Hi there, ukulele warriors! Are you ready for a basic warm up exercise or two for your fingers? Nice, so are we. In this “Finger fitness” edition we’re going to check out a few routines you can use to get in the groove before you start jamming on your ukulele. Enjoy!
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
In this blog post about ukulele finger fitness
Exercise your right hand
Before we start talking about the exercise for the left and right hand, let’s figure out the names of the fingers. We’ll use the same names, borrowed from the classical guitar heritage.
Let’s start with the right hand – the hand which is plucking and/or strumming the strings. (For left handed players it would be the left hand). As in the classical guitar technique, we use the same finger names (coming from the Spanish language) for the right hand.
In order to know where to place the fingers of the right hand, it’s important to know which fingers control which strings. The p-finger is often responsible for playing the fourth (G) string, and the i-finger is assigned to the third (C) string. Then we have the m-finger that is responsible for the second E string, and last but not least the a-finger that plays the first (A) string.
How to train your right hand
You are probably strumming your ukulele rather than plucking separate strings. Still, it’s a useful habit to place the fingers of your right hand next to the corresponding strings before playing. Then you can be sure that you’re ready to pluck any desired string. Here is a good exercise on how to train your right hand.
Place your fingers on the corresponding strings as shown in the picture above. Now play the 4th string with your p-finger without moving i, m, a from the strings. Then do it the other way around: play only the 3rd string with your i-finger, followed by the 2nd string with the m-finger, and so on all the way back.
This exercise trains your right hand to play different strings with the corresponding fingers, while keeping the rest of the fingers next to the strings.
Exercise your left hand
Let’s talk about the left hand – the hand with which you press the strings on the fretboard. (For left handed players it would be the right hand). As in the classical guitar technique, we use the same finger names for the left hand.
Figure 3 – Left hand with the names of the fingers.
Some fitness for your left hand
Here is a classical exercise for the left hand that will help you improve your finger coordination on the fretboard. You can start this exercise from any fret you want. We’ll start with the first fret on the first (A) string.
Press the first string on the 1st fret with your first finger, while the other fingers rest, hovering over their frets. Moving to the 2nd fret, press the same string with the second finger, while the other fingers are hovering over their frets. Repeat this all the way up to the fourth fret. After that go back in the opposite direction, finishing with the first finger on the first fret.
It’s important to mention that we press the strings in the same way as we usually play them – close to the next fret.
After that, you can move to the second (E) string and do the same movement from the 1st to the 4th fret. Then it’ll be the turn of the third and fourth strings. You can move your left hand to any place on the fretboard: from the 2nd to the 5th fret, from the 3rd to the 6th fret and so on. Each time we get an interval of four adjacent frets, since the four fingers of our left hand are involved in playing.
To be fully concentrated on the finger movement, you can do this exercise with only your left hand.
Later, you can involve your right hand. For study purposes, play all notes on the 1st (A) string with the a-finger, all notes on the 2nd (E) string with the m-finger, all notes on the 3rd (C) string with the i-finger, and all notes on the 4th (G) string with the p-finger.Easy peazy lemon squeezy.
Final thoughts on ukulele exercises
We just showed you one basic exercise for your left and right hand. Use it wisely… And yes, by this we mean: create a routine. Just start your jam sessions with this finger fitness exercise to warm up your hands. Looking for motivation? Check out our blog post on motivation vs. routine. Looking for inspiration? We have a whole channel section to get you started. Happy jamming!