In this lesson I’ll walk you through a simple solo ukulele arrangement of the nursery rhyme Itsy Bitsy spider (or as I knew it growing up, Incy Wincy Spider).
This simple arrangement was taken from David Lawson’s excellent Ebook Fingerstyle Classics.
It’s quite a simple one to learn so if you’ve never done any fingerpicking before it’s a great starter piece to exercise your fingers and get them used to picking the strings individually.
Itsy Bitsy Spider Tab
Here’s the tab if you’d prefer to work directly from it rather than along with the video.
Itsy Bitsy Spider Lyrics
Here are the lyrics if you’re planning on singing along (which you’ll never catch me doing).
The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout
Down came the rain
And washed the spider out
Out came the sun
And dried up all the rain
And the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again
Even if you can’t sing (like me), it can be very useful to have the lyrics in your head as you’re learning a song as they’ll guide you and help with things like timing and also spotting if you get a note wrong.
There’s nothing too challenging here, you’ll notice from the video that I’m using my thumb to do a lot of the work on this one. You could equally play it by assigning a finger to each string and plucking rather than using your thumb. Find whatever seems the most comfortable for you.
As a rule of thumb (no pun intended) I tend to use my thumb for relatively simple fingerpicking arrangements that run at a relatively slow tempo and have a mix of strums and individual strings being plucked.
The reason I do this is that I find it easier to do a thumb strum than I do a fake strum (mimicking a strum by plucking all the strings in sequence quickly – here’s a video on the fake strum if you want to learn the technique), but there are times when using your thumb simply doesn’t work.
And that’s pretty much it for this one, I hope you enjoy learning it.
I’d recommend taking a look at David’s Ebook Fingerstyle Classics if you are interested in getting started with fingerpicking. David has arranged a lot of old classics that will suit those looking to move to the next level.