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View Full Version : I need serious help with "Chucking!" :(



applescruff
09-09-2010, 02:34 PM
Hey, I've been playing for about a month and absolutely cannot wrap my head around chucking... I've watched about 12342345 youtube tutorials telling me to "slap" the uke or just strum quicker. Nothing helps!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04X2GSLEvVo
Here's me trying to chuck. Perhaps you'll see something in my form? The closest I can get is to mute the strings with a spare finger on my left hand on the fret board, as you can see!

seeso
09-09-2010, 03:25 PM
I can't really tell if you're using your thumb to strum or not, but it looks like you are. It is possible to chunk with a thumb strum, but it's much harder.

Take a look at this video:
http://ukuleleunderground.com/2008/08/uke-minutes-23-chunking/

Ukulele JJ
09-09-2010, 03:40 PM
First of all, it looks like you're strumming with your thumb. Is that true?

I find it nearly impossible to chuck with a thumb strum. I use my index finger nearly all the time. I strum over about the 12th fret, and I keep the finger nice and relaxed and "noodley". :-)

Try this: Play a simple DUDUDUDU strum with your index finger over the 12th fret or so. Nice and steady. Nothing fancy.

You could (if you wanted) count out the beat as you play. Out loud or in your head:

One and Two and Three and Four and

One and Two and Three and Four and

Notice that your "down" strums are on each number (one, two, three, four). Your "up" strums are in between the numbers, on the "ands".

Next, forget about strumming for a bit and treat your uke like a percussion instrument (maybe a bongo drum?) Keep your hand where it would be for strumming, but instead hit your uke on the strings and body with your palm. Your thumb should be more or less parallel with your top string during the hit. The base of your wrist will be over or near the soundhole.

Do the count again (One and Two and...), hitting the uke on beats two and four:

One and (hit) and Three and (hit) and

One and (hit) and Three and (hit) and

Remember, you're not strumming yet. You're just playing your "Bongo Uke" on the correct beat.

So far, so good, eh? Now you just have to put the two things together.

It's true that you'll be strumming down with your index finger and immediately muting the strings with your palm. But don't think about it that way! You'll just go crazy trying to coordinate everything.

If you simply do the index finger strum and the "my uke is a bongo" trick at the same time, as if two different people were playing (a strummer and a drummer), then the "chunk" will occur automatically, as a natural byproduct of the process.

Nothing about your strum should change. Nothing about your bongo-uke-playing should change. They'll just both be happening together, using the same hand, on the same ukulele.

That's how I think about it, anyway. Might help you. Might not. :cool:

JJ

Regster
09-09-2010, 03:50 PM
I learned chunking by using my pointer finger to strum down then hit all four string with my palm. I did it slow at first until I got the hang of it. Hopefully it helps you and if it doesn't don't give up I know it gets discouraging but keep at it :D.

applescruff
09-09-2010, 04:39 PM
You all are a godsend. Thanks, I'll try these ideas, too.

Also, I almost always strum with my thumb... I'll switch it up then! =/

iggy
09-09-2010, 04:41 PM
@applescruff, I don't know why, but I can't see a link to your video.

Paul December
09-09-2010, 04:59 PM
For the life of me, I too couldn't figure it out even after watching countless youtube videos...
...then one day I saw a guy chunking on his guitar at a Guitar Center, and was able to do it withing a couple seconds. Really is simple after you see it in person.

mm stan
09-09-2010, 06:51 PM
just try a simple beat, and a simple chord for staters...strum the strings, and touch the strings with your fingers or palm to deaden the sound of the strings keeping
the same rhythm and repeat...

cb56
09-10-2010, 03:24 AM
Ok, I'm just starting out too so if I give some wrong advice feel free to correct me.
It seems to me that you are also strumming by moving your whole arm like alot of guitar players do.
Watch this video about strumming by turning your wrist.
http://ukuleleunderground.com/2008/01/uke-minute-2-basic-strum/
IMO that smaller wrist motion combined with using the index finger (instead of thumb) for strumming, should put you in a better position for chucking. After you start the chuck (strum) all in one motion land on all four strings with the part of your hand right under the thumb. Remember you're twisting your wrist like you are turning a door knob.
Hope this is helpful and not confusing you.

applescruff
09-10-2010, 07:42 AM
@cb56
I played guitar for a while so... That'll do it! Haha, thanks! Looks like it's back to basics for me. ;)

applescruff
09-10-2010, 07:51 AM
Holy crap. Just by using my wrist and playing with my index finger... I managed one pretty fantastic chuck almost right away!
Consistency will come with time, I imagine... Still not there 100%. Thanks though! You all have been so helpful. :D

spookefoote
09-10-2010, 08:14 AM
It's curious, different strokes for different folks (no pun intended) but I guess it's what works for the individual. I started uke on a uke banjo when I was a kid and always used my thumb for this technique and blocked with the fleshy heel of my thumb. I've just tried using my index finger and I get an occasional squeeking sound. Good luck with your chucking

applescruff
09-10-2010, 08:28 AM
TA! Nice to know it wasn't just me! ;)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fo4AgccEL5Q

<-- Check it out, guys!

spookefoote
09-10-2010, 08:45 AM
You go girl, nice one, sounds darn near perfick to me.

misterpk
09-10-2010, 09:04 AM
Woohoo! I love the feeling of finally getting something right after working hard on it! Congrats!

Isn't it amazing how a small change in technique can make something so much easier? :)

Ukulele JJ
09-10-2010, 09:13 AM
<-- Check it out, guys!

Holy crap! You are now the "Queen of the Chuck". :-)

JJ

Jerlial Prophet
09-10-2010, 09:27 AM
Wow! I've been following this thread and to see the great advice you got and the beautiful way in which you just pounced on it and improved your playing is awsome (and in less than a day no less!). Congrats!

cb56
09-10-2010, 10:38 AM
I'm not 100% at it either but I'm better than I was 2 weeks ago. I've been using a metronome to practice my strumming technique and stuff. Started out real slow then gradually got better and faster. The way I see it, chucking is a percussion sound so if I hear a note sounding I'm not landing my hand on all 4 strings in one motion and damping the strings. If I hear a note sound, I over exaggerate the twisting motion on the next chunk to the point of flinging my 4 fingers away from the uke.

applescruff
09-10-2010, 03:15 PM
@Ukulele JJ @Jerlial Prophet @Spookefoote @misterpk

Thanks! ;)
Yeah, once I was strumming correctly, everything just sort of fell into place!

applescruff
09-10-2010, 03:16 PM
I'm not 100% at it either but I'm better than I was 2 weeks ago. I've been using a metronome to practice my strumming technique and stuff. Started out real slow then gradually got better and faster. The way I see it, chucking is a percussion sound so if I hear a note sounding I'm not landing my hand on all 4 strings in one motion and damping the strings. If I hear a note sound, I over exaggerate the twisting motion on the next chunk to the point of flinging my 4 fingers away from the uke.

Interesting! Filed away for future reference!

RawrGazzawrs
09-10-2010, 04:32 PM
you could mute the strings for the split second you need to chunk. just strum when the strings are muted :)

but i think of a chunk as kinda a half strum...

alohilani1215
09-18-2010, 01:56 PM
this is by far the most helpful chucking place ever. lol especially the whole "uke is a bongo drum" one :DD made me laugh