PDA

View Full Version : Strumming sweet spot on a ukulele



RLM3121
10-23-2018, 08:10 AM
My 6 year old granddaughter has noticed that guitars are strummed over the sound hole and ukuleles are strummed where the neck meets the body. She asked her mother about that and she suggested she ask grandpa at Thanksgiving.

I assume it it is either the difference in string length or string tension or maybe both. Anyway, Id like to hear some opinions on this.

My granddaughter thinks grandpa is pretty smart and I would hate to let her down.;)

Ray

Ukecaster
10-23-2018, 08:42 AM
In a post a long time ago, UU member Seeso posted:

The closer to the mid-point of the string (i.e. the twelfth fret) that you strum, the fuller the sound will be. This is because the string vibrates more evenly.

If you were to divide the strings into quarters, then video yourself strumming about 1/4 up from the bridge, then watch the thing in really slow motion, you'd note the the bottom and top quarter vibrate together, and the the middle half vibrates on its own. (This is a poor paraphrasing of something Dave Means pointed out elsewhere, but I hope it's reasonably clear.)

This produces different overtones (secondary tones???) than strumming midway along the scale length.

Not to say that even strumming smack up against the dang bridge is wrong, per se. If you're looking for the plinkier sound, that's where you'll find it.

It's simply that the physics of the strings will produce fuller sounding notes, especially on a short-scale instrument like the uke, if you strum about midway on the strings.

ripock
10-23-2018, 08:45 AM
If you hold a uke in the traditional manner, in the crook of your arm, then the hand extends beyond the sound hole.

Another good reason to do this is the fact that the closer you strum to the bridge, the twangier the ukulele sounds. Since the uke is already twangy, it is good to mitigate that effect by playing away from the bridge. I use a strap and therefore I can strum wherever I want without worrying about the uke slipping. So I play sul ponticello, at the bridge, when I want that sound; I play sul tasto, over the fretboard, when I want a mellower sound; most of the time I play dulce, over the sound hole, because it is comfortable to rest my arm atop the ukulele and dangle my hand over the sound hole.

UkerDanno
10-23-2018, 08:47 AM
My 6 year old granddaughter has noticed that guitars are strummed over the sound hole and ukuleles are strummed where the neck meets the body.

That's true...:agree: your granddaughter is very smart.


The closer to the mid-point of the string (i.e. the twelfth fret) that you strum, the fuller the sound will be. This is because the string vibrates more evenly.

:agree:

Jerryc41
10-23-2018, 10:22 AM
Pluck one string near the bridge and keep plucking as you move toward the headstock. You will notice a definite change in the sound. You can use this to your advantage to get different sounds when you're playing.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
10-23-2018, 10:33 AM
for me, the bottom line that I tell my students is to simply strum where your hand falls over the strings naturally.
since the guitar has a larger body it is possible to strum over the sound hole. the uke is much smaller and so
wherever your hand falls when you strum is OK... in my book :)

I don't pay attention to where I strum my ukes, just where my hand naturally meets the strings :)

keep uke'in',

Lacole
10-24-2018, 05:25 AM
I try to pick/strum over the centre of my sound hole. With my ukuleles I get a fuller sound.

Tootler
10-24-2018, 10:26 AM
I tend to strum where the neck meets the body or over the section of neck that's over the body. I tend to finger pick over the sound hole. It's like Rod Higuchi says, it's where my hand tends to fall naturally.

MopMan
10-24-2018, 09:24 PM
I have noted that I can get a sweeter, more sensitive tone when picking or strumming near the midpoint of a string's vibrating length.

On some instruments the tone changes quite a lot as you start to move away from the twelfth fret and towards the saddle. This can be used as an expressive device, offering a larger palate of available tonal flavors. For me, the sweet spot is wherever I find the sound I like at any given moment.