Using your thumb = "cheating"?

  1. 4 years ago

    I play a few chords using my thumb. For example, for D I put my thumb across the second fret, minus the last (A) string. For E I do the same on 4th fret, and put my index finger on fret 2, last string. I also use my thumb on B and some other chords besides. Although I've been doing this for over 2 years (which is how long I've been playing), I still feel like I'm "cheating", if that makes sense.

    Anyways, does anyone else besides me use their thumb in this way? Is it bad practice?

  2. You shouldn't cheat. Look what happened to Lance Armstrong.

    You don't want them to take away your ukulele, do you?

  3. i'm fairly new to the ukulele and i don't think that it is cheating. i use it when it is too hard for me to create a chord and there is really many ways to play you just have to decide what ones are good for you. happy uke

  4. I wouldn't consider it cheating, there is not a right way and a wrong way to play the uke. But still, is your hand really that small that you need to use your thumb?

  5. [deleted]

    3 Sep 2012

    I agree with Joberst. Play the instrument the way you like it.

  6. I've seen the thumb used to help form chords in a couple instructional videos. I don't see it as cheating.

  7. Course it's not cheating - play it with your elbow if you like - what matters is the music that comes out of the instrument.

    More seriously, many pros use the thumb to strum sections and lots for picking. It can give a mellower sound that is sometimes needed if you are playing a song that demands it.

  8. thongar

    4 Sep 2012 Moderator

    You're defnitely not cheating. So many people use their thumb to pluck/strum, so there's nothing wrong with it. It just depends what you're comfortable with.

  9. JaxX

    4 Sep 2012 Moderator

    "Joberst" I wouldn't consider it cheating, there is not a right way and a wrong way to play the uke. But still, is your hand really that small that you need to use your thumb?

    totally agree

  10. I don't think it's 'cheating', but I'm finding it hard to wrap my head around how you keep your neck steady if not with your thumb pressed against the back! How do you do it?

  11. not in my opinion! In certain strums i use my pinky just for the heck of it! You can use whatever you want as long as it doesn't hinder your speed moving from chord to chord...

  12. Every rule in music is made to be broken.

  13. "Joberst" I wouldn't consider it cheating, there is not a right way and a wrong way to play the uke. But still, is your hand really that small that you need to use your thumb?

    Mine is.

  14. Sometimes, in rare occasions, you have to do what you need to do. Even on the banjo can the thumb be utilized. It is rare but you can if its called for.

  15. I use my thumb on D and D7

  16. Looking over the original post, it includes the queation of whether using the thumb to fret strings is bad practice.

    I think it is. Surley not cheating, but it would seem to me that it might not be the best approach.

    I am no accomplished musician and not a pro, but have you ever seen a really great string player use their thumb? There has got to be a reason

  17. thongar

    15 Sep 2012 Moderator

    "pootsie" Looking over the original post, it includes the queation of whether using the thumb to fret strings is bad practice.

    I think it is. Surley not cheating, but it would seem to me that it might not be the best approach.

    I am no accomplished musician and not a pro, but have you ever seen a really great string player use their thumb? There has got to be a reason

    Wow, completely misread the op. Yeah, definitely not cheating - but I find using the thumb more difficult than using my index finger. Especially if you're going to be doing quick chord/note changes. Oh well, whatever is more comfortable!

  18. "pootsie" Looking over the original post, it includes the queation of whether using the thumb to fret strings is bad practice.

    I think it is. Surley not cheating, but it would seem to me that it might not be the best approach.

    I am no accomplished musician and not a pro, but have you ever seen a really great string player use their thumb? There has got to be a reason

    my goodness i cant read! I assumed the subject was using your thumb to strum!
    Thanks for clarifying Pootsie!

    Regarding the actual OP:
    I don't use my thumb to fret. I saw on a video you have better reach if you leave your thumb on the back of the neck in the middle. So from day one i made sure i didn't ever use my thumb to fret.

  19. nah it ain't cheating. I strum with my ring finger but it sounds just the same to the standard player, strumming with their pointer finger. it sounds the same no matter what finger you strum with .

  20. I found this hilarious because I was taught this as a child! My instructor used to say that the thumb should never be used for playing and one instructor even said that it is a big no no to have your thumb sticking out behind the fretboard. Very funny

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