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View Full Version : Formby Split Stroke practice pays-off!



Uke Whisperer
11-09-2011, 11:09 AM
I apologize for “tooting my own horn” but have to share this. Only my wife and my Zoom Q3 know about it today, but I had to share this with y’all in hopes of at least a little positive support. I am excited for myself!

For the last few months I have really been practicing my Formby style strumming. My playing has improved and I’ve starting to put together Formby style solos runs. Even though I could play “relatively” fast I reached a plateau and been stuck. I was trying to see if it had improved today by going full-out and it was like someone just flipped a switch. I have been playing between thirty-five and forty, 8 point, Split Strokes per minute. For those not familiar with Formby’s 8 point Split Stroke, each contains D(4-strings), u(1-string), d(2-strings), D(4-strings), u(1-string), d(2 strings), D(4 strings) & u(1 string) while “tapping” an extra note on each of the 3 Down(4-strings). Today I'm playing just over 60/min in 3 separate, 2 minute long, tests!

I am sure for some you “long time players”, this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but for me it’s bigger than even a New Uke Day!

Practice really works! (Perhaps not as fast as some would hope, but it does work!)

Pukulele Pete
11-09-2011, 11:28 AM
Man , ... I've been working on that for a while now and had pretty much given up. I think I'll keep practicing . Any tips ? Thanks.

ksiegel
11-09-2011, 11:40 AM
I'm really happy for you, but...



...I don't have any idea what you're talking about.

Is that the thing where you're supposed to do a down stroke with index finger, followed immediately by thumb, then a forefinger upstroke? If so, then I'm even happier for you, because I can't do it intentionally - it seems to happen accidentally, or when I'm not paying attention to my strum - never when I want to.

If it is something else, then a video would be good, because I really don't understand.



-Kurt

Uke Whisperer
11-10-2011, 12:10 AM
Man , ... I've been working on that for a while now and had pretty much given up. I think I'll keep practicing . Any tips ? Thanks.

I've been working on it 9 months I guess, off and on with learning to play Uke. Last few months, daily. The George Formby Society's "store" sells some videos but not compatible with with US TV format, so I don't have them. I continue to practice. I've mostly used You Tube videos..

UkeLad
11-10-2011, 12:31 AM
I apologize for “tooting my own horn” but have to share this. Only my wife and my Zoom Q3 know about it today, but I had to share this with y’all in hopes of at least a little positive support.


Well definite pos. support from me! :) get that horn binned, swap it for a bugle and REALLY blast - good in you! :)

I've been playing Uke since March (although played guitar for over 20 years) - I've only been playing Uke Banjo for a couple of months, and I'm getting there with split stroke, and slowly getting the hang of 'fanning' too.

I just can't get my thumb into action though, so I modify with first and little finger instead - it just works better for me.

Again, nice to see someone develop a skill and take pride in that - so well done. :)

Ambient Doughnut
11-10-2011, 12:43 AM
I'm really happy for you, but...



...I don't have any idea what you're talking about.

Is that the thing where you're supposed to do a down stroke with index finger, followed immediately by thumb, then a forefinger upstroke? If so, then I'm even happier for you, because I can't do it intentionally - it seems to happen accidentally, or when I'm not paying attention to my strum - never when I want to.

If it is something else, then a video would be good, because I really don't understand.



-Kurt



Nah what you're describing there is a triplet or thumb roll.

Pleny of good vids out three - I like this one by Peter Nixon:

http://www.youtube.com/user/petercnixon#p/u/40/MV80iAq6DEo

I've been practising it for months and can manage pretty well but at nothing like Formby speed!

Uke Whisperer
11-10-2011, 01:28 AM
I'm really happy for you, but...



...I don't have any idea what you're talking about.

Is that the thing where you're supposed to do a down stroke with index finger, followed immediately by thumb, then a forefinger upstroke? If so, then I'm even happier for you, because I can't do it intentionally - it seems to happen accidentally, or when I'm not paying attention to my strum - never when I want to.

If it is something else, then a video would be good, because I really don't understand.



-Kurt


Based on the way you can play the Uke I figured you could play about anything out there! I enjoy hearing you play.

If you are serious, below are my recommended links for doing the basic Formby strokes. Other variations can be easily found on you tube as well.

The basic split stroke (the foundation of all Formby strums) is played with a “stiff” forefinger only. I use my thumb against the side of my forefinger’s 2nd joint as a “stiffener”. The tapping note done with left hand (I’m right handed.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=DE&v=bW7oEN5maZY
and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhjy9_3rusc

Other Formby strokes (still based on timing of the split stroke itself) are done with other fingers.

The Formby Triple is done with “limber” forefinger, and "limber" thumb (limber is key for Triple), followed with forefinger up or up/down.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=DE&v=bW7oEN5maZY
and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUrYZR31BB8

The Shake is done only with a “stiff” forefinger.

The Formby Fan is done with the little finger down, the thumb down and the “hidden” forefinger up.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51KkGdNyc0o


I had already got to fast speed doing the Triple, Shake and Fan before writing the above post.

