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davemchine
03-30-2017, 06:30 PM
I mostly play hymns and hawaiian songs and I'm told some of the hawaiian songs should use a reggae strumming pattern. I have viewed quite a few youtube video's but I am really struggling. Some video's say to strum down-mute-up-mute-down-mute. Some say down-up-mute-down-up-mute. Some say to mute with the palm of the strumming hand, others say to use the pinky of the hand on the neck, and others say to lift the fingers off and back on (I have no idea how this would work). Anyway, I'm obviously a mess.

I would appreciate help with how to strum, how to mute, and perhaps some easy beginner songs to practice on. Thanks!

robinboyd
03-30-2017, 06:46 PM
Alright I can't get my head around the first version. To me a reggae strum is DUXXDUXX OR XXDUXXDU. I actually prefer the second one over the first, but try both.

You can do it either by placing your little finger of your fretting hand lightly over all 4 strings to stop them from producing a sound OR if the chord frets all 4 strings, by partially lifting all fretting fingers off. You can also do combinations of the 2, which may be convenient depending on the chord shape.

The palm thing is what is commonly referred to as "chunking" and it is something different. It's useful to know, but not what you are looking for in this case.

An easy song to practice on is "Get up Stand up" by Bob Marley. You can play the whole thing using one chord, or add a second if you want. I recommend Am. Here is a video of me playing it, but I add Em every second bar, just to be fancy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4Lnh3LVU6o

UkingViking
03-30-2017, 07:42 PM
Alright I can't get my head around the first version. To me a reggae strum is DUXXDUXX OR XXDUXXDU. I actually prefer the second one over the first, but try both.


I beilieve I remember my music teacher in high school saying that reggea often switches the 2 and 4 beats with the 1 and 3 beats, or how you put it. If the chunk imitates the snare drum, doing it on 1 and 3 in stead of 2 and 4 makes sense.

robinboyd
03-30-2017, 07:47 PM
I beilieve I remember my music teacher in high school saying that reggea often switches the 2 and 4 beats with the 1 and 3 beats, or how you put it. If the chunk imitates the snare drum, doing it on 1 and 3 in stead if 2 and 4 makes sense.

Yep. I think the reason it is often done the other way is just because it's easier to practice. Keep in mind that I don't "chunk" for a reggae strum, though. It's a left hand mute...

jollyboy
03-31-2017, 12:43 AM
My understanding is that it's all about emphasizing the offbeat - personally I have always found this easier said than done as it somehow feels weirdly anti-intuitive and my brain tends to get a bit scrambled. Anyway...

I found this video about playing ska to be very useful:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9G5kPvoBkMM

jollyboy
03-31-2017, 12:46 AM
Also this simple 'pop-reggae' guitar strum can easily be adapted for uke (I have found it works well with some things):


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIUbrJ4sPNE

ukulelego
04-02-2017, 02:53 AM
I found this video about playing ska to be very useful:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9G5kPvoBkMM

That's a great video, well worth a watch

davemchine
04-02-2017, 05:45 AM
Thank you for all the responses everyone. I apologize for not responding quickly as I have been feeling under the weather. I will be viewing all of these video's this afternoon and I may post back with questions. Thank you again.

redpaul1
04-03-2017, 02:04 AM
Although reggae is played on the off-beat, reggae is not simply about off-beats, and it's not ska either. What makes reggae distinctive is the drumming - the 'one-drop'. Normally, rock (& ska & rocksteady) drummers hit the bass drum on beats 1 & 3, and the snare on beats 2 & 4 (http://www.freedrumlessons.com/drum-lessons/blues-shuffle-beats.php). In reggae, the drummer doesn't hit the bass on beat 1. He/she is said to 'drop' the one-beat. A typical reggae drum pattern might have the drummer playing 1-2-3-4 on the ride cymbal, 2 & 4 on the snare and 3-only on the bass:


Classic reggae drum pattern
1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4

Ride x x x x x x x x
Snare - x - x - x - x
Bass - - x - - - x -


This video takes you through how reggae is put together with 'one-drop' drumming, bass and guitar.


https://youtu.be/86oUQzDDfL4

Your challenge, as a solo performer, is to suggest on your ukulele the drum & bass elements of the reggae rhythm - given that there's no 1-beat...

redpaul1
04-03-2017, 02:33 AM
The real challenge with reggae strumming then is to establish the 1-beat so that you can tell your ear - and your listeners' ears - that the two beats to the bar that you're laying down in your reggae strum are coming on the 2 & 4 beats. Simply playing D (rest) D (rest) D (rest) D... (and reggae, unlike ska, is all about downbeats) is not enough. Without a 1-beat for reference, no-one will be able to tell whether you're playing a slow four-beats-to-the-bar 1 - 2 - 3 - 4, two-beats-to-the-bar on 1 & 3, or the desired two-beats-to-the-bar on 2 & 4.

There are two ways of doing this. One is to incorporate the reggae one-drop into your strum.


----1----2----3----4---1----2----3----4

----x----D---slap--D---x----D---slap--D


As demonstrated here by my friend the wonderfully talented ENNČ (Nakisha Esnard)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dccqiaAx-Tk

Just listen for that click of her nails on the soundboard on the 3-beat...

redpaul1
04-03-2017, 02:47 AM
... "strum slap strum strum slap strum" is not the easiest pattern to pick up initially. A very simple but effective method to establish the one-beat on your uke is to introduce it with an exaggerated upstroke at the 1st chord change and every chord change thereafter. Your next downbeat is then clearly on the 2-beat.



----1----2----3----4---1----2----3----4

----x----D----x----D---U----D----x----D

Here's a video I made a couple of years ago explaining this technique.


https://youtu.be/1-GUgT9x_KI


The exaggerated upstroke at the chord change helps keep your vocals in sync with the strum too. There's a natural tendency to want to sync your strum with your vocal, which is why so many attempts at reggae strumming fall over either at the first chord change, or as soon as the vocals come in. The upstroke satisfies that 'urge to sync' without sinking (ha! see what I did there?! :) ) your reggae rhythm.

redpaul1
04-03-2017, 02:49 AM
And finally, for review:


https://youtu.be/v4w3J-Z72ew

You'll notice in this video, I'm playing a baritone uke. Obviously, the less sustain on your uke the easier it will be to play reggae so all else being equal it's easier to get some reggae action going on a soprano than a bari, but in this video, I chose the bari deliberately to show that size needn't be an obstacle ;-o