It’s true that with just a few chords and a simple strumming pattern you can play hundreds of songs on ukulele.
But maybe you’ve noticed it’s one thing to strum the chords and another thing to sound musical.
This idea of musicality is really interesting to me because what I often find it’s the small, subtle things you add to your playing that make the biggest impact!
In this new video, I take the chorus of Tom Petty’s famous rock song I Won’t Back Down and apply THREE strumming tricks to a beginner chord progression and strumming pattern to instantly add energy to the song.
I show you ways to think about strumming a song to make it sound more musical and give you a handy strumming exercise to strengthen your rhythm.
Strumming Trick #1: Accenting the Beat
The first way to add energy to a rock song on ukulele is to pay attention to how a rock drummer would play.
To mimic the effect of a rock drummer hitting the snare drum, accent or strum beats 2 and 4 louder than the other beats to add a rhythmic pulse and feeling to the song.
Strumming Trick #2: Sixteenth Note Fills
Another awesome way to add energy to your strumming is to include fast sixteenth note fills. These fills not only have a way of adding energy but also have a way of breaking up the rhythm to add interest for the listener.
To practice sixteenth note fills, use this exercise to work on it.
Remember go slow before you speed it up!
Strumming Trick #3: Roll Four-Finger Fan Strums
The rolling four-finger fan strum is an advanced technique that is a perfect way to add emphasis on chord changes. Because you are scraping the nails of the strumming hand fingers across the strings, you simulate the higher frequency treble notes that a drummer makes when hitting a crash cymbal on the downbeat of a measure (the first beat of a measure).
Watch the video to learn the basics of the technique and remember it may take a long time to get the feeling for this technique!
For my most ambitious students, I teach these techniques in detail in the full Strumming Tricks course.
Ahoi, Good Mornin, man!
I have bought a Ukulele soprano a few days ago and i have grown to like it.
i play the guitar occasionally so the idea of the instrument is not totally lost on me, BUT……
How in H*’;: am i supposed to strum E, D (all the more complicated chords) etc.???
My fingers are either to small or to big for the fretboard, i cant get 3 strings with one or two fingers, let alone three fingers in a row with that little space!
Welcome to the ukulele, Mic! As you’ve discovered, the easy chords on guitar tend to be the hard ones on ukulele! Hah! Here’s a lesson on E major, but keep in mind, this is an advanced chord. If you’re just starting with the ukulele, I recommend starting with my four-lesson ukulele course to begin.