Uke Whisperer
11-10-2011, 02:09 AM
Well definite pos. support from me! :) get that horn binned, swap it for a bugle and REALLY blast - good in you! :)

I've been playing Uke since March (although played guitar for over 20 years) - I've only been playing Uke Banjo for a couple of months, and I'm getting there with split stroke, and slowly getting the hang of 'fanning' too.

I just can't get my thumb into action though, so I modify with first and little finger instead - it just works better for me.

Again, nice to see someone develop a skill and take pride in that - so well done. :)

Thanks, I needed that.
WOW, “ain’t” this fun!!!!

Pukulele Pete
11-10-2011, 02:27 AM
By George , I'm starting to get it. My hat is off to anyone who has mastered this technique. Thanks Ukewhisperer , I had tried this before and gave up thinking I would never get it.
Since your post I've used your tips and this morning I'm starting to get the hang of it. I guess that's why you are called the Uke Whisperer.

ksiegel
11-10-2011, 03:11 PM
Based on the way you can play the Uke I figured you could play about anything out there! I enjoy hearing you play.


Wow! Thanks for the flattery!

I can't seem to get my hand moving fast enough to do much of the fancy strumming, so I'll often just doi a double strum with the tips of the index and middle fingers, perpendicular to the strings. I don't know if it really sounds like I'm strumming any faster, but I think I'm hitting each string twice per strum direction.

I'm going to have a look at those videos, because I really haven't been able to consciously do any of those strums. Sometimes, I hear them when I'm playing, but when I try and figure out what I'm doing, I can't anymore.

I went and looked at the Peter Nixon Video Ambient Doughnut recommended, and I got completely lost. Sometimes, my playing sounds like that, and sometimes not, but NEVER strumming at that speed! I just can't move my hand that fast!



-Kurt

arpie
11-10-2011, 08:58 PM
Congratulations on improving your speed of the Formby Style of playing - that is a huge step! Worthy of being proud of yourself! :)

Thanks for those links too, Ukewhisperer - I had watched John's tutorials a few times, also Peter C Nixon & Matthew Richard's - but had still not mastered the Fan Stroke even tho I have the split stroke (tho slow) - it is now a little closer to becoming a reality now that I am watching his Fan Tutorial again! :) I am VERY SLOW, tho in my head, I am going fast! :o

I just need to practise every day, I think!!:rolleyes:

Roberta

Uke Whisperer
11-11-2011, 01:23 AM
FYI

I found that once I had pretty much learned the different Formby strokes, but they didn’t sound just right, these two videos provided what I needed to “nail” the rhythms and accents.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYvNtqXVAdw’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugcZVNLie6I&feature=related

I believe Ukulelezaza is a great Uke player. His playing is always “clean and precise”.

Ambient Doughnut
11-11-2011, 01:28 AM
You know, practise practise practise....

I've by no means nailed it but every few weeks I come back and have another go at all the tutorial videos and it gets a little closer each time. I've pretty much got the split stroke now and the fan was beginning to sound quite promising last night. Obviously at nothing like Formby speed but getting faster all the time. Maybe one day!

spookefoote
11-11-2011, 08:45 AM
All credit to you pal. I've been trying to play Formby for years and still sound naff!

Uke Whisperer
11-11-2011, 10:04 AM
You know, practise practise practise....

I've by no means nailed it but every few weeks I come back and have another go at all the tutorial videos and it gets a little closer each time. I've pretty much got the split stroke now and the fan was beginning to sound quite promising last night. Obviously at nothing like Formby speed but getting faster all the time. Maybe one day!

Super you feel like you are making headway. My mind and fingers seem to loose a little connectivity if I don't practice everyday. Probably old age. Keep on strumming. I am!

Uke Whisperer
11-11-2011, 10:12 AM
Congratulations on improving your speed of the Formby Style of playing - that is a huge step! Worthy of being proud of yourself! :)

Thanks for those links too, Ukewhisperer - I had watched John's tutorials a few times, also Peter C Nixon & Matthew Richard's - but had still not mastered the Fan Stroke even tho I have the split stroke (tho slow) - it is now a little closer to becoming a reality now that I am watching his Fan Tutorial again! :) I am VERY SLOW, tho in my head, I am going fast! :o

I just need to practise every day, I think!!:rolleyes:

Roberta

Thanks Roberta. Keep on keeping on! A little each day?

kaizersoza
11-12-2011, 04:19 PM
i am just starting to dabble with the split stroke at the moment, i am finding it really hard to play but judging by the time it takes you all to learn i know i am in for a long ride, thats what i love about this site the fact that you can read how long it takes other uke players to learn things, well done ukewhisperer on your significant achievement

Ambient Doughnut
11-20-2011, 04:05 AM
My attempt:

http://youtu.be/ZM13j7CYvgQ

:)

Uke Whisperer
11-21-2011, 02:02 AM
"By golly, I think you got it!" Sounds great!
I'm not familiar with the uke you are playing, what is it?


My attempt:

http://youtu.be/ZM13j7CYvgQ

:)

Ambient Doughnut
11-21-2011, 02:18 AM
Cheers! I'm still working at it - the basics are there but the speed still needs building up. It's depressing when you can see 10 year old kids on youtube who can do it better than me!

;)

Uke is homemade and specifically for quiet thrashing! See my other thread:
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?56190-The-quiet-practice-uke