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ukulalalady
03-25-2011, 01:02 PM
I searched the previous posts and didn't see anything about this, so hopefully I am not repeating anything.
I got my ukulele a week ago and have been working through Hal Leonard's Book 1. My thumb strumming and finger picking are right on track, but I am having a lot of trouble strumming up with my index finger while making chords. I always seem to catch the strings. My nails are cut short, if that helps. I was wondering if there is a technique for finger placement, or if this is simply a matter of finding the right pressure? Any help would be much appreciated! I feel kind of silly having this problem, but I would like to move forward.

molokinirum
03-25-2011, 02:14 PM
Congrats on your new uke!! What uke did you get? For the strumming, it sounds like you are strumming over the soundhole. Try strumming at the spot where the neck meets the body. That should solve your problem!

And...BTW, no question is too silly, we are all here to help each other!!

Have fun!

GreatGazukes
03-25-2011, 02:49 PM
Maybe spend some time just slowly up strumming....veg out in front of the TV and don't concentrate too hard on it. Also slow is the way to go, dont force yourself to go fast, you'll pick up speed as you get better at it.

roxhum
03-25-2011, 03:13 PM
I strum up with the nail of my thumb facing up. Congrats on your new uku! Isn't it fun?

joeybug
03-25-2011, 03:50 PM
Firstly, welcome to UU and congrats on the new Uke!

I've been learning for coming up 7 months and still struggle with the upstrum, I've read books, watched youtube, read more books, tried different techniques and I'm still frustrated and find the majority of the time I can do it if no one is watching! Not gonna help me much if I choose to perform one day! Anyway, my point is, practise just on the strumming, but only until you start to get frustrated, when you do, put it down and go back to it at a later point, it will come, it takes time!

And no question is stupid!

Happy Playing :D

Joey

fitncrafty
03-25-2011, 04:40 PM
Hal Leonards book is great... I don't strum much with my thumb anymore. Keep it up watch were you are strumming and practice you will get it..
the 4 and 5 finger rolls are killing me. I just can't get them right! more practice!!!

Keep it up and welcome to uu..

mm stan
03-25-2011, 04:52 PM
Aloha Ukulalalady,
I'm not sure if this will help...but check it out...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiK6dOE8Lw4
Check this lady out and on the right she has more levels of realated videos...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiK6dOE8Lw4
Good luck and happy strummings.....MM Stan

Kirrky
03-25-2011, 07:02 PM
When I strum up with my index finger, I use the skin part of my finger. Not the nail. Nail is for down strumming and the skin is for up strumming. Well, at least that's what I do since I have short nails (like you do). Hope that helps a teeny bit! Took me a while to get it down, but just mute all of the strings with your palm and practice strumming. Do a basic Down Up strum, that should help you.

TCK
03-25-2011, 07:42 PM
When I strum up with my index finger, I use the skin part of my finger. Not the nail. Nail is for down strumming and the skin is for up strumming. Well, at least that's what I do since I have short nails (like you do). Hope that helps a teeny bit! Took me a while to get it down, but just mute all of the strings with your palm and practice strumming. Do a basic Down Up strum, that should help you.
This is how I do it- up strum is more of a light drag of the meat of my index finger, always over the 12th fret (seems to be my sweet spot), but there is no right or wrong- just sit around lazing the day away up-strumming, it will come to you in a way that is suitable.
Congrats on joining the Uke Army :)

ukulalalady
03-27-2011, 09:09 AM
Thanks guys! A lot of helpful info. I keep switching where I strum. All of my books say don't strum over the sound hole, and to strum where the neck and body meet, but a lot of the instructional videos found over the internet have people strumming over the sound hole as if it were a mini guitar, so I was kind of confused. Do people just mix it up for different sounds? Do they just not know? How do you guys feel about that?
Thanks for the tips on strumming up, I think you are right: time and practice will save me. Perhaps I am thinking too hard and just need to spend an afternoon strumming around. One of the things that blew me away about the uke was all the possibilities, watching people use their thumbs, palms, all their fingers and any combo of the above plucking and strumming. I have a little experience with the cello, but this is all new to me. As for the finger rolls, I wasn't sure I knew what Leonard was doing but I will keep trying and look for some videos on here.

RyanMFT
03-27-2011, 09:26 AM
One more suggestion which may be helpful. I was helping a good friend who was struggling with an up strum when he was beginning. Something in his head just wouldn't let him do it. So, we sat together with uke's and I suggested he not hold a chord with his left hand at all, just hold the neck steady....

Next, I suggested that we just together move each of our right hands (strumming hand) up and down at an even pace, without touching any strings at all.....just up, down, up, down for at least a minute.

Finally, I had him move his strumming hand close enough just to barely touch the strings, keeping that same tempo of up and down.....remember, no chord at all.

Before he knew it, he had it down.....now he plays beautifully! Hope that helps you a bit.