele. I attach the greatest possible importance on the use of the fourth finger (the little finger or pinky) of the left hand, so often neglected.
Your little finger can become extremely flexible and fast if trained in the right manner.

The 4th finger should be your first choice when you reach the third fret of the first string.
Using it instead of the 3rd finger grants freedom to your other fingers and  this technique is used in nearly all embellishments.

Keep the 3rd finger free for the third and fourth strings where it belongs unless you are using the ukulele as a violin in melodic passages.
Besides, keeping your little finger in the air is a form of inefficiency.

In order to help you train your little finger, download and practise Herman‘s exercise. The idea is to practise daily in order to gain the necessary strength and flexibility in your little finger.

The exercise sounds very nice when Herman plays it. You can download the MP3 here.

Ukulele Exercise by Herman Vandecauter

– Subscribe to Herman’s YouTube channel

– Listen to ukulele recordings by Herman on SoundCloud


  1. Friday Links | Ukulele Hunt on the 3rd of December 2010 @ 15:01

    […] Herman’s pinkie practice. […]

  2. Naoko on the 7th of July 2011 @ 03:55

    Hi, I love reading your posts and this one is really useful!

    What a piece of music when Herman plays compared to mine….

    I’m really excited how my left fingers change with this practice.

  3. Armelle Europe on the 7th of July 2011 @ 10:15

    Naoko: I am really glad you found this post useful.
    Herman has been playing and teaching how to play various string instruments (classical guitar, mandolin, lute etc…) for a very long time which explains why his playing sounds so beautiful.

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