Lifting Fingers without Noise on Ukulele

This video from Jeff Peterson is all about lifting fingers without noise on ukulele. Playing the ukulele can sometimes involve extra noise we don’t want to hear on the instrument. Some of these can be distracting, and others can actually get in the way of the notes we’re trying to play. For instance, do you ever hear the noise of the open string ringing when you lift a left-hand finger off a fretted note? If we lift too quickly this can happen. And if the open string clashes with other notes we’re playing it can sound pretty bad.

But luckily there’s an easy solution to this. So in this article we’ll look at an exercise to make your note transitions smooth and accurate every time.

Lifting fingers exercise

First, what’s causing the open string to lift is when you lift off of the string too quickly. We get a pull-off sound when we do that, even if we’re not trying to get a slur sound. So the solution is to lift off of the string slowly. However, you’ll notice if you lift too slowly you also get a buzzing sound: bzztt. And we want to avoid this noise too. Here’s an exercise that will help:

  1. Release pressure off of the string quickly, but keep your finger touching the string. You should hear silence and no bzztt sound.
  2. Lift your finger off the string only after step 1.

That’s it! It’s a really simple solution, but it will make your transitions between notes so much cleaner and removes these extra, distracting noises.

Practice to build up accuracy as you lift fingers off strings

So let’s practice that by moving across strings. We’ll start on the third string on the third fret: play the note, release pressure quickly but maintain contact with the string, and then lift off the string. Now move to the second string on the third fret and do the same thing. Finally, do the same thing on the first string. Take your time and build up your accuracy.

While it will be difficult to think about this two-step process when playing fast scales or pieces with quick, intricate fingering, the more you practice this exercise, the more it will become second nature.


We hope you enjoyed this quick technique tip! We have many more lessons on ukulele technique at our Ukulele Technique Resources page. And if you want to dive even deeper and get a clear roadmap for your progress, consider joining Ukulele Corner Academy!