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rowjimmytour
04-06-2011, 07:00 AM
I have only been playing for three + months so far and practice URBC, Absolute Beginners Ukulele and about a half dozen songs a night but I seem to have major problems w/ timing. I know it takes practice and I am not discouraged I just want to know if timing comes w/ confidence after you feel comfortable w/ the chords etc Or should I focus more on my timing and how? Perfect example is the song blowing in the wind from Uncle Rods song book. I have all the cords down and watched and listened to tons of utube videos but still can not get the right feel to the song. Thanks for any advise and love my uke and this forum.
-Stoked for life

Grant_H
04-06-2011, 08:53 AM
Find a metronome online, match your foot with that, and then match your hands to your feet. Timing comes with experience. I used to be horrible at keeping time on my drum machine but I slowly gained that skill as I practiced more and more.

sukie
04-06-2011, 09:01 AM
What Grant says. Metronomes really help.

Vespandy
04-06-2011, 09:03 AM
No need to worry about timing if the ukulele is your first instrument. It may take much longer than three months to learn to keep time. It will come as soon as your brain does not have to be active to play the ukulele. Suddenly one day you sit in front of the television and play along to the commercials without thinking about it, and with good timing.

/Andy

Uncle Rod Higuchi
04-06-2011, 09:12 AM
Timing has to do with the general number of strums in each bar or measure, the units a song is divided into.

Blowing in the Wind is in 4/4 time which means there are 4 beats to each measure ( or section of the song ).

Here's how it's broken down: [ How many / roads must a / man walk / down, be- / -fore you can / call him a / man / ? ]
So that line of lyrics is divided into 8 measures at 4 beats per measure = 32 beats or strums.

The words "How - Roads - Man - -fore - Call - Man" fall on the down (first) beat of the measure so that when you
strum through the lyrics, the first of the 4 beats should (must) fall on those words.

If timing is a challenge for now, just strum down strokes, 4 per measure as you speak (rather than sing) through the lyrics.

If you can do the line above, it's pretty much the same throughout the rest of the song.
As you listen to renditions of the song, try to hear when the "first/down beat" comes. It should come regularly with 4 beats/strums per measure.

This may not be the best way to present this concept so if you know of someone who plays another instrument or find another ukulele player who understands this, and let them show you how it works.

Other than that, I hope this helps a bit.

Keep uke'in',

ksiegel
04-06-2011, 11:28 AM
The only thing I can add is... Can you sing the song?

I learned "Blowin' In The Wind" many years ago... it was on the Peter, Paul & Mary album "Movin'", and my first recollection of that record was around 1964. So I was singing the song long before I ever touched an instrument.

When I play "Blowin' In The Wind", I strum it just like Uncle Rod says to - but that is based on the rhythm I get singing the song, not from the boot camp (which I keep getting told I have to go and look at....) - and that's pretty much how I came to strumming or finger picking any song; by how it feels singing it.

Even if I am only internalizing the singing (ie, listening to the voices in my head...), the rhythm I get while singing leads the strumming. That worked for 4 decades of guitar playing, and so far has worked for 4 months on the ukulele.

I can't read music, so it is pretty much the only thing I've got.

But take your time (pun intended), and you will keep getting better at it.

-Kurt

PhilUSAFRet
04-06-2011, 01:28 PM
You got some good advice, some folks need a metronome! Some tuners have built in metronomes if you don't already have a nice tuner.

rowjimmytour
04-06-2011, 01:46 PM
First thing thanks for all the great advise second this is my first real try at a instrument. I tried guitar and bass as a kid but surfing always took up all my time. Second when I try to sing as I play I get really screwed up and can't keep up w/ the song so I think I will try a Metronome. My tuner does not have a built in one but garage band has one or many free programs.

Tantal
04-07-2011, 04:07 AM
I totally feel where you are coming from as I to am timing impaired. One thing I learned in my 3-4 months of playing is you need to train yourself to feel the rhythm without thinking. One thing I do to train my brain is to try to count the timing when you listen to music. You may not always have it right, but at least you kind of program your brain to start counting time in music.

I was so deficient in timing that I could not even follow a metronome. After a few weeks of "counting time" I find myself staying in time without thinking about it. Still not perfect and still needs tons of work, but getting there.

