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normantxt
06-25-2009, 09:11 PM
Halp. So i just got my ukulele yesterday and i dont know why but i have a problem strumming. i mean whenever my index finger hits the strings, my finger sometimes gets in between the strings and lags the strum. i cant keep a constant strum up and down without lagging in between strums. what can i do about this problem? what finger do you use to strum? and where is the placement of your strum finger? i read online that its suppose to be near the end of the fret board, above the hole.

Spooner
06-25-2009, 09:19 PM
"Typical" strumming takes place around the 12th fret with your pointer. You will be using the side of your finger. The best part of your pointer to use is the last joint i.e. where your nail is.

Try gliding it down (downstroke) softly making all the strings ring out.
Keep it loose.
Then try gliding it up (upstroke) making them all ring out.

Once you get that going try doing it faster until you have found your happy place.

buddhuu
06-25-2009, 11:38 PM
Don't panic, normantxt. :D Even the basics can take a little while to get.

Strum with your pointer/index finger. Importantly, stay relaxed. Don't let your hand tense up. Just brush the back of your fingernail downward. On the upstroke let the pad of your finger do the strum. If your fingernail is long then it might make contact too, which is fine.

Use the flexibility of your finger, hand and wrist. You shouldn't need to get most of the movement from your elbow. Keep it all loose.

to begin with, make sure that your hand brushes downward kind of parallel to the top/face of your uke. Try to avoid the strum kind of coming in from the front, as that'll make the finger jam thing worse. If you are relaxed and loose as you strum, and just start with that gentle brushing, you should find that your finger stops wedging into the strings.

I would strongly recommend that you use a metronome. Start it slow and just work at getting your strum to accurately follow the beat. Gradually speed it up. You may find that it is harder to get your rhythm down accurate at relatively slow speeds than at higher tempos. Work on all speeds to get that steady rhythm into your head and hands.

Metronome practice is one of those things you can do with relatively little concentration. You can do it for a few minutes or for half an hour. It will pay off.

If you don't have a metronome then you could download a software one, or try an online metronome such as: http://www.metronomeonline.com/

Just stick with it and it'll come. Just needs practice, like everything.

Good luck with it. :shaka:

ukulelebadass
06-26-2009, 02:25 AM
Try using a pick. I use "wedgie" brand rubber picks. They come in three different levels of stiffness and thickness. Some people prefer felt picks, but I find the wedgies give a great sound oun the uke and are way more maneuverable.

Some people will try to tell you that you shouldn't play the uke with a pick, but that is sheer poppycock as I posit the following:

1."They" have been manufacturing ukulele pics since the turn of the century (not the most recent turn, the one before that.)

2.Jumpin' Jim suggests the use of a pick to learn strumming technique in the "How to Strum" section of his beginning ukulele book.

3.Pick technology has come a long way in recent decades, picks are available made from materials that are designed to make a strum sound better than a finger can.

Whatever you do, practice is certainly the key. Whether you pick with a pick or strum with your fingers, or a little bit of both, maintaining a consistent rhythm and volume will come with practice. The metronome suggestion is a good one, also the Jumpin' Jim's book I mentioned might not be a bad investment.

Good luck, keep at it.

normantxt
06-26-2009, 06:40 AM
thanks for all your replies! i was just wondering because i was watching the uke minutes video, should i bend my pointer finger like a 90 degree? or should i keep it mildly straight, maybe a little curved, when i strum? again thanks!

also, i also find that when i do strum, i hit the G or the A, depending if i strum up or down, that its louder than the C, E, string sound. should i just strum lighter so that all the strings are hit evenly?

DaveVisi
06-26-2009, 07:01 AM
Yes, a lighter touch will help. I tend to "brush" the strings with the backs of my nails (all of them, not just index) and use the back of my thumb on the upstroke.

I wouldn't worry too much about specifics. It's pretty much "whatever works" for you.

hoosierhiver
06-26-2009, 07:07 AM
Having trouble strumming at first is normal if you've never played an instrument. Just keep at it, strum and strum and soon you will have it down.

Ukulele JJ
06-26-2009, 08:27 AM
I wouldn't worry too much about specifics. It's pretty much "whatever works" for you.

Absolutely. The idea is just to get so you can strum comfortably, producing a good sound. The "correct" form will naturally follow from that, and it will get more and more "correcter" the more you play.

:shaka:

JJ

Bender
06-26-2009, 09:21 AM
Apologies for jumping in on this thread but I've been wondering about my strumming deficiencies too....

