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Thread: Plucking and Strumming

  1. #1
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    Default Plucking and Strumming

    Yes, the two in a proper mix in most any number sound great. My question is, is there any guide or rules as to when to pluck or strum other than what sounds best to the performer?

  2. #2
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    I would think it would be up to the performer... but then, I'm primarily a singer/strummer so
    only my 2 cents

    If I were doing it, I wouldn't be following rules, just going by what sounds good to me

    keep uke'in',
    Uncle Rod Higuchi
    ( rohiguchi@seattleschools.org )

    MP3s: http://www.mediafire.com/?50db7nls4o6m6
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  3. #3
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    Johnny, I tend to agree with Rod, that "strumming vs. plucking" is one of those things that we can always keep in our "bag of dynamics" to keep things interesting and spontaneous-- much the same as "faster vs. slower", "louder vs. softer", etc. I'd say just keep it "in the moment" and switch up whenever the spirit moves you!

  4. #4
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    Hey Johnny, I have no contradiction to what the others have said, but I do have a practical observation. I don't know about you, but I am somewhat of a beginner when it comes to combining chords and plucking. And what I need is a plan. I am not good enough to just slip in some plucking whenever I feel like it. I have to plan when I'm going to do it. And that's what I do. I look at the song I'm playing and then I do something like this: in the 12 bars of this song, I will pluck in bars 6 and 7. Then, maybe I will have some plucking prepared or maybe I will just improvise. But I know when I am going to pluck and when I am going to return to chords. Perhaps in the future I will not be so robotic about it all, but right now I need to be anal. I find if I don't make a plan, then my plucking just seems to go on and on, and I screw up the timing of the song.

  5. #5
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    RIPOCK, I think you and I are sort of alike on this subject. I too agree with what the other have said but I am no where near able to do so and sound good yet. I was hoping that there were some rules to follow in order to get started. I am giving some serious thought to learning each song plucking only and then learn the song strumming only. Then maybe if the mood strikes I can just play one or the other. As I was typing this I also started thinking, when one wants to repeat part of a song and you have been strumming mostly, now, switch to plucking for the repeated section. Maybe on some songs that might sound good and keep the song from becoming boring.

  6. #6
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    One thing I have found that works for me, although it is a little bit clumsy, is to break the song into phrases. Then I play a chord at the beginning of the phrase and finish the phrase with finger picking.

  7. #7
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    As an addendum to what I said above, sometimes I operate without a plan when the overall atmosphere is loose.

    For example, tonight I was just pounding out a i-VI-VII° progression in E harmonic minor (sc., Em-C-D#dim). Then, every so often, for the length of four beats I would play around with the F# Lokrian 13 scale (that's just a fancy name for the E harmonic scale starting on the second note of the scale). Then I'd go back into the progression and get a groove and rhythm established.

  8. #8
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    There are no clear rules!

    But a useful guideline might be that if singing is going on, then the instrument(s) should be playing fairly uncomplicated stuff, so as not to distract from the singing. Thus strumming, or picking a simple, repeated pattern. Once the voice stops, there is space for picking a run or something complicated in the strumming department.

    And yet sometimes, not following this guideline is the right answer - as always, it depends on the song.

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