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philrab66
08-25-2011, 07:22 AM
Hi all
i need a bit of help in the strumming/timing department. i have not been playing long so I have been going over c amajor f g7 c7 just to a basic up down strum. I want to move along a bit so going to start Doctor Uke swing low in different keys so i get a few more chords down. Trouble i am having is when I go to do the ddududu I have to concentrate on changing chord I can change without looking but that just throws me off. And another thing is you can get a whole ddududu in a few bars but what do I do if it doesnt fit in the bar. Do I just stop and start again? or just keep going through the strum. I have also tried to strum along with Ukulele mikes vids if I mute the strings and strum along its fine but when i dont i just cant seem to get it.
Thanks Phil.

PhilUSAFRet
08-25-2011, 08:00 AM
Greetings Phil from another Phil. Just have to slow down until you get it. Lots of folks have tried to "get it" too quickly. Also, some folks just need to use a metronome for a while. Some clip on tuners have them built in.

Trinimon
08-25-2011, 08:08 AM
Wait till you start humming or trying to sing while doing that strum pattern! I don't know how folks do it cause it's like trying to rub your belly with one hand and tap your head with the other hand. lol

When I started to learn to play Bruddah IZ's Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World, I basically just muted the strings or played just one or two chords until the strum felt natural without having to think too much or concentrate on the pattern. Took a couple days to get it into my thick skull. My nephew (both started learning to play the uke at the same time) on the other hand had it going after a few hours. Darn kids! :P

I'm not sure how long you've been playing, for me it's just under 2 months so I'm still pretty green but I try to practice at least 30min to an hour a day just going through the major chords and I'm at a point where I don't really need to look at my fret hand for more than just to get a reference to where my next chord will be or concentrate too much on my strumming and can now focus on the tab sheet in front of me. I'm realizing that changing chords is starting to come a little more naturally (still with the odd hiccup) and don't have to concentrate as hard anymore.

I really do admire and with uber respect anyone who plays the uke (or any instrument for that matter). Hopefully I can get to 50% of their level! I still suck.

philrab66
08-25-2011, 09:25 AM
Greetings Phil from another Phil. Just have to slow down until you get it. Lots of folks have tried to "get it" too quickly. Also, some folks just need to use a metronome for a while. Some clip on tuners have them built in.
Hi Phil
Do I just strum through all the ups and downs all the same through the song.
Thanks Phil.

philrab66
08-25-2011, 09:30 AM
Wait till you start humming or trying to sing while doing that strum pattern! I don't know how folks do it cause it's like trying to rub your belly with one hand and tap your head with the other hand. lol

When I started to learn to play Bruddah IZ's Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World, I basically just muted the strings or played just one or two chords until the strum felt natural without having to think too much or concentrate on the pattern. Took a couple days to get it into my thick skull. My nephew (both started learning to play the uke at the same time) on the other hand had it going after a few hours. Darn kids! :P

I'm not sure how long you've been playing, for me it's just under 2 months so I'm still pretty green but I try to practice at least 30min to an hour a day just going through the major chords and I'm at a point where I don't really need to look at my fret hand for more than just to get a reference to where my next chord will be or concentrate too much on my strumming and can now focus on the tab sheet in front of me. I'm realizing that changing chords is starting to come a little more naturally (still with the odd hiccup) and don't have to concentrate as hard anymore.

I really do admire and with uber respect anyone who plays the uke (or any instrument for that matter). Hopefully I can get to 50% of their level! I still suck.

I have been playing for around 3 months. I think I have got stuck in the dududududs to much just stuck in head. I know what you mean about other folks with so much skill makes you wonder just how they got to this level.]

cantsing
08-25-2011, 11:05 AM
Hi first Phil,
I'm a newbie who is making slow but steady progress, so I will share what has worked for me. I really agree with "other Phil" who suggested slowing down. I'd also suggest practicing without a specific song in mind. Start with a chord you like and play a simple strum pattern. Strum the pattern slowly a few times, then smoothly change to another chord without interrupting the pattern. Play the strum pattern a few times with the new chord, then change the chord again. Repeat. Repeat again. And again! If you can't change chords smoothly without interrupting your strum, slow down even more. Don't worry, you will eventually pick up speed!

