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View Full Version : so odd question but one thats always made me wonder



raiden590
09-22-2013, 06:25 PM
so, while yes I do play this way and have been playing for about 7 years, but I have never understood why we play on the fretboard. I know its something when your strumming that you do, and do it, but have never understood why its something that is a for lack of way to put it, "uke law"

sugengshi
09-22-2013, 06:53 PM
As far as I understand, we strum at about the 12th fret as it is supposed to be the loudest point. Besides, Ukulele is small and that is the best position to strum. Imagine if you have to strum near the bridge, you won't be able to hold the Ukulele properly.

mds725
09-22-2013, 07:41 PM
so, while yes I do play this way and have been playing for about 7 years, but I have never understood why we play on the fretboard. I know its something when you're strumming that you do, and do it, but have never understood why its something that is a for lack of way to put it, "uke law"

If your question is why do ukulele players strum across the bottom of the fretboard instead of across the sound hole, it's because over the bottom of the fretboard is the halfway point of the strings from the nut to the bridge, and that's the place where the strings produce the best sound when struck. (Try strumming close to the bridge. The sound there is more "tinny.") From what I understand, it matters less on guitars than on ukuleles because of the much smaller scale (i.e., the length of the strings from the nut to the bridge) of ukuleles.

PhilUSAFRet
09-23-2013, 05:36 AM
If your question is why do ukulele players strum across the bottom of the fretboard instead of across the sound hole, it's because over the bottom of the fretboard is the halfway point of the strings from the nut to the bridge, and that's the place where the strings produce the best sound when stricken. (Try strumming close to the bridge. The sound there is more "tinny.") From what I understand, it matters less on guitars than on ukuleles because of the much smaller scale (i.e., the length of the strings from the nut to the bridge) of ukuleles.

:agree: Yup, what he said.

Barbablanca
09-23-2013, 05:46 AM
..... that's the place where the strings produce the best sound when stricken. ......

I am struck that I should be stricken with guilt for not taking my teacher's hat off and pointing out that is the wrong participle ;)

hammer40
09-23-2013, 06:25 AM
I strum over the sound hole and just before it. I prefer this sound to strumming over the fretboard. It may not be technically correct but it's the sound I prefer.

Wicked
09-23-2013, 07:00 AM
that's the place where the strings produce the best sound when stricken.

Replace best with some other, less subjective adjective.

The whole thing revolves around how the strings vibrate, and the location of various nodes. Without getting all sciencey and stuff, strumming at the twelfth fret gets the string vibrating with few (if any) harmonics. All of the energy goes into producing a wave at that single frequency - thus the apparent increase in volume. Strumming elsewhere on the string introduces various harmonics, depending where you strum. This will change the timbre of the instrument.

Quite frankly, always strumming in the same spot can make your playing sound boring... shake it up. Experiment. Do your thing.

Edit: Check out the physics - http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/jw/strings.html

Uncle Rod Higuchi
09-23-2013, 07:05 AM
I strum wherever my strumming hand/fingers meet the strings, based on how I'm holding the uke.

If the uke is shorter, I might try to make adjustments. For me, it's all based on how I'm holding the instrument.

keep uke'in',

quiltingshirley
09-23-2013, 07:12 AM
Okay, that all makes sense, but than wouldn't a guitar sound better if you strummed at the lower part of the fret board too?

Kdogg
09-23-2013, 08:43 AM
Watch some video's of good players,of both Ukelele and Guitar. You will notice they move around up and down the strings,As mentioned above it gives slight variation to the sound you get. And Remember...
Rules are made to be Broken, but you must first know the Rules to effectively Break them...

Wicked
09-23-2013, 10:09 AM
Okay, that all makes sense, but than wouldn't a guitar sound better if you strummed at the lower part of the fret board too?

Again with the "better"....

It's not better or worse... it's just different. But, yes the same principle applies to the guitar. The difference is, in the guitar world, one says "if you want THIS timbre play here. If you want THAT timbre play there." In the ukulele world, we tend to hear, "play only over the fretboard." Which, truth be told, is very strange - because everybody's ukulele heroes play all over the place. My guess is that Jake didn't get the memo.

raiden590
09-23-2013, 11:15 AM
.
Rules are made to be Broken, but you must first know the Rules to effectively Break them...
That is true. I did not expect this question to get so many answers so fast. It was one of those that I mean I knew it was something we are "supposed" to do but never really know why. I mean if I am picking or something thats when I move over the sound hole since I feel that gives it a fuller sound.

SailingUke
09-23-2013, 12:05 PM
One of the comments I hear from folks is that ukuleles sound plinky/plinky and boring.
Too many beginners play a chunka-chunka rhythm on every song.
Strumming in the middle of the string scale produces the fullest sound.
Strumming closer to the bridge and/or up the neck not only changes volume and tone, but can add variety to your strumming.
Without learning a bunch of strums you can add flavor to your playing by just moving where you are strumming.

hibiscus
09-23-2013, 12:16 PM
Good question & interesting answers~ I'll have to pay more attention to how I'm playing each uke.

mds725
09-23-2013, 12:41 PM
I am struck that I should be stricken with guilt for not taking my teacher's hat off and pointing out that is the wrong participle ;)

Thank you for the public correction. I'm surprised that you didn't also make a public fuss over the word "your" instead of "you're" in the first post (read it carefully).

Kdogg
09-23-2013, 06:30 PM
Thank you for the public correction. I'm surprised that you didn't also make a public fuss over the word "your" instead of "you're" in the first post (read it carefully).

I thot dis was a Ukelele forum not a grammer and spellin forum...

mm stan
09-23-2013, 06:45 PM
Strum where you like and it sounds best for you...it's called personal preference and individual taste... of course you could move your strumming hand too lengthwise...

Hammond
09-23-2013, 06:59 PM
As long as you strum & your ukulele sings.:music: That's the music of ukulele.:)
We learn the theories, we understand the ukulele. Then we apply them on our playing. In time we adjust bit by bit to make nicer music. That build our own style.
Happy strumming! Love your ukulele. Love living.:D