Hope this helps :)

SweetWaterBlue
04-07-2011, 04:13 AM
One thing that sometimes helps me when I can't seem to get the timing right is to mute the strings and strum. Once I can strum it without worrying about chords, I add the chords back.

Grant_H
04-07-2011, 04:40 AM
On a LOT of todays music whether its rock, hip hop, pop, whatever...the snare hits on 2 and 4. That means you count (I count in 8th notes) 1 & snare & 3 & snare. Kicks usually hit on 1 and 3 a lot of times. 1 is your first down beat and it's typically easy to find.

Kick Snare Kick Snare. Focus on the drums to find your timing and THEN focus on your ukulele/guitar/piano portion. Everyone listens to the drummer to keep in time within a band.

Mandarb
04-07-2011, 04:43 AM
fitncrafty posted a resource in this thread that might help.... http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?44984-i-need-some-new-strumming-recommendations

mm stan
04-07-2011, 08:01 AM
Aloha Jimmy,
I say practice by singing songs you know the timing to...like nursery songs....http://www.baby-patch.com/guitar.html
Rhythm and timing is the foundation of playing..take small steps with the nursery rhymes... Good Luck and Happy Strummings..MM Stan

ksiegel
04-07-2011, 11:31 AM
First thing thanks for all the great advise second this is my first real try at a instrument. I tried guitar and bass as a kid but surfing always took up all my time. Second when I try to sing as I play I get really screwed up and can't keep up w/ the song so I think I will try a Metronome. My tuner does not have a built in one but garage band has one or many free programs.

Sorry - I didn't mean to try and sing the song while playing, right off the rip - I meant to sing the song while keeping time - tapping your foot, clapping hands, tat type of thing. Just establishing the rhythm in your head, alongside what YOU think the song should sound like. Once that is done, then you can try strumming to the music in your head.

Someone else suggested muting the strings while strumming - that's one of the methods of keeping time while singing, or even humming the melody.

I recommend it. Even just strumming muted strings along with a recording of the song you want to play. The capability of doing that is one of the things that make the Eleukes and VOX AmPlugs so appealing.

-Kurt

ksiegel
04-07-2011, 11:33 AM
Aloha Jimmy,
I say practice by singing songs you know the timing to...like nursery songs....http://www.baby-patch.com/guitar.html
Rhythm and timing is the foundation of playing..take small steps with the nursery rhymes... Good Luck and Happy Strummings..MM Stan

Yeah! That's what I wanted to say, but a lot more succinct!

Mahalo, Stan!

-Kurt

Ukulele JJ
04-07-2011, 12:33 PM
I agree with pretty much all that has been said so far: Practice with a metronome. Practice with a recording of the song you're playing (which is like playing to a metronome, but more fun!) And focus just on the strum rhythm by muting the strings.

A long weekend playing DDR and/or Rock Band certainly can't hurt either. :-)

JJ

rowjimmytour
04-13-2011, 01:27 PM
Timing has to do with the general number of strums in each bar or measure, the units a song is divided into.

Blowing in the Wind is in 4/4 time which means there are 4 beats to each measure ( or section of the song ).

Here's how it's broken down: [ How many / roads must a / man walk / down, be- / -fore you can / call him a / man / ? ]
So that line of lyrics is divided into 8 measures at 4 beats per measure = 32 beats or strums.

The words "How - Roads - Man - -fore - Call - Man" fall on the down (first) beat of the measure so that when you
strum through the lyrics, the first of the 4 beats should (must) fall on those words.

If timing is a challenge for now, just strum down strokes, 4 per measure as you speak (rather than sing) through the lyrics.

If you can do the line above, it's pretty much the same throughout the rest of the song.
As you listen to renditions of the song, try to hear when the "first/down beat" comes. It should come regularly with 4 beats/strums per measure.

This may not be the best way to present this concept so if you know of someone who plays another instrument or find another ukulele player who understands this, and let them show you how it works.

Other than that, I hope this helps a bit.

Keep uke'in',

I get this when you break it up like this but wonder where I can find tabs w/ the break up already done like Absolute Beginners book for uke? I also wonder how I could figure the break up my self w/ the songs I have printed from uke tab? Thanks in advance.