Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 34

Thread: I cant strum!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Bay area
    Posts
    25

    Default I cant strum!

    Halp. So i just got my ukulele yesterday and i dont know why but i have a problem strumming. i mean whenever my index finger hits the strings, my finger sometimes gets in between the strings and lags the strum. i cant keep a constant strum up and down without lagging in between strums. what can i do about this problem? what finger do you use to strum? and where is the placement of your strum finger? i read online that its suppose to be near the end of the fret board, above the hole.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    I live on a big round ball
    Posts
    1,311

    Default

    "Typical" strumming takes place around the 12th fret with your pointer. You will be using the side of your finger. The best part of your pointer to use is the last joint i.e. where your nail is.

    Try gliding it down (downstroke) softly making all the strings ring out.
    Keep it loose.
    Then try gliding it up (upstroke) making them all ring out.

    Once you get that going try doing it faster until you have found your happy place.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Herts, UK
    Posts
    3,609

    Default

    Don't panic, normantxt. Even the basics can take a little while to get.

    Strum with your pointer/index finger. Importantly, stay relaxed. Don't let your hand tense up. Just brush the back of your fingernail downward. On the upstroke let the pad of your finger do the strum. If your fingernail is long then it might make contact too, which is fine.

    Use the flexibility of your finger, hand and wrist. You shouldn't need to get most of the movement from your elbow. Keep it all loose.

    to begin with, make sure that your hand brushes downward kind of parallel to the top/face of your uke. Try to avoid the strum kind of coming in from the front, as that'll make the finger jam thing worse. If you are relaxed and loose as you strum, and just start with that gentle brushing, you should find that your finger stops wedging into the strings.

    I would strongly recommend that you use a metronome. Start it slow and just work at getting your strum to accurately follow the beat. Gradually speed it up. You may find that it is harder to get your rhythm down accurate at relatively slow speeds than at higher tempos. Work on all speeds to get that steady rhythm into your head and hands.

    Metronome practice is one of those things you can do with relatively little concentration. You can do it for a few minutes or for half an hour. It will pay off.

    If you don't have a metronome then you could download a software one, or try an online metronome such as: http://www.metronomeonline.com/

    Just stick with it and it'll come. Just needs practice, like everything.

    Good luck with it.
    And whether the blood be highland, lowland or no,
    And whether the skin be black or white as the snow,
    Of kith and of kin we are one, be it right, be it wrong,
    As long as our hearts beat true to the lilt of a song.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    East Coast, USA
    Posts
    262

    Default

    Try using a pick. I use "wedgie" brand rubber picks. They come in three different levels of stiffness and thickness. Some people prefer felt picks, but I find the wedgies give a great sound oun the uke and are way more maneuverable.

    Some people will try to tell you that you shouldn't play the uke with a pick, but that is sheer poppycock as I posit the following:

    1."They" have been manufacturing ukulele pics since the turn of the century (not the most recent turn, the one before that.)

    2.Jumpin' Jim suggests the use of a pick to learn strumming technique in the "How to Strum" section of his beginning ukulele book.

    3.Pick technology has come a long way in recent decades, picks are available made from materials that are designed to make a strum sound better than a finger can.

    Whatever you do, practice is certainly the key. Whether you pick with a pick or strum with your fingers, or a little bit of both, maintaining a consistent rhythm and volume will come with practice. The metronome suggestion is a good one, also the Jumpin' Jim's book I mentioned might not be a bad investment.

    Good luck, keep at it.
    “Are music and movies killing America's soul? I hope so! Somebody better be killing America's soul if their idea of what our soul should revolve around consists of things like 'who's going to win on survivor,' or 'don't worry about global warming worry about staying forever young!” -Jello Biafra

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Bay area
    Posts
    25

    Default

    thanks for all your replies! i was just wondering because i was watching the uke minutes video, should i bend my pointer finger like a 90 degree? or should i keep it mildly straight, maybe a little curved, when i strum? again thanks!

    also, i also find that when i do strum, i hit the G or the A, depending if i strum up or down, that its louder than the C, E, string sound. should i just strum lighter so that all the strings are hit evenly?
    Last edited by normantxt; 06-26-2009 at 06:44 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Las Vegas!
    Posts
    1,065

    Default

    Yes, a lighter touch will help. I tend to "brush" the strings with the backs of my nails (all of them, not just index) and use the back of my thumb on the upstroke.

    I wouldn't worry too much about specifics. It's pretty much "whatever works" for you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Brown County Indiana
    Posts
    12,224

    Default

    Having trouble strumming at first is normal if you've never played an instrument. Just keep at it, strum and strum and soon you will have it down.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    2,925

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveVisi View Post
    I wouldn't worry too much about specifics. It's pretty much "whatever works" for you.
    Absolutely. The idea is just to get so you can strum comfortably, producing a good sound. The "correct" form will naturally follow from that, and it will get more and more "correcter" the more you play.



    JJ
    "Talent is just a pursued interest. In other words, anything you are willing to practice, you can do." -- Bob Ross

  9. #9

    Question Oops, am I developing a bad habit?

    Apologies for jumping in on this thread but I've been wondering about my strumming deficiencies too....

    Since I got my first uke a couple months back I have more or less been exclusively strumming with my thumb (outside edge near the nail, up and down, fingers resting on the top of the uke below the strings, all motion done with my thumb). I did read a "Strumming 101" tutorial somewhere that discusses the wide variations of strumming techniques...one finger, two finger, thumb, etc. I guess I considered anything beyond my thumb as an advanced skill...thumb strumming just feels natural to me and it is easy to get a good sound. The few times I tried using my pointed finger it sounds awful, like the original poster described.

    I haven't touched a pick yet, don't even own any.

    Am I developing a bad habit here by relying too much on my thumb? Maybe it is time to force myself to do more finger strumming and get some picks.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Nashville, TN
    Posts
    2,925

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bender View Post
    Am I developing a bad habit here by relying too much on my thumb? Maybe it is time to force myself to do more finger strumming and get some picks.
    My personal opinion is that, while there's nothing wrong with the thumb strum, you probably would be well-served by working on your index finger strum. Mostly because that opens the doors to all sorts of fun techniques like "chunking".

    I see no immediate need for you to get a pick, unless you just want to.

    JJ
    "Talent is just a pursued interest. In other words, anything you are willing to practice, you can do." -- Bob Ross

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •