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Why Use a Pick for the Ukulele or Guitar?

Learn the secrets behind it!

by Frances Lin

Can you use a pick for the ukulele and guitar? Why would you try this ukulele and guitar tool? Traditionally, ukulele players do not use a pick. The primary reason is that it is easier to grab and play the ukulele without the use of this tool. However, there are many reasons for trying a pick with the ukulele.

Guitar players use the pick more widely, and you can find picks available for purchase at the #1 ukulele store. There are many different types of picks to choose from, and I will walk you through the reasons for using a pick, the variations of picks out there, and specific picks that you can purchase to try this new tool out for whatever instrument you play!

Why Use a Pick for the Ukulele?

As mentioned before, most guitar players use a pick when playing, but why would a ukulele player want to try using a pick? First of all, a pick is a small piece of plastic, wood, or metal that can be held with the thumb and forefinger although there are thumb picks as well. Instead of strumming or plucking with your actual fingers, you would use this tool to make direct contact with your strings instead of your finger.

What Kind of Sounds Does a Pick Make on a Ukulele?

For more information on the differences between a guitar and ukulele, you may want to watch this video below which breaks it down for you:

Many ukulele players are interested in why one would opt to use a pick for a ukulele when it is traditionally more commonly used with a guitar. This video is a great resource to refer to because you can hear the actual differences in sound that you get when strumming or fingerpicking with a pick:

Our very own, Terry Carter, plays the exact same notes using his fingers versus a pick. Overall, using a pick will change the tone and sound of your music. It produces a brighter sound with less bass. The sound is more “trebly” and can cut through more although some warmth is lost. Depending on the song you wish to play, a pick can complement your music if it is the tone and sound you wish to achieve that matches this description.

Tips for Using a Pick and Materials

When using a pick, there are many different ways to keep the tone and sound the way you want it. Picks also come in a varied number of materials, shapes, and sizes. Picks are inexpensive, so if you decide to try them out, it does not cost much. I purchased a few picks myself, and I use them when I want a sound closer to a spruce top ukulele even though I have a mango ukulele that tends to have a warmer sound.

Tips for Using a Pick with a Ukulele

One type of pick is the Fender pick which you use with a thumb and forefinger. Where you hold the pick depends on the feel you are most comfortable with, avoiding the too fat or skinny parts of the pick. Keep your wrist loose as you would when normally playing your ukulele. Medium picks are used for most songs; however, you can get a variety of different sizes to cover all your needs. In general, light picks are used for strumming, and heavy picks are used for fingerpicking.

Materials Used for Picks

Different picks are used to produce various tones and sounds that one wishes to achieve while playing the ukulele. Celluloid is a common material, but fingerpicks can be made with wood or metal as well. I have the plastic picks, and they work well for my purposes, but feel free to experiment with different materials to see what sounds the best to you. Because they are inexpensive, you can try most picks fairly easily.

Different Picks Available

Currently, you can get quite a few different picks at This section talks a little about a few different kinds that are available at the shop. Again, explore different sizes, shapes, and materials to see what you like the best!

Uke Like The Pros Logo Picks

These picks are part of a limited edition and come in a set of six. You can choose your favorite design and thickness (medium and heavy). There are four designs to choose from: ULTP Racing Red; ULTP Logo (black, white, tortoise, pearl); ULTP Old School; and ULTP Nation (for those of you who are a part of this amazing community of ukulele players!). You can find these at ULTP Picks.

Fun Versions of Picks

If you are a fan of Jimi Hendrix, there are Dunlop Jimi Hendrix ‘69 Voo Doo Fire Picks that come in a six-pack. These are six genuine celluloid picks with trippy artwork based on a UK design. There are also Dunlop 9003P White Large Thumbpicks if that is more appealing to you. Again, it depends on the feel you desire while playing your ukulele.



Part of being a musician is enjoying your ukulele playing, and experimenting with picks can enhance that enjoyment. More than likely, you will use the picks at times and then opt to go with your finger at other times. You can easily place them in the pocket of your gig bag for easy access when you are on the go. Remember that there is a wonderful community for ukulele players that we call Uke Like the Pros Nation. Consider joining us if you have not already to learn even more about this fascinating instrument!

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