The ToneWay® Project: helping people play music

Cross picking vs finger patterns

Am I right in thinking that the difference between crosspicking and using finger patterns is the use of a flat pick or is there something I'm missing?


If by crosspicking you mean,, and by finger patterns you mean the ToneWay Picking Patterns, then no. They both use a flat pick, although the ToneWay Picking Patterns for ukulele would not, at least normally. The patterns are for picking melody, where as crosspicking is more about producing an interesting syncopated rhythm.


Thank you Carl. Yes, that is the crosspicking I'm referring to. The finger picking pattern I'm referring to are the notes that are filling the in-between spaces of the melody notes.

Would the syncopation style referred to in your book. (Pg.55/56)
be similar to the crosspicking sound?

One thing that has been pointed out to me is that using a flatpick would be limiting because I would lack the ability to employ the pinch sync methods that you have detailed in the book.

I have a thumb pick that I have filed down, making it quite usable for the ukulele, and alaska picks for the fingers. I find the clicking of the finger picks a bit distracting and would prefer to go without.


Oh, I see. You mean the 'Merle Travis' finger picking style adapted to the ukulele. I suppose the crosspicking sound and this are similar in 'the big picture'. I don't feel it very useful to compare them due to the application – one pick vs. two fingers. That puts them worlds apart, to me.

Of course, I can't do either, more than a bit. ;-) I find the Carter Family style – flat picking melody + strumming – a lot easier to do fluently personally.

Starting about 60 years too late may be one reason the cross picking or Travis styles don't click. The Carter style, (page 52 - 55 & 79) is much more straightforward. (In the Ukulele Songbook: page 132-135 & 179)

Using a flat pick make good sense when playing on steel strings. For ukulele, I imagine finger, not picks, to feel more intuitive. I mean naked fingers touching naked strings. Keeping it simple always works best I find.

Play around on the uke until your fingers know their way around the fret board intuitively (second nature), and the rest takes care of itself I feel.


Thank you so much Carl, your help is much appreciated. Being a late starter as well, I too have found the carter style much easier to learn.


Playing melody notes while cross picking is doable, I play Wildwood Flower and Banks of the Ohio in cross picking patterns. Also flatpick and using middle finger as a pinch is a technique used by many guitarists, George Harrison used it a lot also Roger McGuin of Byrds fame used flatpick and finger picks on middle and ring fingers. I have heard it referred to as chickin' pickin'.


Thank you Richard. I'm off to google to look up chickin' pickin'. Haven't heard of it before.

to write a reply.