Since I got my first uke a couple months back I have more or less been exclusively strumming with my thumb (outside edge near the nail, up and down, fingers resting on the top of the uke below the strings, all motion done with my thumb). I did read a "Strumming 101" tutorial somewhere that discusses the wide variations of strumming techniques...one finger, two finger, thumb, etc. I guess I considered anything beyond my thumb as an advanced skill...thumb strumming just feels natural to me and it is easy to get a good sound. The few times I tried using my pointed finger it sounds awful, like the original poster described.

I haven't touched a pick yet, don't even own any.

Am I developing a bad habit here by relying too much on my thumb? Maybe it is time to force myself to do more finger strumming and get some picks.

Ukulele JJ
06-26-2009, 10:33 AM
Am I developing a bad habit here by relying too much on my thumb? Maybe it is time to force myself to do more finger strumming and get some picks.

My personal opinion is that, while there's nothing wrong with the thumb strum, you probably would be well-served by working on your index finger strum. Mostly because that opens the doors to all sorts of fun techniques like "chunking".

I see no immediate need for you to get a pick, unless you just want to.

JJ

normantxt
06-26-2009, 11:29 AM
haha i didnt want to open a new thread but about the tuning of my uke, it doesnt sound right. and its going to take a week or two until my intelli imt 500 tuner comes so right now im relying on the online uke tuner. so far my ukulele doesnt seem to get the right tune. is it okay to keep tightening the string until i achieve it? or will it snap in my eye and make me go blind?

Denno
06-26-2009, 11:46 AM
haha i didnt want to open a new thread but about the tuning of my uke, it doesnt sound right. and its going to take a week or two until my intelli imt 500 tuner comes so right now im relying on the online uke tuner. so far my ukulele doesnt seem to get the right tune. is it okay to keep tightening the string until i achieve it? or will it snap in my eye and make me go blind?

Wear protective googles. :cool:

normantxt
06-26-2009, 01:20 PM
OHH im so dumb. correct me if im wrong, but when you tune the ukulele to http://www.get-tuned.com/ukulele_tuner.php your suppose to hold the fret for that specific chord right?! i think my strings are supposed to be gcea (oh btw can someone tell me the difference between capitalized letters like gCEA and non capitalized letters? also is g' the same as g#?)

Myala509
06-26-2009, 10:30 PM
GCEA is strung with the G string a full octave higher. It is called re entrant tuning. gCEA is with a low g. This makes it standard tuning with the g string being the lowest.

Ukuleleblues
06-27-2009, 01:28 AM
thanks for all your replies! i was just wondering because i was watching the uke minutes video, should i bend my pointer finger like a 90 degree? or should i keep it mildly straight, maybe a little curved, when i strum? again thanks!

also, i also find that when i do strum, i hit the G or the A, depending if i strum up or down, that its louder than the C, E, string sound. should i just strum lighter so that all the strings are hit evenly?

Check out these brochures on strumming http://www.coolhanduke.com/play.html

molokinirum
06-27-2009, 02:24 AM
Here are some simple chords you can play while practicing your strumming. It will sound like a song and impress your friends and family at the same time!

Simply play C Am F G7 C
You can play at any speed using or trying any strum pattern and in addition it will help with changing chords (if you need the help):music:

pink flamingo
06-27-2009, 04:10 AM
Just wondering, does anybody here have like a fall back strumming patern? Or do you try to vary it for every song you play?

As a noobie my first thought always is, hm wonder if I can play that in DDUUD.:rolleyes:

specialmike
06-27-2009, 04:28 AM
you have to play for more than a day for strumming to be "second nature" I played more than one day on my first uke to get fluent with strumming. Another few days to learn how to chunk correctly, and a few days to get the rhythm of it all. But once you've mastered that, you need to learn how to change chords smoothly and quickly.

Once that's done, it's priceless what you can do with it.

So... practice. play, love, and fun with it.
here's a link:http://www.youtube.com/user/HawaiiMusicSupply

I watched those when I got started.


Just wondering, does anybody here have like a fall back strumming patern? Or do you try to vary it for every song you play?

As a noobie my first thought always is, hm wonder if I can play that in DDUUD.:rolleyes:

I play D, Chunk, U(pause)U,D,U on new songs... but it evolves into something else later on.

UkeNukem
06-27-2009, 05:19 AM
If you have very little musical experience, strumming can feel pretty odd. One thing I have used with guitar classes was to separate the chording/strumming actions at first.

