When you’ve learned your first chords on ukulele, it’s time to start strumming!
With strumming, it’s all about keeping a steady, consistent rhythm.
To help ourselves keep a steady rhythm, in this lesson, you count out loud to a count of four: 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on, and you learn to strum on the most popular strumming patterns – the calypso strum.
Watch the video to hear the calypso strum and learn how to play it.
The Calypso Strum
To play the calypso strum on ukulele, strum down, down up, up, down up while counting 1, 2 and, and, 4 and.
Practice this strumming pattern while playing a C major chord placing the ring finger on the 3rd fret of the bottom A-string and letting the other strings ring open.
How to Practice the Calypso Strum
Learning to strum is all about repetition.
First, strum this pattern while counting out loud, like I do in the video. I recommend setting a timer for a minute and strum for the duration of the minute. Aim to keep your counting as even as possible, meaning you aren’t speeding up or slowing down.
Then, practice strumming again without counting. If you lose the rhythm, go back to counting out loud.
Lastly, practice switching chords. For example, switch from a C chord to a G7 chord on the first beat of the measure. To play a G7 chord, place the middle finger on the 2nd fret of the C-string, index finger on the 1st fret of the E-string, and ring finger on the 2nd fret of the bottom A-string. Let the other string ring open.
When you switch chords, there should be no pausing or hesitating between the chord changes. If you find yourself pausing, go back and practice your chord positions and go back to the previous steps above.
How to Play Songs With This Pattern
It’s one thing to know chords and it’s another thing to know this strumming pattern, but how do you put all that together to play actual songs?
That’s exactly what you do in the free ukulele lesson book Your First Ukulele Lesson and Then Some where I teach you how to play your first songs simple strumming patterns like this one.
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