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Spud1$
06-30-2013, 05:33 PM
I'm new to the uke and from reading other posts I'm definitely a slow learner. I've joined a group and this month one of the songs is puff the magic dragon. When I was a kid my dad owned a radio station and every Saturday morning at 10 am the station played this song for me. So for sentimental reasons I would like like to do it justice. The leader gave us a strumming pattern, D DU UDU and then for the shorter parts 2 down strums ( autumn, mist, then autumn, mist, land, hona ) it seems so choppy this way. I know that it's probably my lack of talent and I think maybe its inappropriate to ask for strum pattern help from other posts I've read. Still I would appreciate any help or suggestions. Thank you.

philrab66
07-01-2013, 03:05 AM
I'm new to the uke and from reading other posts I'm definitely a slow learner. I've joined a group and this month one of the songs is puff the magic dragon. When I was a kid my dad owned a radio station and every Saturday morning at 10 am the station played this song for me. So for sentimental reasons I would like like to do it justice. The leader gave us a strumming pattern, D DU UDU and then for the shorter parts 2 down strums ( autumn, mist, then autumn, mist, land, hona ) it seems so choppy this way. I know that it's probably my lack of talent and I think maybe its inappropriate to ask for strum pattern help from other posts I've read. Still I would appreciate any help or suggestions. Thank you.

Yes you have the right pattern just play along with it and get the feel for it then it will click. With anything new just keep practising and try singing along. Dont be afraid to ask anything we have all been there before that is what a forum is for.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFmTakkGC00
This should help you out.

AirCanuck
07-01-2013, 03:29 AM
That's a great song, thanks for refreshing it my mind Spud. If that song hits my on the wrong day, I could well up a wee bit when I hear it ;)

PhilUSAFRet
07-01-2013, 03:36 AM
Be patient. Strumming a skill that improves with practice. Master strums slowly...speed comes naturally with correct practice

Spud1$
07-01-2013, 03:41 AM
Thank you all for the thoughts. This is the first tune I've tried with a strum change and it sounds a little better already. :)

Wicked
07-01-2013, 05:17 AM
Tell your group leader to stop perpetuating the tragedy that is "ukulele strum patterns." Play the RHYTHM that sounds good to you, and leave the D's and U's out of it.

"Strum Patterns" fill me with the white hot rage of a thousand suns - for reasons that I have stated elsewhere.... besides, it is a group setting. If everyone plays the exact same rhythm, it will sound like hell.

Spud1$
07-01-2013, 03:59 PM
Tell your group leader to stop perpetuating the tragedy that is "ukulele strum patterns." Play the RHYTHM that sounds good to you, and leave the D's and U's out of it.

"Strum Patterns" fill me with the white hot rage of a thousand suns - for reasons that I have stated elsewhere.... besides, it is a group setting. If everyone plays the exact same rhythm, it will sound like hell.
Oh dear I have misrepresented our leader. We all agreed to try a bunch of different patterns this month because we all agreed we get stuck in our own routines and need to branch out. No worries this is just an experiment and some different practice for all of us. We have lots of fun and she has stressed over and over to just play what feels right for each of us. We are just all trying to improve and something different to kick around.

Johnny GDS
07-01-2013, 05:22 PM
One thing that I've found useful in mastering different patterns is to imagine what they sound like in your mind. Take a moment and just try to hear the sound of it in your head. Really try to listen and imagine what it would ideally sound like if the pattern was being played perfectly with a really relaxed and natural feel, and very accurately.

I find that being able to hear it internally before attempting to play it can really speed up the learning process. If you can't hear and imagine the rhythms then you probably won't be able to make them happen very well in the real world.

Seriously try it a few times before you play, this has worked for me with stuff I'm struggling with time and time again.

Also if choppiness is a problem, relaxation is the answer. It's very hard to be relaxed and play stiffly at the same time. Choppiness is a result of stiffness and muscle tension. When playing sounds smooth and natural, muscles and tendons are loose and flowing easily. Don't try to force a strum pattern, just try to understand it so well (by hearing it completely first) that it must become easy to play.

Kind of abstract but just another perspective!

Spud1$
07-01-2013, 05:37 PM
One thing that I've found useful in mastering different patterns is to imagine what they sound like in your mind. Take a moment and just try to hear the sound of it in your head. Really try to listen and imagine what it would ideally sound like if the pattern was being played perfectly with a really relaxed and natural feel, and very accurately.