Here are two videos that demonstrate some basic strum patterns to practice, so you can break out of that one pattern that is stuck in your head:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_dIPS9R8kU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hu6nE_Mifeg&NR=1

philrab66
08-25-2011, 11:13 AM
Hi first Phil,
I'm a newbie who is making slow but steady progress, so I will share what has worked for me. I really agree with "other Phil" who suggested slowing down. I'd also suggest practicing without a specific song in mind. Start with a chord you like and play a simple strum pattern. Strum the pattern slowly a few times, then smoothly change to another chord without interrupting the pattern. Play the strum pattern a few times with the new chord, then change the chord again. Repeat. Repeat again. And again! If you can't change chords smoothly without interrupting your strum, slow down even more. Don't worry, you will eventually pick up speed!

Here are two videos that demonstrate some basic strum patterns to practice, so you can break out of that one pattern that is stuck in your head:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_dIPS9R8kU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hu6nE_Mifeg&NR=1

It is not the actual strumming i am having a problem it is playing along to a song. I have to concentrate on chords and strumming cant seem to do both at once.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
08-25-2011, 11:37 AM
Hi, please click on the links to my Boot Camp and FREE Songbook below my signature.

I always encourage learning chords first, then practicing smooth chord changes BEFORE
endeavoring to learn a song or to work on strumming rhythms.

One needs to learn how a machine/instrument/tool works before using it to create something.

The ukulele is an instrument/tool designed to create musical sounds. Stringing those sounds (chords)
together can be used to accompany singers. Tweaking one's strumming to fit the rhythm of the song
will add much to the performance. However, I always encourage newbies to work on strumming LAST.

Until you know the chords (of a song) and are proficient in changing from chord to chord smoothly,
without looking at your fingers, and without interrupting the general, regular beat of the melody, you will
probably experience a lot of frustration. It's just too much new stuff to have to keep track at one time.

Once you have a few keys of basic chords down to where you can change them at 2 strums each, at a
regular, moderate pace, then you will be prepared to learn to play songs on the ukulele. Without that
preparation it's like jumping into a 18-wheeler for a run to the store, or to get in the cab of a backhoe
to clear out a patch for your garden. If you're not used to it, you will probably do more harm than good.

Anyway, not to discourage you, just to encourage you to get the grunt work out of the way first. Like
military boot camp, once you're in shape - everything else is a piece of cake.

keep uke'in',

MisterRios
08-25-2011, 11:57 AM
It is not the actual strumming i am having a problem it is playing along to a song. I have to concentrate on chords and strumming cant seem to do both at once.

When I started, I could only do a downstrum. I decided to concentrate on chord changes and when I was pretty confident in that, I tried my hand at strumming. I can now do basic songs, but I'm still working my way through strumming. What I can't do is sing along, though, since it throws off the strumming, so I have to get that down.

So, maybe concentrate on getting really good at changing chords, and the strumming will follow. I'd recommend Uncle Rod's Ukulele Boot Camp, since it really helped me a ton with chord changes.

Best of Luck!

PhilUSAFRet
08-25-2011, 01:47 PM
It is not the actual strumming i am having a problem it is playing along to a song. I have to concentrate on chords and strumming cant seem to do both at once.

That's why Uncle Rod points out that you have to master the chords so that you don't really have to think about them or concentrate on them while singing or accompanying, or following a song. His exercises makes that a little easier than just following some chord sheet with all the chords in order.

philrab66
08-25-2011, 10:31 PM
Hi, please click on the links to my Boot Camp and FREE Songbook below my signature.

I always encourage learning chords first, then practicing smooth chord changes BEFORE
endeavoring to learn a song or to work on strumming rhythms.

One needs to learn how a machine/instrument/tool works before using it to create something.

The ukulele is an instrument/tool designed to create musical sounds. Stringing those sounds (chords)
together can be used to accompany singers. Tweaking one's strumming to fit the rhythm of the song
will add much to the performance. However, I always encourage newbies to work on strumming LAST.

