Can You Use Guitar Picks On A Ukulele? – 2023

Many guitarists who convert to ukulele often ask such questions as can you use guitar picks on a ukulele or about different ukulele picks. Most ukulele players prefer to play the ukulele with some sort of pick.

There is a huge variety of picks available that one can use with a musical instrument such as a guitar or ukulele. You may use a felt or leather pick, uke pick, or a rigid pick (also known as a hard pick).

The use of a pick depends on your playing style and the guitar type. Ukulele players who use a nylon-stringed guitar might need a pick that is different from those used for metal strings.

To play ukulele with picks, you only need to go to a local music store in your area or order a few picks from some online store.

Ukuleles provide exquisite tones that are not produced by other stringed instruments. But the question is if the Ukulele produces the best sound with picks or without? In this article, you shall get the answer to your question.

History Of Ukulele Picks

The Hawaiians who created the ukulele (by altering instruments brought to the islands by sailors from Portugal) did not use a pick. In Hawaii, you typically use your thumb or first finger to strum, frequently combining the two. The ukulele is most frequently played with the fingers, which produce the distinctive strums and rhythms of the islands.

But the ukulele was destined for fame, and following the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915, they were widely available. The banjo ukulele, which is played and tuned similarly to a conventional uke but with a banjo head, is a well-liked and loud variation of the standard ukulele.

Additionally, several musicians who learned to play the banjo ukulele already played the tenor and plectrum banjos; they did so on the banjolele by using their picks.

Using A Ukulele Pick

Using a pick to create a new sound is acceptable in the present period (that is, right now!). More musicians are now using the uke to perform melodies, or they are transforming rock songs and other genres for the instrument. So, by all means, go for it if a song or style demands it!

Since ukuleles have nylon strings, a very heavy pick is not necessary. In the majority of cases, a medium should be sufficient, and if you are playing rhythm, a thin. The felt pick, which has long been the norm for playing baritone ukuleles, is difficult to use for playing the smaller sizes.

Make sure you hold your pick with a regular grip as well. Examine the grip by holding the pick like a bug. That hold is improper. The Following is the most typical one used by guitar and banjo players:

Use your wrist to assist your hand in strumming in an arc for a smooth motion, much like you would with your fingers. Be careful not to hold the pick too tightly; keep your hand free. Try out your new tool to see what you can create.

Guitar Picks For Ukulele

Let’s look at different types of guitar and ukulele picks you can use with a ukulele.

Thumb Picks

These are cool because they enable you to hold your hand in a more relaxed position while maintaining a straighter wrist. Additionally, using a thumb pick will give your ukulele tone about the fattest it can sound.

The Herco style pick is a special fusion of a flat pick and a thumb pick. It resembles a flat pick in essence and is held on your finger via a loop. A flat pick is considerably simpler to grip onto and is better for strumming than a thumb pick.

Finger Picks

To produce a stable surface to pluck with, fingerpicks slide over the tip of your finger. The majority of fingerpicks can only be used in an upward picking action. Although this can be constricting, the sound you produce is so powerful that it might be worth it for you.

You can bend some metal fingerpicks to fit your finger because they are composed of metal. Some are constructed of plastic. Metal has a brighter sound. On the other hand, like a fingernail, plastic is more natural-looking.

Plectrums (Flat Picks)

Except for guitarists who have recently switched to the ukulele, few people who play the instrument utilize standard guitar picks. Standard guitar picks, felt picks, and rubber picks are among the varieties.

Standard flat picks provide an excellent, snappy tone and quick articulation that let you play some things more quickly than usual. They are available in various thickness gauges. A thin pick has a “clack” sound every time it strikes a string, yet it is easier to strum with.

A thick pick has a richer tone and is more difficult to force through the strings, making it better for picking single notes.

Ukulele Picks

But the real question is if you can use a guitar pick for ukuleles? The answer is Yes, you can. The following details in this article will let you have a clear idea that you can most definitely use a guitar pick on the ukulele.

Similar to classical guitar strings, ukulele strings are constructed of nylon polymer. What guitar pick to choose is the only thing you need to think about. A large, rounded, and thin pick would be ideal because strumming is the most common way to play the ukulele.

Types Of Picks

Guitar picks come in a wide variety of styles. The unique characteristics of guitar picks make each one slightly different and ideal for a certain playing demand or personal preference.

You can determine whether a pick will work for a ukulele by understanding these various characteristics. Guitar picks vary from one another in the following ways:

  • Size
  • Shape
  • Thickness
  • Material
  • Texture

Guitar Pick Size

Beginners often use larger picks since they are more comfortable to handle and play with. These picks, which may be held with numerous fingers, are typically seen to be considerably simpler to strum with.

