Finger Exercises For Ukulele Players

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So…you want to play ukulele but you’ve never played an instrument before. One of the hardest things to overcome is getting your fingers and hands adjusted to what you are about to start putting them through on (hopefully) a daily basis! For those who are just starting out with the uke, it may seem difficult or even impossible for your fingers to bend in the ways necessary to play some of the chords. But FEAR NOT! It is not impossible. Just like our bodies, our fingers need exercise too! You couldn’t just decide to run a marathon one day without any practice prior to the day of the race? Your fingers are no different.

When you’re first starting out, you should try to incorporate some of these stretches into your routine every time you sit down for a ukulele session. Though you may feel silly at first, you will thank yourself for it later. 

So let’s learn about some simple stretches you can do to warm your fingers up and get them ready to play your ukulele! (Make sure you are doing these stretches on both hands and not just one.)

1. First, you should get your blood flowing well in both hands. Take your left thumb and massage the inside of the right palm. Alternate to the other hand. Shake out both hands when finished.

2. Lock your elbow and hold onto your right pointer finger and slowly bend it back towards your forearm. After about 5 seconds, switch to the next finger and so on. 

3. Now simply do the opposite of number 2. Hold your right pointer finger and bend it towards the inside of your right palm. Continue with the rest of your fingers.

4. Next, you are going to separate the pointer and middle finger of your right hand with your thumb and pointer finger of your left hand, and stretch them out. Don’t stretch them to the point of pain but you should definitely be able to feel some tension. Continue with the rest of your fingers on both hands.

5. Now you are going to stretch the outside of the pinky muscle. Grab all four fingers on your right hand and pull them towards your inside forearm (away from the pinky). You should feel tension on the far side of your hand. Repeat for the other hand. 

6. Next, grab all four fingers again and pull them back towards the forearm. You should feel this in your wrist. Repeat with the left hand.

7. Now you will do the opposite of number 6. Hold all four fingers on the right hand and pull them towards the inside palm. You will feel this on the top of your wrist. Repeat with the other hand. 

In total, these exercises should take you 5-10 minutes to complete. At this point your fingers and hands should feel much looser and ready to start playing! You will notice much more ease in reaching chords and playing complex songs. Happy playing!

1 comment

  • Merrill

    Thanks for the exercises. I am an older player and am having a heck of a time with barre chords. do you have any hints about how to keep the first finger flat on the fret board….that would be really helpful too.

    thanks again.

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