Until you know the chords (of a song) and are proficient in changing from chord to chord smoothly,
without looking at your fingers, and without interrupting the general, regular beat of the melody, you will
probably experience a lot of frustration. It's just too much new stuff to have to keep track at one time.

Once you have a few keys of basic chords down to where you can change them at 2 strums each, at a
regular, moderate pace, then you will be prepared to learn to play songs on the ukulele. Without that
preparation it's like jumping into a 18-wheeler for a run to the store, or to get in the cab of a backhoe
to clear out a patch for your garden. If you're not used to it, you will probably do more harm than good.

Anyway, not to discourage you, just to encourage you to get the grunt work out of the way first. Like
military boot camp, once you're in shape - everything else is a piece of cake.

keep uke'in',

Hi Uncle Roddy
I have visited your bootcamp which i thank you very much for sharing. I have taken your advise from the bootcamp allready learning a few chords so i do not have to look. That is why i thought i was ready to put them to a song. The trouble i am having is putting strumming pattern together with the chords. I think if I took the words out of the song to start with may help. I have to concentrate on one thing or another strumming rythm or chord change. I know it will come naturally in time but I thought it was an easy task.

philrab66
08-25-2011, 10:37 PM
When I started, I could only do a downstrum. I decided to concentrate on chord changes and when I was pretty confident in that, I tried my hand at strumming. I can now do basic songs, but I'm still working my way through strumming. What I can't do is sing along, though, since it throws off the strumming, so I have to get that down.

So, maybe concentrate on getting really good at changing chords, and the strumming will follow. I'd recommend Uncle Rod's Ukulele Boot Camp, since it really helped me a ton with chord changes.

Best of Luck!
Thanks for your comment . The thing is I have taken Uncle Rods advise and learnt some chords of which I can change easily. I have worked on theses for around 3 or 4 weeks just dududud. I thought I would be ready to do a simple song with a strumming pattern. The hardest thing i am finding is when to change chord, anyway practic practic practice as they say.

cantsing
08-26-2011, 08:30 AM
I want to move along a bit so going to start Doctor Uke swing low in different keys so i get a few more chords down..... And another thing is you can get a whole ddududu in a few bars but what do I do if it doesnt fit in the bar. Do I just stop and start again? or just keep going through the strum.
Hi Phil,
You mentioned Dr. Uke's "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" in your original post. I looked at that song and I see what you mean--the chords change in the middle of the strum pattern. That is definitely more challenging than a song where every chord change matches up with the start of a strum pattern. Maybe this will answer part of your original question: I would not stop and restart the strum pattern with each chord change. I would keep going with the strum pattern and fit the chord changes into the pattern. This will be challenging. Start out playing very slowly, and like you say, practice practice practice.

philrab66
08-26-2011, 12:04 PM
Hi Phil,
You mentioned Dr. Uke's "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" in your original post. I looked at that song and I see what you mean--the chords change in the middle of the strum pattern. That is definitely more challenging than a song where every chord change matches up with the start of a strum pattern. Maybe this will answer part of your original question: I would not stop and restart the strum pattern with each chord change. I would keep going with the strum pattern and fit the chord changes into the pattern. This will be challenging. Start out playing very slowly, and like you say, practice practice practice.

Thanks cant sing you get what I am on about. I moved onto a easier song for now just so I could get it in my head. It took me a long time just to get this simple rythm, just dududu
http://youtu.be/-X0oVgglsIk

kaizersoza
08-28-2011, 12:59 AM
try practising changing chords in between strums eg:- d d u on the C chord then d d u on the G chord then introduce some more chords as you go along shortening your strum pattern eg:- d, C then u, G and so on, but most importantly do what feels and sounds right to you

jackwhale
09-19-2011, 01:56 PM
Maybe saying the words 'down-up-down-up' or '1-and-2-and' while you are slowly stumming DUDU, might help coordinate starting to use your voice while strumming.

No matter what, it all does seem to boil down to the old joke. One person asks for directions, "How do I get to Carneggi Hall? The other person replies, "Lots of practice."

