PDA

View Full Version : chunking



Rosspeterson1993
06-01-2011, 08:04 PM
so im trying to learn "island in the sun" as my first song and am having trouble chunking. Do you use just your index finger or all your fingers when chunking or is it just preference?

Lexxy
06-01-2011, 08:08 PM
Check this guy out. he's a personal friend of mine. His ID here is grappler.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TO74OzNyPM

Ken Middleton
06-02-2011, 04:16 AM
so im trying to learn "island in the sun" as my first song and am having trouble chunking.

The answer is simple: don't chunk. It can sound brilliant when someone like Aldrine does it, but not everyone uses this technique. I never use it. As I said, sometimes, in the hands of an expert, it can sound great, but you don't have to use it. If it is done badly or if it is overused, it can sound simply ridiculous.

If it is your first song, why not try just strumming the chords? That's what people did for years and years (before chunking was invented).

If in doubt, don't chunk.

Lexxy
06-02-2011, 04:21 AM
The answer is simple: don't chunk. It can sound brilliant when someone like Aldrine does it, but not everyone uses this technique. I never use it. As I said, sometimes, in the hands of an expert, it can sound great, but you don't have to use it. If it is done badly or if it is overused, it can sound simply ridiculous.

If it is your first song, why not try just strumming the chords? That's what people did for years and years (before chunking was invented).

If in doubt, don't chunk.

Listen to Ken, you will never go wrong. :)

GKK
06-02-2011, 04:22 AM
You use the back of your palm to mute the strings and your finger tips to make the chunking sound.

It's mainly a timing issue to mute and strum the strings at the same time. It takes a lot of practice but, will then come naturally.

Some people like Chunking and some people don't. :)

spookefoote
06-02-2011, 05:43 AM
I'm going with Ken. If Ken says "Don't" then don't

Anyway, over-chunking is boring.

Ken Middleton
06-02-2011, 06:10 AM
I'm going with Ken. If Ken says "Don't" then don't

Anyway, over-chunking is boring.

Some wonderful players enjoy using this technique. Aldrine, for instance using chunking to add complex rhythms and a different timbre to his music, particularly when teaching or putting across a song. It should be understood though, that his solo performances use many other different and skillfully performed techniques that also add a great deal of variery to his music.

Other great players, like James Hill, generally prefer not to use chunking at all.

What I suppose I am really saying is, don't feel that you have to use chunking in every song. It is only one of many techniques. Also be aware that doing a repeated robotic rhythm with a chunk in every bar can sound really silly and certainly monotonous. Try listening to someone doing it with your eyes shut.

But the most important thing here is that new players should not be made to feel that they are not playing a song correctly if they are not chunking all the way through. A song that is well sung can sound fantastic with just the simplest of strums.

What is much more important (IMHO) is variety within a song (dynamics, tone, texture, rhthmic patterns, fills, etc.).

And yes, over-chunking is desperately boring.

Mauimaster
06-02-2011, 06:14 AM
I agree with Ken...forget the chunking and just play away!!

PhilUSAFRet
06-02-2011, 06:38 AM
I like chunking with reggae, etc., agree it's often overdone. I personally wouldn't do it with "Island in the Sun"

JoeUke
06-02-2011, 06:52 AM
Like Phil said, chunking adds percussion to raggae style songs or if you want a song to sound "Jamacanish". I think it sounds cool and fun, but it's not for every song. Sometimes I use the palm of my strumming hand to strum down and quickly mute to get a similar effect.

Laouik
06-02-2011, 07:04 AM
And yes, over-chunking is desperately boring.

I only chunk in select songs, when I play solo and want to add, as you've mentioned, texture, or a stronger sense of rhythm. Usually reggae-type strums, etc.

But, like anything, too much of something is precisely that. Too much. Which brings this to mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XV4yK-26smM

whetu
06-02-2011, 12:24 PM
Like Phil said, chunking adds percussion to raggae style songs or if you want a song to sound "Jamacanish". I think it sounds cool and fun, but it's not for every song. Sometimes I use the palm of my strumming hand to strum down and quickly mute to get a similar effect.

I second the palm mute alternative. It's much easier, and you can add a percussive beat if you do it in such a way that you're tapping the soundboard (I do so with my thumb while my palm mutes the strings) all in one fluid motion.

In saying that, here's a lesson video that I liked:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOBXx_u3ukE

GKK
06-02-2011, 03:05 PM
What I suppose I am really saying is, don't feel that you have to use chunking in every song. It is only one of many techniques. Also be aware that doing a repeated robotic rhythm with a chunk in every bar can sound really silly and certainly monotonous. Try listening to someone doing it with your eyes shut.

But the most important thing here is that new players should not be made to feel that they are not playing a song correctly if they are not chunking all the way through. A song that is well sung can sound fantastic with just the simplest of strums.

What is much more important (IMHO) is variety within a song (dynamics, tone, texture, rhthmic patterns, fills, etc.).

And yes, over-chunking is desperately boring.


No disrespect but, the question asked was simply, "I'm trying to learn "island in the sun" as my first song and am having trouble chunking. Do you use just your index finger or all your fingers when chunking or is it just preference?"

It was never asked how many people like chunking or when chunking should be used. My opinion is that you can play the ukulele anyway that makes you happy and people should help others learn a new technique rather than bash or discourage it.

Leekster
06-02-2011, 04:09 PM
Ha! Yea!! I read the whole thread and that is all you were asking...:agree:

Check out Chunking under the lessons tab on this website.

