Ukulele Strumming: How to Play Ukulele Strums

ukulele strummingBy far the most frequently asked question on the blog is, “What’s the strumming for this?” It’s taken me about six months, but I think I’ve finally got an answer to that question.

I don’t mind putting up strumming patterns, but the question really demands a permanent solution for people’s strumming woes. So I’ve written a new ebook: How to Play Ukulele Strums. I’ve been promising this one to a lot of people for a long time but I’ve been holding it back until until I was satisfied that it would be able to give everyone a strong understanding of rhythm and more confidence in their strumming.

The problem is that there isn’t anything out there for the ukulele that gives you the ideas behind strumming patterns so you can work out strums for songs and come up with your own. They just give you a few patterns and leave you to get on with it. My aim with this ebook is to give you the knowledge to understand what’s going on behind the strums so you can play along with any song you choose.

How to Play Ukulele Strums

Price: $17

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Get Your Timing Right

Knowing that a strumming pattern is down, up, up… is a good start, but you need to know how long each of those strums is supposed to last. So I’ve come up with a ukulele-brand based method that will help you get you strumming at the right time. It’s a case of matching up words to the length of the strums. It’s a simple way of doing it but it works great.

Never Be Stuck for a Strumming Pattern

Of course, I’m not going to neglect the strumming patterns themselves. The ebook contains a whole bunch of basic strumming patterns and some advanced ones in the style of ACDC, Nirvana, James Brown, Bo Diddley, The Specials and Bob Marley. There are mp3s of all the patterns (including slow and fast versions of most of them).

Get Your Technique Down

If you ever have problems with your arm getting tired after strumming, or your playing doesn’t sound bright enough, or your strumming sounds a little raggedy, or you can’t get your chnking down; the ebook will help you sort out your technical gremlins. There are videos of the various techniques including basic strums, chnks, muting and triplets.

Who Is It For?

This one is aimed at beginners and improvers who have learnt the basics but feel like there’s something about strumming that they’re just not getting. If you have trouble taking chord charts and matching them up to the song, or you feel like you’re muddling through and winging it a bit; it’ll increase your knowledge and confidence and improve your playing.

Everything is explained really simply, so you don’t need to have any knowledge of musical theory going into the ebook.

What Are People Saying About It?

Thorough and thoroughly fantastic book! Thanks as always.

I’m sure my flatmates will be very grateful for it as well. With time, my practicing will (hopefully) sound like actual music rather than the sort of abstract noise that it was before and my flatties can stop voluntarily banning themselves from home until it’s clear that I’ve moved on to another task for the day.

In all seriousness: the book is wonderful, Thorough, easy to understand, and funny (as always). I am completely indebted to you for saving me from the depths of ukulele despair.

- Carrie Griffin

I shall be recommending the ebook to our Monday Ukearist ukers as I know many of them are interested in improving their strumming. I’ll also be unashamedly stealing your mnemonic way of teaching!

- John Hobson

Al’s topped himself this time which I wouldn’t have thought possible after the blues book.

This is a great read for beginners, but there are some strumming patterns at the end that are brilliant and will take some work to get the hang of.

When I started playing four years ago, I had no idea there would be such a great wealth of information available. Al’s books, in my opinion, are better than anything I’ve found elsewhere, as far as written instruction goes. And, he is rather hilarious when he wants to be.

- Lonna Brockway

I’ve already read this ebook more than 6 times and found something new with each read. A very important aspect for me was that the book covered basic things essential for strumming that are left out in other ukulele methods, such as rhythm and time signatures.
The examples and the videos are really helpful and you can even test out your newly acquired sense of rhythm through the exercises.
If there one book to buy on ukulele strumming, then it is definitely this one.

- Armelle

…it’s definitely set up for everyone at any level to learn something new. I get frustrated when teachers take the small bits of knowledge that make a BIG difference to a new student for granted. Al does the opposite by making sure that everything is explained in an accessible way that takes the mystery out.

Al’s teaching is very clear and well illustrated, and I would rec any of his work. I have Chord Progressions too; I will be working through that for awhile as well, there is just so much great information and there’s enough in each lesson to keep me interested and moving forward rather than get me discouraged like other books or authors.

- “Teek” on Ukulele Underground

What Do I Get?

You’ll get a pdf file of the ebook and a pdf of a printable version of the file. You’ll also get mp3s files and WMV video files. They’ll all be in zip files (check out the FAQ page for more info).

This one is slightly different to the way I’ve done it in the past. There are so many mp3s and videos that it made it too big for a single download. So you’ll get the pdf files as a single download (the same as my other ebooks) and the mp3s and videos will be a separate download. The links to all of them will be emailed to you automatically as soon as you buy.

Guarantee

If you check out the ebook and you decide it isn’t for you, let me know within 7 days of purchasing and I’ll give you a full refund. Just email me and let me know the email address you bought it with – you don’t need to give me a reason or anything. If the ebook doesn’t make you a better player, I don’t want your money (because swimming around in it, Scrooge McDuck style, is only fun if you’ve earned it).

How Can I Buy It? And How Much Is It?

To order it click ‘Add to Basket’.

How to Play Ukulele Strums

Price: $17

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If you’re reading this via email, head on over to the blog to get it.

Once you’ve paid, click ‘Complete Purchase’ to be taken to the download page. You’ll also be sent a link to the download page by email. So don’t worry if you miss it.

If you have any questions, leave a comment or send me a message.

