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Tag Archives: Strumming pattern

PLUCking Ukes – Rhythm Without Blues 2

It’s always more difficult to play the slowest numbers, such as Abilene – which we play in a much more leisurely fashion than the original – because you have to be very accurate with your tempo and there is always a temptation to start speeding up!

Spending just a few minutes a day for a few weeks working on your strumming (eg with a metronome, to a steady backing track or using other rhythm tools) will soon improve your sense of timing.

We’ve discussed this previously in an earlier PLUCking Ukes – Rhythm Without Blues entry. This introduced some useful rhythm exercises from Rhan Wilson’s All In Good Time site, which are always worth recapping.

Several of the music theory sites we’ve covered contain fun rhythm games – a good one to try out is Theta Music Trainer.

If you’re confident with those, moving on you could try some of the rhythm tutorials from Stuart Fuchs. Stu has a number of lessons concentrating on different strums and rhythms, such as ones from his ‘Uke-a-Billy‘ rockabilly collection, which are suited to rock ‘n’ roll numbers – including straight strums, shuffle, backbeat, Bo-Diddley beat (aka clave) & boogie. He also explains how to play many different rhythmic styles in his playalongs, including swing, rhumba, calypso, boom-ditty, funky, reggae & more.

Get out your metronome (Google brings up its free one or there are plenty of free apps available) and try out Stu’s backbeat lesson:

 

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PLUCking Ukes – Rhythm Without Blues

Over the last few club nights we’ve had discussions about how it’s important to consider the ukulele as both a stringed AND percussion instrument. We’ve talked about varying our strumming patterns to add more interest to songs. And also seen how easy it is to fall into the trap of speeding up when we play!

So I was pleased to find Rhan’s Wilson All In Good Time site. Subtitled Rhythm & Music Explained Simply, Rhan is both a drummer & uke player & has an excellent set of tutorials which urge the reader to be patient & not rush into playing the next song before mastering the basics.

I need a new strum! – Part 1

See also his lessons on: Put some “feel” into your strumming!How to be a better “strummer” – revised

In addition to his very good strumming technique pointers, he covers finger-picking & playing in a group / performing. Well worth dipping into – or even reading from the beginning, as the older posts give a good grounding in improving your timing & listening skills.

 

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PLUCking Ukes – Striking A Chord

To help in playing chord progressions more smoothly, Doctor Uke has two simple PDFs with the most common progressions for three- & four- chord songs in all the main keys:  I – IV – V7 & I – I7 – IV – V7. If you take these nice & slowly at first, paying attention to getting a good clean sound, then increase your speed gradually, you will build up good muscle memory of how to play these chords.

Also useful is the Ukulele For Dummies Chord Families sheet, which shows the basic chords for the main keys.

These three items make a nice warm-up at the start of your practice & can be varied by you changing the order of the chords or visiting the Doctor Uke’s Music Theory page, where he gives a number of songs in different keys for you to try.

Alternatively, you can add in practicing different strumming patterns whilst working through the chord progressions, with or without a metronome, to help you keep in time.

 

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