In contrast, tiny guitar picks are employed to choose certain strings (fast). Small guitar picks are frequently used by guitarists who shred (play very quickly).

The primary form of ukulele composing consists of strumming chords. The melody is then typically provided by a different instrument.

Guitar Pick Shape

There are numerous shapes available for guitar picks. You can find ones with smooth edges, ones with sharp edges, and even ones that have edges that mimic shark fins. Since their sound is smoother, rounded-shaped guitar picks are often employed for strumming.

For single-note plucking, sharper (more pointed) guitar picks are more frequently employed because they provide a great “twang” or crisp sound.

If you’re seeking a guitar pick for strumming a ukulele, rounded guitar picks will be your finest choice. Unless you’re possibly combining it with some melody lines, in which case a medium thickness might be more appropriate.

Guitar Pick Thickness

Playing a single note requires the use of thick guitar picks. Again, guitarists who shred swiftly across and on single strings typically employ thicker guitar picks. This is due to the pick’s stiffness, which will maintain its shape as notes are quickly picked.

When you strum a thinner-shaped pick across all of the guitar strings, it gives way and becomes flexible. These work considerably better for ukulele playing and strumming. As we previously stated, chordal strumming will constitute the “majority” of ukulele playing.

Guitar Pick Material

You would assume that guitar picks would solely be made of plastic. Generally speaking, this is true. Nevertheless, some manufacturers do venture out and produce commemorative and limited edition items using nickel and other metals. Never take these into account when playing the guitar or ukulele.

Manufacturers do experiment with the sort of plastic used, but we, as ukulele (or guitar) players, need not be bothered about it. Finding a ball that fits your play style in terms of size, shape, and thickness is your best chance, followed by one that feels comfortable.

Difference between the strings of ukulele and guitar

Now that we are aware of the kind of guitar pick to use when playing the ukulele, we must determine whether the strings are made for it. Different tunings are used for the guitar and ukulele strings.

Picks for guitars and other stringed instruments won’t be affected by tuning. However, the strings’ construction will be important. Different types of materials can be used to make guitar strings.

To help you comprehend the various categories, we shall briefly discuss them. Strings for electric and acoustic guitars can be created from;

  • Steel
  • Nickel
  • Nylon
  • Copper
  • Tin
  • Brass

These materials can be a combination, depending on the strings and the style and type of guitar they are made for. This implies that you can use nickel or steel strings.

A ukulele, on the other hand, initially featured catgut strings. They are now fashioned of nylon polymer strings, a thing of the past. Additionally, there may be variances in the substance used to create ukulele strings.

  • Fluorocarbon
  • Aluminum

However, the majority of ukuleles will come with conventional nylon polymer (basically plastic) strings or a close substitute. It’s also crucial to remember that the strings on all ukulele variants are made of identical materials.

Frequently asked Questions

In this section, we will answer a few faqs to clear your mind further.

Can you use guitar picks on a ukulele?

Simple, yet it can help you save both time and money. You may use guitar strings on your ukulele with no problem. Knowing which guitar string to use is all that is required.

Can you make a pick at home?

Making a handmade guitar pick is simple if you have a spare piece of plastic lying around. You can make your own selections out of CDs, plastic rulers, gift cards, credit cards, and gift cards.

Buying a pick puncher, which is just a hole puncher in the shape of a pick, is the simplest way to produce homemade picks. Additionally, you can manually cut a pick from plastic using scissors.

How to choose a ukulele pick?

The felt pick, which comes in a range of sizes, thicknesses, forms (including oval and triangular), and levels of hardness, is the traditional ukulele pick. The sound is more subdued the softer the felt.

Even thinner poly-felt picks are available that have a firm inner core and deliver a forceful strike without a plastic-like click. Picks made of leather or rubber are two excellent possibilities.

Leather, which predates felt by a century, is the traditional material for ukulele picks. Wedgie’s rubber picks are a more contemporary alternative to them. They are a wonderful option for both young and old hands because of their variety of thicknesses, levels of hardness, and molded grip.


Here in the article, we discussed every aspect of using a guitar pick for the ukulele. You have many genuine reasons to utilize your guitar pick for both instruments. That way you can also save some money.

This was all about how you can play the ukulele with a pick. Most ukulele players use both a guitar and a ukulele pick for playing uke. Some major picks include thin picks, soft picks, leather picks, felt ukulele picks, and hard picks.

You can also use a pick to record an album of ukulele music or in a ukulele orchestra. The picks give a unique uke sound that the audience loves to hear.

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