I find that being able to hear it internally before attempting to play it can really speed up the learning process. If you can't hear and imagine the rhythms then you probably won't be able to make them happen very well in the real world.

Seriously try it a few times before you play, this has worked for me with stuff I'm struggling with time and time again.

Also if choppiness is a problem, relaxation is the answer. It's very hard to be relaxed and play stiffly at the same time. Choppiness is a result of stiffness and muscle tension. When playing sounds smooth and natural, muscles and tendons are loose and flowing easily. Don't try to force a strum pattern, just try to understand it so well (by hearing it completely first) that it must become easy to play.

Kind of abstract but just another perspective! I think that's why my strum gets caught. I find I get tense and that's always when I seem to catch and when I concentrate on relaxing I do better. Just seems like concentrating to relax is kind of like an oxymoron.

bazmaz
07-02-2013, 02:19 AM
I totally agree with wicked.

With a few exceptions, most popular music is not written for uke, and as such a pattern is only someone elses interpretation.

I see many beginners getting hung up on strumming patterns when they haven't perfected basic timing, rhythm and technique. Learn the song, then apply your own pattern!

Wicked
07-02-2013, 05:53 AM
Oh dear I have misrepresented our leader. We all agreed to try a bunch of different patterns this month because we all agreed we get stuck in our own routines and need to branch out. No worries this is just an experiment and some different practice for all of us. We have lots of fun and she has stressed over and over to just play what feels right for each of us. We are just all trying to improve and something different to kick around.

No worries... I was just being a bit snarky - as I am apt to do more often than not.

For some reason ukulele players get really hung up on strum patterns. I get it... many come to the ukulele with no musical background, and it is easer to talk about up and down than to discuss beats vs half beats etc. BUT... the simplest way to drastically improve your ukulele playing is to understand rhythm - much more so than understanding scales and harmony.

I will get off my soap box now.

Have fun.

SailingUke
07-02-2013, 06:00 AM
No worries... I was just being a bit snarky - as I am apt to do more often than not.

For some reason ukulele players get really hung up on strum patterns. I get it... many come to the ukulele with no musical background, and it is easer to talk about up and down than to discuss beats vs half beats etc. BUT... the simplest way to drastically improve your ukulele playing is to understand rhythm - much more so than understanding scales and harmony.

I will get off my soap box now.

Have fun.

I feel much the same way, when folks ask me, "what is your strum pattern".
In most cases I have no clue. I am not smart enough to be able to concentrate on lyrics, chords and U's & D's.
Listen to what you are playing and think drummer. When you are strumming you are the rhythm section.
In most cases if you play the chords without reading them from a sheet, it will help your rhythm.

bobO G
07-02-2013, 06:03 AM
Don't worry spud!$ I'm in the same boat as you with that song (puff). So I'll just play loud and they'll blame me . Really though I've concentrated so much on learning chord shapes and chord changes I've neglected my strumming . I was hoping it would just come naturally . But like anything else it just comes down to practice I guess . Hey we'll have fun no matter what . P.S , Think like a drummer , great advice !

Spud1$
07-02-2013, 06:28 AM
I feel much the same way, when folks ask me, "what is your strum pattern".
In most cases I have no clue. I am not smart enough to be able to concentrate on lyrics, chords and U's & D's.
Listen to what you are playing and think drummer. When you are strumming you are the rhythm section.
In most cases if you play the chords without reading them from a sheet, it will help your rhythm.
That makes sense to me too and some sort of strumming always seems to come in my mind along with the song. I think maybe I'm looking to hard for a pattern to follow. Thanks to all

wolfmanchuck
07-02-2013, 11:19 AM
Tell your group leader to stop perpetuating the tragedy that is "ukulele strum patterns." Play the RHYTHM that sounds good to you, and leave the D's and U's out of it.

"Strum Patterns" fill me with the white hot rage of a thousand suns - for reasons that I have stated elsewhere.... besides, it is a group setting. If everyone plays the exact same rhythm, it will sound like hell.

Yeah Wicked taught me that at a Uke Melee.Now my Uke strumming is 10 times better.
It works!!!

Wicked
07-02-2013, 02:20 PM
Yeah Wicked taught me that at a Uke Melee.Now my Uke strumming is 10 times better.
It works!!!