UkeOnRen!
09-19-2011, 07:28 PM
Many thanks to Uncle Rod for a great advice. I'm a newbie myself and went straight to playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow without knowing the chords. I've been playing it for awhile but can't do without my music book. I can play but not without looking at my notes and my left hand making sure its on the right chords. Your advice makes sense, its better to start with knowing the chords first before playing a song. Thanks again.

-Ren

Ukulele JJ
09-20-2011, 03:10 AM
Maybe saying the words 'down-up-down-up' or '1-and-2-and' while you are slowly stumming DUDU, might help coordinate starting to use your voice while strumming

Actually, it might be that thinking of it as "down-up-down-up" instead of "1-and-2-and" is the problem.

Lots of beginners start out thinking (and/or are taught to think) of strums in terms of what their hand is doing--the physical motion involved with making the strum. And I guess that's okay to an extent. And it certainly helps communicate a pattern to someone who may not be used to thinking of rhythm in more abstract terms.

But I really feel that you should quit thinking of the physical movement of a strum as soon as possible. After all, your hand/arm should (generally) always be moving up and down in the same motion all the time. It should be completely automatic and unshakeable. Every strum is, in a sense, a "DUDU" strum. The different patterns are merely a matter of hitting the strings or passing over the strings during that constant up and down movement.

Instead, why not think of the sound of the pattern? Whether you're playing DUDU or DDUUD or whatever, you should be able to flip the uke over and tap out the exact same pattern on back. And you should be able to do this with one hand or two hands. Or with your foot. Or you could scat the rhythm.

(My wife, who teaches violin to very young children, has them think of rhythmic patterns as sentences. Straight eighth notes are "Wish I had a motorcycle, wish I had a motorcycle...". A quarter note and two eighth notes are "Run pony, stop pony, run pony, stop pony...")

Anyway, I guess my point is that the sound of the pattern--the actual rhythm of it--is a whole different thing from the physical motion used to create it. Don't get too hung up on the movement. Worry about the sound. If that's a bit too esoteric and abstract right now, trust me, it won't always be. :-)

JJ

philrab66
09-20-2011, 10:32 AM
Thanks JJ
I do try to think of it as 1&2 it seems more rythmic to me, as you said in the end you are just listening for the sound. It is like patting your head and rubbing your stomach ,could never do that either. Another one i heard was its like reading 2 books at once and taking it in. I am not a naturally positive person I guess I do not have any confidence and that is a lot of my frustration. I know I shouldnt but I look at other people playing thinking I will never be able to play like that.
Phil.

Ukulele JJ
09-21-2011, 02:35 AM
It is like patting your head and rubbing your stomach ,could never do that either. Another one i heard was its like reading 2 books at once and taking it in.

I think a better analogy is that it's like singing in the car on your drive home from work:

Your foot is on the accelerator, keeping an appropriate speed (that's your strumming)
Your hands are on the steering wheel, making sure the car is pointed in the right direction (that's fretting the chord)
And your mouth is singing!

The key here is that the "driving the car" part gets to be almost totally automatic. How many times have you driven somewhere and not really "remembered" doing it? You're just so used to driving in general, and in driving that route in particular, that your brain just sort of does it in the background.

Contrast that to when you were first learning to drive. If you tried singing then, you'd probably have crashed. :-)

Music is the same way. It's tough at first to coordinate all the movements and thoughts and pieces and parts that go into getting something out of your instrument. But it comes together eventually. Sometimes it comes together so slowly that you don't even notice it happening, which is frustrating.


I am not a naturally positive person I guess I do not have any confidence and that is a lot of my frustration. I know I shouldnt but I look at other people playing thinking I will never be able to play like that.

Yeah, I know how you feel. Those thoughts are going to come into your head. The trick is to answer them with other thoughts. "All these people I'm looking at were where I am now." "I can't predict the future, so who knows how I'll be able to play one day?" "I've come up against hard things before and came out on the other end with mastery." "And so what if I'm not as good as so-and-so at this stage right now? That's not a bad thing."

I heard a great trick from Tony Horton once. Don't say "I can't..." Say "I presently struggle with..." :-)

Sounds stupid, but it works.

JJ