How to Strum Your Ukulele: 6 Tips to Get Started | Ukulele Magazine

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By Ukulenny

One view of playing uke that often gets overlooked is the actual technique of strumming. This is specially important for beginners who are wholly new to the instrument. In this tutorial you will learn how to strum uke with six different strumming tips and tricks. This will help improve your tone and get you feeling better about attacking some more difficult strum patterns .

Ukulele Strumming Tips:

Location, Location, Location

Although it ’ s an acoustic instrument, I like to think that the uke has a built in spirit knob. Depending on where you strum ( near to the bridge, over the soundhole, over the neck ) you can tailor the sound of the uke to suit your preferences. My odoriferous spot is always between the soundhole and the end of the body. Find your spot and experiment with using both the thumb and the index finger to strum .

Rules of Thumb

The hitchhike can frequently create the warmest and most tender sounds of the uke. Some players even play entirely with the ovolo ! Practice good flick proficiency by applying pressure on the G string, then following through the rest of the strings. Don ’ metric ton try to “ hit ” the uke, but preferably, rake your thumb across merely like a harpist might glide along their strings. once you get the pitch move, you can alternate between a broken strum ( hearing person strings ), and a solid strum ( just cursorily going from top to bottom ).

It’s All in the Wrist (and Fingers)

With the hitchhike strum, you can keep your wrist in the lapp position and only use your finger to strum. But when you strum with your index finger, you will need to twist your wrist and use a “ windshield wiper ” movement and ensure that you ’ rhenium flexing your index finger and relaxing it back. The wrist should be the main mover of the strum—imagine the motion you make when you turn a doorknob. Minimize your movements by aiming to strum between the lead and bottom strings, alternatively of strumming from above the body to below the body. Try to use the center of your collar when strumming with your exponent finger .
As a founder, it ’ sulfur constantly a good theme to try to experiment with ovolo and index finger strumming. The finger offers a strong, more mellow tone and is easier to strum with when you are learning chords for songs. The index finger is normally a bit easier to control—for exercise, I about constantly entirely use the exponent finger when executing more complex strum patterns. But it besides gives a bright strait with the attack of the smash, so you might have to practice a bit more to get a high sound. The adept thing is that there ’ s no wrong or correct answer—the choice of which to use is wholly up to you !
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Ups and Downs

With both the ovolo and index finger strum proficiency, it ’ s a good theme to practice up-strums in the like way that you practice down-strums. Try 4 downs and 4 ups, keeping the rhythm method of birth control, pace, and volume for each strum. ( With finger technique, you can strum up by using the side of the thumb or the nail of the ovolo. ) When using different strum patterns, exercise some restraint in your rhythm method of birth control by moving up and down at a coherent beat. The island strum might be “ down, down up, up down up, ” but while you ’ re executing this strum you ’ re silent actually moving your pass up and down in prison term. Refer to the diagrams below to see what ’ s happening during an island strum :

To Swing or Not to Swing

Ukulele playing typically features two types of rhythm : swing strum and straight strum. Swing rhythm are normally used in sleep together, blues, Hawaiian, reggae, and R & B music. It ’ second sometimes hard to distinguish and execute the swing strum, so it helps to use counting to your advantage. Try saying “ 1-2-3, ” or “ 1 and a, 2 and a… ” while matching your strums with the diagram below. Notice that your down strums will match on the heavy beats, and the up strums tend to be a little clean .

Bonus: To Nail or Not to Nail

Another common practice for uke playing involves growing out and shaping your nails. By filing down the edges of each right hand nail, you efficaciously create “ picks ” for each finger. Take some weeks to grow out the nails and shape them and see if you like the raw, clear, vibrant sounds of your uke.


Hope these tips give you the opportunity to try raw techniques ! Keep working on finding your desired sound. Uke on !
The Ukulele Owner’s Manual is the reserve that belongs in every uke musician ’ s instrument event. Each chapter was written by the experts and performers at Ukulele Magazine, with topics ranging from commonsense instrument caution to fixing rattles and buzzes to a graphic history of the musical instrument. Book owners can besides download how-to videos with bit-by-bit guidance on coarse set-up and sustenance topics .

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Category : Tutorial

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