Maybe it is under Uke minutes where Adrine shows his technique.

good luck. I love that song too. I need a bit more practice before I try to tackle it.

molokinirum
06-03-2011, 09:31 AM
Yes, I learned the chunking method via the UU video. It explains how to do it pretty well.

peytakeeho
06-04-2011, 05:27 AM
I tend to use my middle and ring finger, but it is possible with the index. All it takes is practice. :o

southcoastukes
02-24-2013, 04:35 PM
BTW, "Chunking" may be a modern word, but don't let anyone tell you it's a modern technique!

Here's a duo with Rajao & Braguinha (o Machete), the two Portuguese instruments that were amalgamated to form the Ukulele:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7fvMuSBvfA

Macmuse
02-24-2013, 04:55 PM
BTW, "Chunking" may be a modern word, but not at all a modern technique!

Here's a due with Rajao & Braguinha (o Machete), the two Portuguese instruments that were amalgamated to form the Ukulele:



Shoot! You have just reinforced my desire to get these instruments as well. My MIAS is not being helped by information like this! (and they play wonderfully!). I've had a Cavaquinho on my want list. I really shouldn't be adding a Rajao & Braguinha too. :P

I've been working with some wonderful researchers from Portugal and may have to send them out to look for luthiers for me. :)

And to get back on topic, I'm trying to chunk a little with Aldrine's method. He suggets the side of the thumb. Not fingers, not palm. I'm still trying to get the finger strumming down (I'm a long time thumb strum guitarist so I'm not getting past that very quickly).

ChaosToo
02-24-2013, 11:26 PM
As a brand new player, I have been trying out all sorts of different strumming and picking methods - including chunking.

To me, it's all about learning new things, trying new things and then going with what YOU think sounds 'good'.

For what it's worth, I have watched many Youtube clips and I think I have ended up using the fleshy part of my thumb (on the downstrum) to mute the sound - whether I'm doing it exactly 'right' is another matter - but it works for me.

I also have been working on muting the fretboard with my little finger of my left hand, which also adds to the percussive range you can add to a song.

Life would be boring if we all liked the same thing :D

AaronC@HMS
02-25-2013, 08:56 PM
Aloha Folks! Hope this helps. http://youtu.be/eZxOof50iqk Aloha!

Kyle23
02-26-2013, 12:05 AM
I actually JUST learned how to do it. I've watched tons of videos and I watched Aldrine's and I got it pretty quick. What I was doing wrong is when I strum, I guess I put my thumb up like a thumbs up when I strum with my index finger and when I put my hand on the strings for the "chunk" my thumb would be in such a way that it doesn't hit the bottom string so it rings out. Once I kept my thumb relaxed when I strum, it hits all of the strings and it sounds pretty good. Just a tip if you're having the same problem I was.

Wicked
02-26-2013, 01:59 AM
BTW, "Chunking" may be a modern word, but don't let anyone tell you it's a modern technique!

Not to go off the tracks, but when did people start calling this "chunking?" I never heard this referred to as chunking until I started paying attention to the ukulele world. I am starting to notice YouTube guitarists refer to it as chunking as well, but I don't know any studio professionals, for example, who use the term.

Just curious.

Rawks
02-26-2013, 10:53 PM
I think that, even if we don't ever intend to use chunking much or at all, we should still try to teach ourselves how to do it anyway. :)

I learned from watching Aldrine's video. My forearm sits parallel to the strings, palm facing up, my index finger extended and supported by my thumb. The rest of my fingers are lightly closed so they don't get in the way for me. From there, the chunk action is just a rotation on my wrist so that my palm faces downwards; my index finger hits the strings as it passes and, when the motion is completed, the strings are immediately stopped by the side of my thumb.
Of course it took me an evening of just trying chunk after chunk until I got it to work but now I find it quite simple.

But as this thread shows, there are many ways to the same end in this technique. Sometimes, if you know the sound you want, you just have to invent your own way of achieving it.

wallyboy
02-27-2013, 09:52 AM
i would learn it, it has a place in ukelelue playing if you so choose,
i found the easiet way to do it for me was play bottom of neck so you dont tap base, then index down let it fall roll over neck, up with index, down index as you come down rest edge of thumb on neck then up, start slow then build up, i know there are lots of ways to do this, this way suited me
good luck

Pundabaya
02-28-2013, 10:21 PM
Most important reason to learn to chunk: strumming down-up-chunk-up makes your uke sound like a train!

I learned from that Aldrine video too.

CountryMouse
03-04-2013, 06:49 AM
The answer is simple: don't chunk. It can sound brilliant when someone like Aldrine does it, but not everyone uses this technique. I never use it. As I said, sometimes, in the hands of an expert, it can sound great, but you don't have to use it. If it is done badly or if it is overused, it can sound simply ridiculous.

If it is your first song, why not try just strumming the chords? That's what people did for years and years (before chunking was invented).

If in doubt, don't chunk.

I'm so glad you posted this, Ken. I have tried, off and on, to be able to chunk. But then I see really wonderful ukulele musicians (such as yourself) who NEVER chunk. So I *should* just forget about it.

CountryMouse

Ken Middleton
03-04-2013, 07:06 AM
I'm so glad you posted this, Ken ... So I *should* just forget about it.

I won't win any popularity awards saying it, Janet, but 'yes' forget about it. Too often it just sounds silly, and worse, it encourages people to play the same accompaniment all the way through the song.

Wicked
03-04-2013, 07:38 AM
The whole chunking fixation is tied to the "strum pattern fetish." No other players of fretted instruments get so wrapped around the axle about strumming patterns as do ukulele people. I refuse to even use the term "strum pattern."