Contents

The full contents of the ebook:

Introduction

1 Strumming Basics

1.1 Strumming Hand
1.2 Holding the Ukulele While Strumming
1.3 Where to Strum
1.4 How to Strum

2 Musical Basics

2.1 Tempo
2.2 Bars
2.3 Notation
2.4 Working Out Time Signatures
2.5 Exercises
2.6 Time Signatures and Metronomes

3 First Strumming Patterns

3.1 Down, Down, Down, Down
3.2 Down, Up, Down, Up, Down, Up, Down, Up
3.3 Notating Strums

4 Rhythm Basics

4.1 Foot Tapping and Counting Out
4.2 Mnemonics

5 Strumming Patterns

5.1 Ups and Downs
5.2 First Choice Strumming Pattern
5.3 Strumming Patterns in 4/4
5.4 Chord Changes Within Bars
5.5 Strumming Patterns in 3/4
5.6 Swing Strums
5.7 Strong Strums

6 Chnks and Mutes

6.1 Chnks
6.2 Mutes
6.3 Complex Strumming Patterns

7 Working Out Strumming Patterns

8 Advanced Strumming Techniques

8.1 Semi Quavers
8.2 Touch Strums
8.3 Triplet Strums
8.4 Changing Bar Lengths

9 Strumming and Genres

9.1 Blues Strumming
9.2 Bo Diddley Strumming
9.3 Reggae and Ska Strumming
9.4 James Brown Strumming

10 Strumming in Tabs

11 Conclusion

12 Exercise Answers

How to Play Ukulele Strums

Price: $17

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Cover photo: New ukulele day! by Monsieur Gordon

View Comments

17 Comments

  1. Chris Double July 16th, 2009 12:32 am

    Wow, outstanding book! Much more detailed than I was expecting, Thanks for making it available!

  2. Harold Pearce July 16th, 2009 7:22 am

    HI Al
    Yep the e books are very good and good value and have put me on the right track to uke playing . But since i play guitar & banjo Ithink I have the strum side sorted . But hey keep up the good work , keep churning them out.
    H

  3. Dagada July 16th, 2009 9:01 am

    Bought this last night and it’s fantastic stuff. Tons of content, and more examples than I ever thought possible. Many thanks.

  4. Carrie Griffin July 16th, 2009 1:56 pm

    Thorough and thoroughly fantastic book! Thanks as always.

    I’m sure my flatmates will be very grateful for it as well. With time, my practicing will (hopefully) sound like actual music rather than the sort of abstract noise that it was before and my flatties can stop voluntarily banning themselves from home until it’s clear that I’ve moved on to another task for the day.

    In all seriousness: the book is wonderful, Thorough, easy to understand, and funny (as always). I am completely indebted to you for saving me from the depths of ukulele despair.

  5. Woodshed July 17th, 2009 3:41 pm

    Chris: Thanks very much.

    Harold: Yeah, give this one a miss. It’s not for everyone.

    Dagada: Glad you’re finding it useful.

    Carrie: You should have an email from me.

  6. FranSpain July 20th, 2009 11:44 am

    A new success, I´m sure!!!
    You can read a review in spanish here:
    http://ukuleleinspanish.blogspot.com/search/label/how%20to%20play%20ukulele

  7. Woodshed July 21st, 2009 11:20 am

    Fran: Thanks for the write-up.

  8. FranSpain July 21st, 2009 11:31 pm

    You are welcome, W.!!!!!!

    I hope a lot of spanish ukers will buy your books!!!

    :)

  9. Cat Green Bike August 29th, 2009 5:41 pm

    I bough this e-book as a reward for my writing a new song. As soon as I’ve aced these tools I shall be calling you, via You Tube where I will declare my love for you and your dedication to all us devotees…

  10. Shelley October 9th, 2009 10:16 pm

    I’m completely new to playing any kind of instrument and have been teaching myself ukulele through websites and videos.

    Bought your book, because I was having trouble figuring out strums, and it’s been tremendously helpful in parts. But the “G-string” mnemonic has me completely frustrated; trying to make my brain fit three strums into two syllables… I’m just not getting it and I haven’t come up with a substitute word yet. :P

    But still… the other bits are helpful!!

    :)

  11. Woodshed October 10th, 2009 9:41 pm

    Shelley: The G-String only has two strums: the first one is half as long as the second one. I hope that clears it up.

  12. Back on 8th May | Ukulele Hunt October 14th, 2009 9:18 pm

    [...] be trying to get How to Play Ukulele Strumming written. So far it’s been an absolute nightmare. I have to get it done because if I [...]

  13. Natasha January 6th, 2010 8:38 pm

    hi, I’m 14 and I got a ukulele this christmas and i’ve been trying to teach myself how to play it from the internet, videos, websites etc. I’ve been playing guitar for a few years, but mainly classical stuff so even though i’m quite good at fingerpicking i have no idea at all how to strum. So far on the uke i’ve been strumming with the side of my thumb but from all the videos i’ve seen this seems to be completely wrong. obviously i can’t buy this ebook though (i’m 14, so no credit card, parents wouldn’t want to pay for something that probably seems really pointless to them…) so can ayone please tell me how you’re supposed to strum? *sheepish grin* thanks x

  14. Jody March 29th, 2010 5:33 am

    Can I download your lessons on iTune? I don’t have
    MP3.

  15. Woodshed March 30th, 2010 8:05 am

    Jody: MP3s can be played on iTunes.

  16. Bob Cargen August 8th, 2011 8:02 pm

    To what extent is your ukulele strums ebook applicable to the banjo ukulele, which is where my primary interest lies?

  17. Woodshed August 9th, 2011 10:58 am

    Bob: The basics of rhythm and strumming are the same. But I don’t play banjolele so it may not be ideal.

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