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Tag Archives: Strumming

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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Twelve Days Of Ukemas – Day Eleven

For Day Eleven, why not try a bit of folk & country music? Richard Hefner’s ezFolk site is another one with masses of free information, from beginners to advanced.

Sections & YouTube playlists include tutorials for a basic uke course; clawhammer; fingerstyle; strumming and a selection of playalong songs & lessons.

Also included is a useful ukulele chords section, showing many variations of chords up the fretboard (plus baritone chord variations).

Here’s Richard with an introduction to the bum-ditty strum – part of his clawhammer course:

 

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Twelve Days Of Ukemas – Day Seven

Cynthia Lin produces some well-arranged songs at different levels, with strumalong videos to help you learn through playing along with her. The songsheets are always free at Bandcamp (you can just enter a payment of $0 – or more if you wish to make a donation to her).

Tutorial playlists include Beginners 1, Beginners 2, Fingerpicking and All Uke Lessons & Tutorials (currently over fifty videos). There are also regular Live Jams (eg at Xmas or on certain topics, such as Beatle songs).

Here’s one of Cynthia’s fingerpicking section songs – a lesson on how to play Sound Of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel:

 

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Twelve Days Of Ukemas – Day Six

If you enjoy browsing through uke blogs to see a mix of articles on improving your playing techniques, tips on how to tackle learning new songs, music from old-time tunes and bad jokes a’plenty, then you should enjoy Danno Sullivan’s Play It Daily site.

In addition to his entertaining blog, there are many free mini-courses (including alternative ways of tackling the E chord and how beating time to tunes on the radio can improve your ukulele strumming technique), Office Hours live interactive lessons & discussions that you can access from the Free Library. Plus there are a couple of Facebook pages with more tips.

You can also take out paid subscriptions to receive more detailed learning resources, such as supplementary daily emails to Chad Johnson’s Ukulele Aerobics training manual, if you wish.

Here’s Danno with a few tips for making barre chords easier & why you will find it useful to use them:

Playing The B Minor Barre Chord (videos lost in recent Play It Daily site redesign – lesson here, replacements coming soon)

 

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Chord A Day

Csus4 ukulele chord

Csus4 ukulele chord – 31 Jan (Photo credit: Ukulele Chords)

Fancy learning a new chord every day? Then hop over to Curt Sheller’s All Things Ukulele site.

There are also a number of other useful free resources on there – including lots of lessons covering chords, techniques, learning the fingerboard, strumming, finger-picking, scales, rhythm, ear-training & songs.

Jeanette

 

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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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