View Full Version : strumming

02-21-2011, 07:50 AM
I am completely new to the world of 'ukulele, I have very little musical background and I loved the way this intrument sounds so i want to give my all to learn it. One thing i seem to not be able to get right is strumming, I dont want to use a pick but when i try to practice with my index finger or thumb i end up getting tangled up. any tricks anyone might know? thanks!!!

02-21-2011, 08:03 AM
Check out some of the videos on the main page by Aldrine - i.e. Uke Minutes. He has some great lessons for beginners including strumming.

02-21-2011, 08:26 AM
Yulp, look at others and figure out what you like best. Personally, I use my index and thumb, holding them kind of like I would if I were holding a pick. Index nail hits the downstrokes, thumb nail hits the upstrokes.

02-21-2011, 11:25 AM

I'm a complete beginner too, and started from zero with my first uke about six weeks ago.
When I first tried to strum with my pointer finger I always got caught between the strings.
I read somewhere that the reason for it might be, that I strummed too hard, and tried strumming without any chords (just put your "chord-hand" over the strings to mute them) and then first started to slightly just go over the strings very lightly - and then itensify the "touch" till you hit all four strings in the intensity you wish evenly...
Then try if you can strum with chords now....

Hope this can help you - for me it worked just perfectly

Have fun,

02-21-2011, 12:29 PM
This is one of those marmite questions (for non UK readers - love it or hate it).

I personally take the view that unless you are dead set on creating a totally traditional LOOK, then you should settle on a style that suits you. I personally dont like a pick, but would not argue totally against them.

As for strum style - experiment.

Sorry if I am sounding vague, but in the same way Jimi Hendrix played guitar differently to James Taylor, you will find that the old ukulele greats played their ukes differently too. In fact, some of those old big names INVENTED strum styles. Therefore, why should this generation not try to invent themselves?

For the record, I have a slightly odd style, but I am comfortable with it. when strumming I mainly use index, but kind of rest my fleshy underside of thumb on top of instrument.

I wrote a beginner guide on strumming and holding here - http://gotaukulele.blogspot.com/2011/01/ukulele-beginners-how-to-hold-and-strum.html

Good luck

02-21-2011, 09:35 PM
AH strumming!!!

Try this little experiment. Close your eyes and touch the tip of your nose with your each of your fingers. I bet you hit it right on the end perfectly each time. Why? Cos you've done it so many times since birth that your brain knows exactly how to place your arm, forearm, wrist and finger. And strumming is no differant.....its a repitition of so many times that your brain knows just how to get which finger to brush on the strings how you want.....practice, practice, practice is the only way to burn the data into your brain.....a little practice just before bed is also beneficial (goes for chord formations as well).

I bet there is no ukulele player who hasn't spent time mashing strums at some point.


02-22-2011, 03:35 AM
Here's a short little article by Al Woods - Ukulele Strumming for Dummies (http://ukulelehunt.com/2008/10/22/ukulele-strumming/). He has also written How To Play Ukulele Strums (http://howtoplayukulele.com/how-to-play-ukulele-strums/), a more extensive instructional booklet. You might also wanna check out the New To Uke Pack which includes; Ukulele 101 (http://howtoplayukulele.com/ukulele-101-101-things-every-ukulele-player-needs-to-know/) and Chord Progressions (http://howtoplayukulele.com/how-to-play-ukulele-chord-progressions/) combined with the Ukulele Strums.

Ambient Doughnut
02-22-2011, 04:48 AM
+1 for Al's E-book. I've found it invaluable! :)

02-24-2011, 01:25 PM
You're not alone. I just started and am having the same problem. But, I have realized that when I really start sounding like a piano falling down a flight of stairs. I stop. Then sleep on it. The next day, I'm a tiny bit better. It's amazing what our brains do while we are sleeping.

02-24-2011, 02:48 PM
I've had a uke for 60 years, only getting serious lately. Haven't had much success because I kept trying to play songs. Some folks pick it up almost instantly, some of have to take a lot more time to master the basics. You got some good advice, lots of strumming techniques online. don't forget to check out Uncle Rod's Ukulele Bootcamp (online and free) ...it's working for me much better than the beginners books out there.