Good to know that somebody got something out of that... I was such a jet-lagged zombie that I barely remember what I even talked about.

Tootler
07-02-2013, 02:27 PM
No worries... I was just being a bit snarky - as I am apt to do more often than not.

For some reason ukulele players get really hung up on strum patterns. I get it... many come to the ukulele with no musical background, and it is easer to talk about up and down than to discuss beats vs half beats etc. BUT... the simplest way to drastically improve your ukulele playing is to understand rhythm - much more so than understanding scales and harmony.

I will get off my soap box now.

Have fun.

I agree with you. Feel the rhythm of the tune and the rhythm of the words and strum to fit that. After a time it comes naturally. I don't even strum in the same way throughout a song but vary it to fit the song.

Shastastan
07-03-2013, 10:21 AM
Don't worry spud!$ I'm in the same boat as you with that song (puff). So I'll just play loud and they'll blame me . Really though I've concentrated so much on learning chord shapes and chord changes I've neglected my strumming . I was hoping it would just come naturally . But like anything else it just comes down to practice I guess . Hey we'll have fun no matter what . P.S , Think like a drummer , great advice !

The same for me. I've been looking for a book that's strictly for strumming. Strumming is mentioned in all the books, but if there's one strictly dedicated to strumming only, I haven't found it. I agree in part about playing "naturally" and/or "feeling", but rhythm patterns vary with the genre of music. Oh sure, I can count out 4/4, 3/4, 6/8 and get the correct beats per bar. However, I would like to have a library of stumming patterns in my head to call up for various songs. I don't think in terms of down ups either. I think that my mind converts the rhythm to "da da di da da di da da" --just as an example or in some cases to use arpeggios rather than strumming. I hear also, "Just keep at it and practice and it will come." Yeah, that's probably true, but things would come faster if I have something to refer to.....and a lot of time would be saved if more reference/learning stuff was consolidated. For now, I'm using the references in Ukulele For Dummies and their following Exercise books. After I gain some familiarity with them, I'll start my own experimentation with different genres such as salsa, swing, etc..

Wicked
07-03-2013, 11:19 AM
Hmmm, I am thinking that perhaps I should compile some genre-specific rhythm patterns to help everyone on their way. Let me see what I can do.

Shastastan
07-03-2013, 02:18 PM
Hmmm, I am thinking that perhaps I should compile some genre-specific rhythm patterns to help everyone on their way. Let me see what I can do.

That would be great. If you write a book, I'll buy one. Thanks.

sugengshi
07-03-2013, 02:34 PM
I agree with you. Feel the rhythm of the tune and the rhythm of the words and strum to fit that. After a time it comes naturally. I don't even strum in the same way throughout a song but vary it to fit the song.

Agree. Feel the rhythm and it'll come naturally. I used to wonder how people can easily pick up the Uke, start strumming and sing at the same time. I noticed my daughter could do that. But personally I'm having the challenge. However, slowly I'm processing and moving forward. I'm improving! :-)

Great advice from all the experts here. Many thanks.

Wicked
07-04-2013, 11:26 AM
That would be great. If you write a book, I'll buy one. Thanks.

I was thinking of a 1-2 page summary of some standard rhythms.... Who has time to write a book? I will put my thinking cap on.

Spud1$
07-04-2013, 06:08 PM
That would be great. If you write a book, I'll buy one. Thanks.


Hmmm, I am thinking that perhaps I should compile some genre-specific rhythm patterns to help everyone on their way. Let me see what I can do.
Me too, me too !!

Shastastan
07-08-2013, 09:53 AM
I was thinking of a 1-2 page summary of some standard rhythms.... Who has time to write a book? I will put my thinking cap on.

We just got back from a 3-day workshop (Ukulele Getaway, Britt Festival, in Jacksonville, OR). The instructors showed as a few strums that were new to us. Given the never-ending possible types, I can now see that writing a book would really be a long process. Sorry for my naivete'.

Sparkle
07-08-2013, 06:45 PM
Hmmm, I am thinking that perhaps I should compile some genre-specific rhythm patterns to help everyone on their way. Let me see what I can do.

That's really awesome. I would be interested.

One thing I've done is play along with songs from a genre I want to learn. Once I have the rhythm of a song in my hand, I try that rhythm with other songs.