View Full Version : Trouble strumming

11-20-2009, 06:52 AM
Apologies if it's an old question, I did search but didn't find anything.

I'm a couple of weeks into my Uke, getting the chords down well now, but I'm struggling to settle on a strumming technique, not pattern but actual strumming.

I either
use my thumb, going up with the nail, down with flesh.
Use most fingers, catching across the nail.
Been also trying to use my index finger but..........

With all of the above I keep snagging the first or last string a bit:(
It's really bugging me. Is it just a newbie hurdle that I'll grow through quickly, or is there any good tuition vids or advice available to help me along, please.

Thanks in advance for any replies.

11-20-2009, 06:56 AM
I found it helpful to play over the neck instead of the soundboard. The lesser distance beneath the strings helps prevent your fingers from getting deep enough to get caught.

11-20-2009, 07:05 AM
I found that I have to shape the sides of my nails a little to keep them from catching (see Aldrines)

if its your finger tips dont strum so hard.

11-20-2009, 07:45 AM
Thanks for the help guys.:)

11-20-2009, 04:56 PM
Yes it will help if you strum where the neck meets the body! Good luck and congrats on the progress!!!:)

11-23-2009, 01:04 PM
Don't thinkaboutit, Try strumming to the lyrics, also heresy among heresys, try using a pick, I use a thin guitar pick on the fat end of the pick. Just keep strummin.

11-25-2009, 10:56 PM
I found it helpful to play over the neck instead of the soundboard. The lesser distance beneath the strings helps prevent your fingers from getting deep enough to get caught.

This is very sound advice. Strumming over the fretboard (12th fret or upward) is probably one of the most widely accepted practices. Unlike guitar, it's relatively rare to see uke players thrashing away over the soundhole.

I strum with my index finger mostly, or with the thumb to accent notes in arpeggios. To avoid getting yr fingers caught up, consider...

* retrozombie's tip about strumming over the fretboard

* keep your fingers very loose and relaxed. Same for the wrist. Some people kind of extend and stiffen the index finger. There's no need.

* start slow and build up speed when you're happy with your strumming at lower speeds

* check out the angle of your hand to see if a tiny bit of wrist rotation would give a better angle of finger attack and lessen chances of getting the old digits jammed in there.

Good luck. :)

11-26-2009, 12:15 AM
DON'T WORRY :) this is something that WILL happen if you are new to stringed instruments at least to the uke that I know of. My fingers would ALWAYS get caught between the strings. Don't stiffen your fingers you will always get caught that way, if it helps I use the broad edge of my nails usually when I strum. Great example, think of the hands of a hula girl, they're strong but they are not stiff, they can flow like water but at the same time appear to be as hard as rock.

It's about flexibility which is something you'll have to pick up, it's all about flowing with the instrument.

This would be a great video for you to watch: Schizophrenic Snowflakes - Aldrine Guerrero (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGJduc5_URA)

Pay attention to the movements of his strumming hand, ignore how well he plays the song, picture in your head the snowflakes, incorporate that with his strumming hand. Watch his strumming hand kind of get the feeling that it's "strong" in a sense like a rock but not stiff with the beat of the music increases, and when it slows watch his hand become like water flowing to the beat of the music. Try to get a sense of that when you're playing, your strum is the heartbeat, the soul of the song, and the place it's going to be first is in your hands, it's not something you can learn right off the bat. It takes practice lots of practic, but eventually you'll get the hang of it, and your hands will be flowing to the soul of the music.

11-26-2009, 02:49 AM
Thanks for all the advice, it's been loads of help. I think relaxing a bit as I get more confident playing is helping.
I'm definitely seeing improvement. Thanks again for the helpful replies.

I'm also strumming on the neck more, instead of just below it, which helps.

11-26-2009, 05:52 AM
The A is slightly flat, otherwise fine.