Fix Flyaway Fingers on Ukulele

In this article we’ll teach you how to fix flyaway fingers on ukulele. Many of us allow our left-hand fingers that are not in use or after lifting to stick straight up and fly away from the fingerboard. This creates inefficient motion in the hand, thus wasting energy, and makes playing fast and relaxed more difficult.

A solution to this issue is to keep our fingers curled—in that “C” shape we talked about here—and move our fingers down and into the palm as they release from the strings. Our goal is to minimize the motion the fingers make. Bringing the finger toward the palm allows you to move from the back knuckle at the top of the hand. This allows for more dexterity and to move quickly with minimal effort.

We can start by exaggerating the motion and bring the fingers all the way back and down so they touch the palm, one at a time. Once you get used to that you can do a smaller motion. But it will train your fingers not to fly away from the fingerboard.

Chromatic scale exercise

We’ll play 1-2-3-4 on successive frets starting at the fifth fret. We want to allow the fingers to remain curved as they leave the string. So each time you move to a new finger, allow the finger that has just played to release gently off of the string and stay close to the fingerboard.

A variation you might try is to leave all the fingers down, but then go back and forth between two fingers lifting and fretting. For instance, place 1-2-3-4 down on the frets, but then lift 4 and go back and forth between 4 and 3. Then do the same keeping 1-2-3 down and go back and forth between 3 and 2. Think of the fingers like light switches: as soon as you lift off the string the light switch goes off and the finger stops moving.


We hope you enjoyed this short technique tip for the left hand! Want to see more technique lessons? Check out our Ukulele Technique resources page. And you can dive in even deeper with our progressive curriculum at Ukulele Corner Academy.