So, get your radio, iPod, CD palyer, etc. Get some nice steady music with a simple 4 beats (country, folk, or the like works well). Now, listen for two things. One the bass guitar/bass drum will be on beats 1 and 3. There might be a snare drum on 2 and 4 (the back beat). Cover the strings with your left hand. Practice a down stroke strum on 1 and 3 for a while, then try down on all 4, then maybe down on 2 and 4. Later try down on 1 and 3 and up on 2 and 4. Finally, try down on 1,2,3, and 4 and up in between.

This way you are using you left brain and concentrating on only one thing. Also, you can get into the music and feel how a simple beat can be a part of the whole. And you practice with others in the privacy of your own home.

Now, like the rest of us, add chords and repeat about 6 million times! :nana:

Bender
06-27-2009, 08:52 AM
Just wanted to say that I spent last night working on index finger strumming (and a bottle of whiskey :D) and WOW what a difference there is in sound (compared to using my thumb)! It's like my uke has gotten amp'ed!

One of the things that helped me was to actually slide my finger right across the top panel and fret board, ie, panel-fret-panel. At first I would hear a swish-chord-swish with each strum (the swishes from my finger sliding across the wood) but then I backed off just a bit while keeping the same motion and as I said WOW.

Thanks to all the advice that was offered here!

gigischill
07-16-2009, 08:16 AM
Thanks for all the info about strumming. What is "chunking"? I saw it mentioned on one of Aldrine's videos, but I can't figure out what it is. Thanks.

12imnew
07-16-2009, 09:44 AM
Thanks for all the info about strumming. What is "chunking"? I saw it mentioned on one of Aldrine's videos, but I can't figure out what it is. Thanks.
it's where you strum, while muting the strings... so you place the heel of your hand over the strings as you hit the strings. kinda just helps to keep the beat when you are playing and not necesserily wanting to play a chord on each beat (i'm not sure if that makes sense).
i found this video which may be of some use:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZxOof50iqk

Skottoman
07-16-2009, 10:34 AM
I too am a "thumb strummer". I cannot for the life of me get my hand to do the finger strums...

That said, I am pretty confident I can do some chunking/muting and very cool patterns with just my thumb. Not everything you can to with fingers (Triplets, etc), but I can do a wide mixture of sound muting with my palm, and varying pressure across different parts of the strings. When I get into a strummin' groove, I really FEEL it and start ROCKIN!

I still wish I could learn the finger strum, but when I try it sounds like I don't know how to play a Uke at all!!!

I should make a comparison audio track of the same chords, but how different the sound is between my "thumb" strum, and my "Finger" strum. WORLDS APART!

I need more practice I guess...

Cheers,
Skottoman

HaileISela
07-16-2009, 11:04 AM
Thanks for all the info about strumming. What is "chunking"? I saw it mentioned on one of Aldrine's videos, but I can't figure out what it is. Thanks.

check out this video:

http://ukuleleunderground.com/2008/08/23/uke-minutes-23-chunking/

Skottoman
07-16-2009, 03:02 PM
Thought I'd do a little experiment, although it didn't turn out so great.

I recorded (really badly just using my computer mic), some chords to "I shot the sherriff".

First half is with my thumb, second half is me TRYING to use my index finger for strumming. I did my best, but didn't really practice before doing this, just a quick dirty recording.

I can hear the difference, can you? (crappy distorted recording aside)
Cheers,
Skottoman

Oh, the uke is a Martin SO.

http://www.baileymusic.com/ukulele/test.mp3

12imnew
07-16-2009, 11:41 PM
Thought I'd do a little experiment, although it didn't turn out so great.

I recorded (really badly just using my computer mic), some chords to "I shot the sherriff".

First half is with my thumb, second half is me TRYING to use my index finger for strumming. I did my best, but didn't really practice before doing this, just a quick dirty recording.

I can hear the difference, can you? (crappy distorted recording aside)
Cheers,
Skottoman

Oh, the uke is a Martin SO.

http://www.baileymusic.com/ukulele/test.mp3
ey, so you tend to catch your fingers on the strings when you strum using your finger? 'cause i don't know if this will help any, or if it's pointless, but i taught myself guitar and i learned with a pick and then went on to learn with my fingers (both strumming and picking) so now that i've got a uke (admittedly only a week or so ago so you can ignore me for sure, hahah) i can use my fingers fairly ok...

the way i do it though is to strum as if i'm holding a pick, but not be holding one. i don't know if this limits me in any way. i actually intend buying some uke picks (i know most people do not approve) because i see no harm doing what i find easier in a situation where what i'm playing is not limited by the tool i'm using. i can change to using my hands when it's necesery.

cocohonk
07-17-2009, 10:25 AM
I'm also primarily a thumb strummer, but I can finger strum as well if needed. Mostly it's because for some reason, my rhythm gets messed up a lot more on the finger than the thumb (especially if I'm singing). So, I use my thumb for most strumming, unless it's something specific - then I use my fingers.

