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Thread: Can't figure out strum pattern for a song

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    Default Can't figure out strum pattern for a song

    Hi,

    I'm new to the Ukulele, and most of my experience comes from tutorials on youtube.

    I want to learn this song I recently found on the internet http://f.tabstabs.com/page/330160 (English Rose by Ed Sheeran),
    but also noticed that the strum pattern isn't provided for any of the songs on the website.

    What could be a recommended strum pattern for this song, and how should I play along with the sheet music?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Twin Cities Area, Minnesota
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    It seems to me that the pattern, in a fast four, is D D (D) UDU, skipping the down in beat 3. This rhythm seems to be used through the song. I don’t listen to a lot of music, being a music teacher myself, but I sure do appreciate the lyric songs that I have heard by Ed. And it was fun to see him on Game of Thrones.
    Playing ukulele since January 2016.

    Have you participated in the thread, "How the Ukulele Found You?" If not, please consider adding your story--they are just fun to read.

    http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/...lele-found-you

  3. #3
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    I have never in my life looked for a 'strum pattern' to a song;
    if I know the tune or the record,I just try to more or less copy
    what I hear and what I am familiar with.It has never been an
    issue with me.But many people ask similar questions, so be
    patient,because while I can't help you, I am sure someone
    will be along soon to help with your query!
    All power and respect to you Concert,Tenor and Baritone players, but Soprano is what does it for me every time!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
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    906

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TopDog View Post
    I have never in my life looked for a 'strum pattern' to a song;
    if I know the tune or the record,I just try to more or less copy
    what I hear and what I am familiar with.It has never been an
    issue with me.But many people ask similar questions, so be
    patient,because while I can't help you, I am sure someone
    will be along soon to help with your query!
    I'm with you. Don't get too hung up on a strum pattern. When I make tutorial videos, people ask me what the strum pattern is and I don't even know what to tell them because it's very hard for me to slow it down and think of exactly what I'm strumming. I just do what feels/sounds best to me.

    But try the advice a couple posts up with that pattern and let us know how it is!
    Just Feel The Groooooove

  5. #5
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    Dec 2017
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    Thanks for the advice, I guess that strumming is supposed to come more naturally at times then with a set pattern.

    But yeah, the D D (D) UDU works great, thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Southern California
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopDog View Post
    I have never in my life looked for a 'strum pattern' to a song;
    if I know the tune or the record,I just try to more or less copy
    what I hear and what I am familiar with.It has never been an
    issue with me.But many people ask similar questions, so be
    patient,because while I can't help you, I am sure someone
    will be along soon to help with your query!
    I agree with TD. I don’t study strums either. I have a few “strum” books, but I just use ‘em for the tunes.

    My advice is to just relax and get the basics down. Find your keys for singing, learn some chords and basic strums, sing and strum some songs that you already know, and, most of all, just enjoy the music you make.

    That’s how I started out, and, look at me, I’m a senior member in the Ukulele Underground!
    Kala "Spalted" baritone - Lo D GBD
    Kala tenor eight string - gG cC EE AA
    Gold Tone tenor banjolele - Hi-D GBD

    Luna "Peace" concert - Lo-G CEA
    Flea "Red" concert - Hi-G CEA

    Kala "Exotic Mahogany" soprano - Hi-A DF#B
    Mahalo yellow "Smiley" soprano (Dad's Day gift) - C
    Ka-Lai Pineapple soprano (old) gift - C

    Eat, drink and make merry for tomorrow you’ll be too old.

    God gave us old age so we wouldn't mind dying so much.

  7. #7
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    Not just me,then? I was told after my original post,
    by a pal, that I came over as 'a bit pompous' with
    my casual dismissal of 'strum patterns'; but as said
    by Kyle23 and Down Up Dick, it is something that has
    simply never occured to me or bothered me!
    To repeat, I enjoy playing, and if playing a well loved
    tune, I just hear it playing in my mind,and do my best
    to get as close to it as I feel is needed.
    But I understand that many newbies want to cover as
    many aspects of playing as possible, to improve their
    'game'. Fair enough. I guess a lot of my not heeding
    'strum patterns' is because I was a rhythm guitarist for
    many centuries,and then (as now) I just played what I
    felt fitted. Keep on playing jzz065, you will soon be at
    stage you want to be.And beyond!
    That's the simple beauty of making your own music!
    All power and respect to you Concert,Tenor and Baritone players, but Soprano is what does it for me every time!

  8. #8
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    Twin Cities Area, Minnesota
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    No worries, Top Dog. I think you’re right in your beliefs and practice. But you are also kind to step back and to consider how your words might cause anxiety to someone who is stressed out about a strumming pattern.

    I think it might be a generational issue. If you see the videos by most of the prominent ukulele vloggers (e.g. YouTube), strumming patterns are always discussed. My own students (usually by 8th Grade) get very concerned about strumming the right pattern. The answer to “just experiment and find what works” doesn’t solve the anxiety over the need for the “right” strum.

    I make play along videos based on actual performances and I avoid talking about strum patterns most of the time, hoping that other teachers will discuss those issues with their students as they see fit.

    Meanwhile, in the groups I play with (when I have the chance), 99% of the music is performed with a straight shuffle strum, which isn’t the right answer for every song, either.

    So, I simply strum a pattern that I feel matches...it might be with a alternating thumb/strum pattern, a picking pattern, a rhythm with chunking/chucking, etc. Nobody hears it anyway. And most of the time I’m singing louder than the ukulele anyway (trained operatic tenor that has done opera and will do so again).

    The only song that seems to require or desperately begs for a specific pattern is IZ’s Over the Rainbow, which I keep working on (I’m almost there, but when I go back and listen to the original, I still find things to fix).

    So I think the experimenting is fun...but I see the anxiety strumming patterns bring to young players (generationally, not in terms of how long they have been playing), and I’m happy to try to help to relieve that anxiety, too.
    Playing ukulele since January 2016.

    Have you participated in the thread, "How the Ukulele Found You?" If not, please consider adding your story--they are just fun to read.

    http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/...lele-found-you

  9. #9
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    Jan 2016
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    I don't think it's a generational issue. It's just a matter of experience. These days, strumming patters don't worry me in the slightest. I can just work something out naturally. I year or two ago, I would have sounded like the OP, though.

  10. #10
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    Feb 2017
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    this is a very interesting thread because this whole strum problem stems from how we define music and making music. For most people making music entails faithfully mimicking a song they've heard. The strum pattern is a major part of this endeavor. My friends and I are more interested in self-expression rather than playing a Metallica song note for note. For us, replicating someone else's strum is not important.

    This isn't to say that the strum is not important. When I started playing ukulele, the very first thing I did was start creating my own strums. I noticed that down strokes sound a bit different from up strokes. I thought of an up-down stroke as the sound "dum dee"; then I started stringing together these sounds in a rhythm like "dum dee dee dum dum dum dum dum dee dee dum". Then I started playing that pattern in a progression like the simple I IV V progression.

    Anyway, all I'm saying is that I can see where copying the strum is integral to some people's definition of playing music whereas with me it is a negligible thing.

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