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philrab66
10-15-2011, 02:50 AM
Hi all Im back again with the frustrations of strumming timing. I am trying to go through Dr Ukes songbook but I am finding the easiest of strum patterns except DUDU impossible to get. When I listen to the mp3 I can not even hear the strumming pattern let alone follow it. Every song sounds at lightning speed to me. Can any body give me any really basic tips on how to grasp this. I can do the strum pattern but as soon as I have to put it to words it is as if it is impossible. Should I just play the songs for now with just a DUDU strum and be happy with that for now or should I persist. I can change between chords without looking.
I am just so frustrated I can not do it.

Thanks Phil.

Jimmy Ukulele
10-15-2011, 04:21 AM
Pick one new strumming pattern and practise it very slowly. Start off with just one chord and repeat it as often as necessary, but slow. Then gradually speed up and add other chords. Oh, forgot the most important part... practise ;)

Honestly, just be patient, it will come with time. If you give yourself a hard time for not being able to learn that fast, you'll probably not learn it because you are giving yourself a hard time. Relax and take it easy, it is not a competition (or is it?).

roxhum
10-15-2011, 04:28 AM
Oh I feel your pain. I have only been doing this for 15 months and I can only do two strumming patterns well. I think my playing is pretty boring but I am having fun and that is what is important to me. I think some people have a natural ability to hear and pick up the rythams. For me it is all painstaking learning and some things I have such trouble with and just can't seem to grasp. It is practice practice practice. Don't push yourself too hard. The above advice is good. Have fun. Go slowly. It takes time and before you know it you will be reaching a platoue (sorry, can't spell) and needing to take it to the next level.

philrab66
10-15-2011, 05:02 AM
Its not the actual strumming pattern that is the problem, it is changing chords at the right time especially if the change is before the strumming pattern is finished if you get me. I asked the same questions a few weeks back, I know i have to take it easy but the frustration gets the better of me. I think the main reason of frustration is that all these ( beginner songs) seem so easy in theory and when I go to play them I just cant get it.
Phil

TheOnlyUkeThatMatters
10-15-2011, 05:43 AM
Two tips:

First, don't worry about strum patterns. The common strum (DUDU) is common because it sounds good. Use DUDU for everything for a while. Concentrate on steady rhythm and switching chords in time.

Second, after you've got all the common strum confidence you can muster, make up a new strum pattern by "missing" the strings. I'll do my best to explain...

During four beats playing the common strum, you play:

down up down up down up down up

"Miss" the strings during that first up-strum for a new pattern:

down "miss" down up down up down up

Lots of folks call that pattern DDUDUDU, but that doesn't communicate the "miss" that gives this strum pattern its musicality. Musicians call that "miss" a rest. Here's the pattern with that language:

down rest down up down up down up

New strums are all about deciding when to rest. Keep that strumming finger (or thumb or pick) going, just "miss" the strings for rests. As you practice, you'll start to hear this in others' playing.

Oops, a third tip: Break up practicing new skills by playing your favorite songs just for fun, and try your best to be patient. Everyone picks this stuff up at different rates. Take your time and have fun!

PhilUSAFRet
10-15-2011, 10:56 AM
One problem could be not knowing the chords well enough to change chords quickly enough. See Uncle Rod's Ukulele Boot Camp for more on this.

Tor
10-15-2011, 11:44 AM
Go to youtube, then search for 'ukulele mike strumming'.
Practice, first without changing chords, then do them while changing chords (that's where it's easy to get out of it - you'll notice.)

-Tor

philrab66
10-15-2011, 01:27 PM
Two tips:

First, don't worry about strum patterns. The common strum (DUDU) is common because it sounds good. Use DUDU for everything for a while. Concentrate on steady rhythm and switching chords in time.

Second, after you've got all the common strum confidence you can muster, make up a new strum pattern by "missing" the strings. I'll do my best to explain...

During four beats playing the common strum, you play:

down up down up down up down up

"Miss" the strings during that first up-strum for a new pattern:

down "miss" down up down up down up

Lots of folks call that pattern DDUDUDU, but that doesn't communicate the "miss" that gives this strum pattern its musicality. Musicians call that "miss" a rest. Here's the pattern with that language:

down rest down up down up down up

New strums are all about deciding when to rest. Keep that strumming finger (or thumb or pick) going, just "miss" the strings for rests. As you practice, you'll start to hear this in others' playing.