There's a kind of strumming where you'd strum down with your finger and up with your thumb, which is something I'm learning to do (which is also a bit like the aforementioned pretending you have a pick and strumming it).

But anyway, some uke players have told me that you could strum with your feet if you'd like, as long as it sounds good and you're having fun with it. Use your finger or your thumb or a pick - it's really up to you.

As for chunking - until recently I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to chunk, even after watching all those videos posted above and following other people's advices on it. I felt really stupid. :D But then, I kept at it, and one day, I can. I was psyched.
Chunking seems to be quite readily achievable for most, but if not, keep practicing!

Harrison
07-17-2009, 06:15 PM
Yes, Chunking takes a while to get used to with. I am also learning this from Aldrine video, and the "Wonderful Tonight Uke lessons" is a good one for chunking practice. I am still far from mastering chunking, but I am much better than 3 months ago... I just need more practice.
For now, the single finger roll is still very difficult for me. ;)

ichadwick
07-18-2009, 02:03 AM
Halp. So i just got my ukulele yesterday and i dont know why but i have a problem strumming. i mean whenever my index finger hits the strings, my finger sometimes gets in between the strings and lags the strum. i cant keep a constant strum up and down without lagging in between strums. what can i do about this problem? what finger do you use to strum? and where is the placement of your strum finger? i read online that its suppose to be near the end of the fret board, above the hole.
Since you obviously can't use the shift key on the keyboard either, I would suggest the problem is in your coordination skills. Practice your typing so you can press the shift key, then hit the appropriate letter before letting go of the shift key in one easy motion. Press shift-hit letter-release. Press shift-hit letter-release. Once you've got that down, try alternating capitals with lowercase letters rapidly.

It takes practice and effort, but it's one of those transferrable skills that will help your strumming immensely. Strumming is, after all, like writing, a communication skill. Polish any of your communication skills and they all benefit. People who can use proper capitalization are stellar stummers, by and large. And those who can punctuate correctly are generally great fingerpickers, too. It's been said that if you master the apostrophe, the E chord is a breeze. I've heard Jake Shimabukuro is so erudite he can use a semicolon effectively without missing a beat.
:p
PS. It is "help", not ""halp."

gigischill
07-19-2009, 03:00 PM
Thanks for all the responses about chunking. The videos will be helpful -- I have a lot of work to do! Lovin' this UU website!

pamelamama
07-19-2009, 04:08 PM
I also struggle with strums, and I just bought this e-book which was pretty helpful:

http://ukulelehunt.com/2009/07/15/ukulele-strumming-strums/

Citrus
07-19-2009, 04:19 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78nr8QMaUbI#t=4m50s
He explains some things that really help, especially when it comes to supporting using your thumb.
My strumming dilemma is making sure I have a consistent strum at very fast speeds as well as something I've been trying to steal from jake shimabukuro (I've stolen things from him before ;) )
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puSkP3uym5k#t=3m29s
that bit where he switches between what seem to be 16th and 32nd notes, i just cant quite double my speed like that, I think that one is just gonna have to require me starting slow and building up the speed.

itsme
07-19-2009, 04:26 PM
If your fingers or nails are getting caught in the strings, then you're strumming too hard.

Check out how Uni stums her uke here... very light, she uses her whole hand/wrist to strum, very effectively I think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RofjMukTTZM

molokinirum
07-25-2009, 04:00 PM
Halp. So i just got my ukulele yesterday and i dont know why but i have a problem strumming. i mean whenever my index finger hits the strings, my finger sometimes gets in between the strings and lags the strum. i cant keep a constant strum up and down without lagging in between strums. what can i do about this problem? what finger do you use to strum? and where is the placement of your strum finger? i read online that its suppose to be near the end of the fret board, above the hole.

Here is a great site for strumming instruction on the uke. It has simple videos that shows the strum pattern and you can strum along with the teacher.
www.ezfolk.com/uke/Tutorials/Strumming/strumming.html