Oops, a third tip: Break up practicing new skills by playing your favorite songs just for fun, and try your best to be patient. Everyone picks this stuff up at different rates. Take your time and have fun!

Thanks Ralf I will take that on board and keep to the dududu and master that and then accentuate a few of the beats to spice it up a bit.

savethecheerleader
10-15-2011, 06:49 PM
Hi all Im back again with the frustrations of strumming timing. I am trying to go through Dr Ukes songbook but I am finding the easiest of strum patterns except DUDU impossible to get. When I listen to the mp3 I can not even hear the strumming pattern let alone follow it. Every song sounds at lightning speed to me. Can any body give me any really basic tips on how to grasp this. I can do the strum pattern but as soon as I have to put it to words it is as if it is impossible. Should I just play the songs for now with just a DUDU strum and be happy with that for now or should I persist. I can change between chords without looking.
I am just so frustrated I can not do it.

Thanks Phil.

Strumming is definitely one of the most difficult things to get down. It's easy to learn chords, but to get those chords to sound like pretty music is another thing.

The important thing to remember about strumming is that it's all based around timing. You can have a really fancy strumming pattern, but if it's out of time, it's useless. It's better to do just a simple down up, down up strumming pattern in good timing rather than something that's really complicated and is not in good timing. While that's true though, it's good to switch things up too!

Most songs you'll play are in a count of four. Another really common count is three. Something that really helps me when I practice my rhythm or strumming is to count out loud or play to a metronome. This forces me to really think about where my strumming is happening.

For example, I can take a down up strumming pattern and play it to a count of four.

I'll count out 1, 2, 3, 4. I want to do this as consistently and steadily as possible. The timing in a song is very steady. I'd just practice counting out loud.

On all the counts, I'll do a down strum.

However, in between the counts of 1, 2, 3, 4, I'll add an up strum.

I can count this by saying 1 &, 2 &, 3 &, 4 &, etc. The down strums happen on the number beats and the up strums happen on the & of the beat.

It sounds like you already have this down, so hopefully, I'm not being redundant, but I do say this because it can be helpful to the way we think about our strumming.

Again, for example, we can build on this. As "TheOnlyUkeThatMatters" expressed, you might take out some strums. Let's take out the up strums on the & of 1 and the & of 3.

Our strumming pattern would be: down, down up, down, down up.

We can count it: 1, 2 &, 3, 4 &, etc.

If you want, I recorded a video awhile back where I explain and play this exact strumming pattern. You can get it here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hL3fnwznmjQ).

So say we got that down... again, because we understand how a song is counted, we could vary that up even a little bit.

We could do a strumming pattern of: down up, down, down up, down.

We count it like: 1 &, 2, 3 &, 4, etc.

All to say, incase you aren't counting out loud as you play, it might be helpful because it allows you to understand where your strums are exactly happening, so we're not just talking vaguely about down and up strums. With these things and as everyone else has mentioned, you gotta start slow and then build on that. It'll come.

Keep up the good work! You're doing awesome! :)

philrab66
10-16-2011, 03:21 AM
Hi Brett
I have visited your website on many occasions. I like your way of teaching, I did post you a message on facebook but you can not of got it. I find most of the beginner songs are strummed really fast in eighth notes I guess that is where I can not keep up. I could do with some songs with a slower strumming pattern.
Thanks Phil.

mm stan
10-16-2011, 04:09 AM
Aloha Phil,
When I first started, those DU style learning confused the heck out me with the timing...I learned to keep practicing and singing along for the timing and tapping my foot to keep the beat.
Here is a good video from Ukulele mike..he's one of the best teachers out there..check out his whole site and he has many others too..good luck and happy strummings...
http://www.youtube.com/user/MusicTeacher2010?blend=7&ob=5#p/u/127/J_dIPS9R8kU

cantsing
10-17-2011, 01:17 PM
I am trying to go through Dr Ukes songbook but I am finding the easiest of strum patterns except DUDU impossible to get. When I listen to the mp3 I can not even hear the strumming pattern let alone follow it.
I know what you mean--sometimes it just seems impossible to figure out the strum pattern. If you can't copy a pattern exactly, you can try a simpler version, just to get a little variation from the straight DUDU. I often do this. I cannot yet do any complex strums, but I am getting better at a variety of simple strum patterns.


I can do the strum pattern but as soon as I have to put it to words it is as if it is impossible.
Singing and strumming is a real challenge for me. This helps me: First, I get the chord transitions working with the strum (no singing). Then, I work on singing and strumming without chord changes. I mute the strings with my fretting hand and I strum and sing the song. I do this over and over until I can strum through the song without even thinking about the pattern. Then I add in the chords.

Lalz
10-17-2011, 02:24 PM
I used to have the same problem about changing chords on time. I'm no expert so I'll just tell you what worked for me.

For me it all comes down to how you hold the neck with your left hand. What I did was practice changing chord without strumming, and try to find the optimal hand position around the neck so that the hand moves as little as possible and only the fingers do. For me one of these positions is to rest the neck so that the back of the nut falls in that curve right between the thumb and the pointing-finger. If you do a C-chord or a G-chord, only the fingers move. And if you do an F, the palm of the hand just gets closer to the fretboard but the neck stays steady. It's all about holding the neck steady so you don't have to worry about loosing balance or dropping the neck when you change chord.

If I do a D7 chord, where I have to move the hand, then I first secure the neck by first pressing the 1st string 3rd fret with my ring finger at the same time as I slide the tip of the thumb underneath the neck (under the 4th string basically), then I form the entire chord. This thumb position works for a lot of chords too and is quite steady as long as you have at least one other finger(s) balancing the uke by pressing on the fretboard.

If I go back to a G then I just progressively slide the hand to an intermediary position until it goes back to where it was before in a later chord.

Once you got the hand position figured out, it's a matter of thinking a bit in advance about what chord you're going to play so that you can start changing how you balance holding the neck. My advice would be to practice just changing chords without strumming until you can do it really fast.

But overall I think it's more important to keep a steady rhythm with your right hand rather than changing chord with your left one exactly on time. One of the charms of the ukulelee is that if a chord change is a bit late, the involuntary C6-chord transition you get by not fretting anything in between (or whatever other chord in between depending on what you're playing), well most of the time it still sounds good IMO :-)

About reproducing an exact strumming pattern: I find it more useful to listen to how the strumming sounds and then try to reproduce something similar intuitively than to watch / read how someone tells you to do it. Maybe my brain is just wired that way. When I overthink it by playing and watching at the same time or if I just think about it too much, then my fingers loose the flow and loose track of what they're doing. Maybe it's the same for you?

Hope this helps!

vanflynn
10-17-2011, 06:04 PM
I can do the strum pattern but as soon as I have to put it to words it is as if it is impossible.

Grab a song you know by heart and sing away. Forget a strum pattern and let your strummin' hand be the rhythm section. Up, down, miss an up or down here or there, the song will drive that. just enjoy and don't think too much. Thinking just gets it the way.

mm stan
10-17-2011, 08:09 PM
Aloha Phil,
To learn natural timing and strumming...what I did was choose easy songs that I knew the timing for such as nursery rhymes..don't laugh it works.. everybody knows the timing to singing
these songs..it is where you begin to learn the basic fundamentals,,,try it here is then link.... http://www.gotaukulele.com/2011/02/ukulele-nursery-rhymes-chords-for.html
good luck and happy strummings.... don't worry about the uudduu stuff...it confused the heck out of me first...

philrab66
10-17-2011, 11:43 PM
Hi Stan
That is what I decided to do , go back to basics. At least you can have fun and actually play something. I will stick at this for a while and learn a few more chords on the way. I think a big part of the frustration is watching other people on you tube and wanting to play like others. I will have to stop watching them.
Thanks Phil.

mm stan
10-18-2011, 09:58 AM
Yes keep with the basics because it is fun and no sense getting fustrated and loosing intrest...you will know when you're ready for the next step....good luck and happy strummings...