A Guide to Ukulele Strums
Author: Curt Sheller
Publisher: Curt Sheller Publications - (28 pages)
Published: July 01, 2008
Size: 8.5 x 11
Product Code: UKESTRUM1
Product Page: books/UKESTRUM1/index.php
One of the first skills a ukulele player learns is the art and craft of strumming, playing rhythm. This refers to an accompaniment technique suitable for the singer, singer - songwriter or someone who plays a support role for another instrument.
Strumming requires a specific set of skills. They are: 1) Memorization of chords 2) The ability to switch chords smoothly and 3) The ability to choose and execute a suitable rhythmic strum. It is this 3rd skill that is our focus in “A Guide to Ukulele Strums & Rhythmic Patterns”.
Though strumming looks natural to the casual observer, it is anything but natural to the beginning ukulele player. Even experienced players have difficulty in identifying and executing certain strums. Though this is one of those topics that is typically taken for granted, there is much to learn about rhythmic feels, accents, dynamics, strum direction, feel, percussive accents, idiomatic styles and tempo variation.
First and foremost, the subject of strumming is inseparably linked to rhythm. Though an ability to read rhythm is helpful, it’s not necessary to profit from this material.
“A strum is the execution of a rhythmic pattern — in a specific style”
Each strum is identified with a term that differentiates it from every other strum. This term is typically called a “feel”. Drummers learn these terms early in their studies so learning this language is not only helpful to learning the strums, it’s also helpful with communications among musicians in general and drummers in particular.
Strumming can be executed with fingers or with a pick. Regardless of your own style of strumming, it ultimately involves combinations of down strokes and up strokes. In the finger style, down strokes can played with the thumb or the nail side of your fingers. Up strokes can be played with the thumb or fingers. Any technique is usable as long as you can differentiate between down and up strokes.
A metronome is helpful to these studies but not mandatory. The purpose of a metronome is to help develop a steady sense of rhythm and to help increase your awareness of tempo in a beats per minute format. Terms like medium or fast tempo are approximate. An expression like “quarter note equals 120” is exact. We’ll discuss strumming with and without the aid of a metronome.
All strums can be executed at any tempo.
One strum is different from another based on the stroke direction, the stroke density, the subdivision of the beat and the accent pattern.
Guide to Ukulele Strums by Curt Sheller
Review By Alan Johnson, 4th Peg
Ok.. a bit overdue (hey, I’ve got a library book from 1974) but a wonderful addition to Curt Sheller’s marvelous ukulele lesson books is the Guide to Ukulele Strums. This is the one (and only, in my opinion) book to get to work on your right-hand technique and put some pizazz into your playing.
Curt starts with the basics such as what is a strum and some practice exercises. He proceeds with important items such as what do the symbols in the book mean. Curt moves straight on to the strum patterns showing how the strum are accomplished and gives a brief explanation of each. Strum patterns include basic rock strums, ska and reggae strums and many others. Curt also explains how to use single notes (such as bass notes) along with strums to liven things up. These are invaluable for those who truly want to take their playing to the next level. By the way, on page 21 is a Cut Time Strum. This strum is a staple of Cliff Edwards (Ukulele Ike) and no Cliffy fan should pass this one up.
This is a great learning resource, a bargain of a price and I salute you, Curt! You rock (and reggae.. and waltz.. and mambo..)! Surf on over to Curt’s ukulele home on the web and check out his other offerings too.
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All of my (Curt Sheller) books are now available for immediate download. All pdf files can be printed out and are not password protected.
Save off the printed version and get it right away.
Curt Sheller Publications uses PayPal and google checkout for ALL orders.
- Introduction 7
- Some Fundamentals 8
- Preliminary Exercises 8
- Symbols 9
- Quarter Note Strum 13
- Sustain Strum 13
- Rock Strum 14
- Light Rock Strum 15
- 12/8 Strum 15
- Shuffle Strum 16
- Power Shuffle Strum 16
- Double Time Strum 16
- Gallop Strum 17
- Flowing 3/4 Strum 17
- Ska Strum 18
- Bass Note Strum Patterns 19
- 3/4 Strum 20
- Reggae Strum 22
- Broken Patterns 23
- Variations 25
- Modular Phonetic Rhythm 26
- Conclusion 27
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Regarding the Ukulele Chord and Scale Books
Folks, if you haven't stopped by Curt's site, do so right now! ..And get his books, they are fantastic. This guy knows his stuff and is able to pass it along too. - - Alan Johnson Proprietor, The 4th Peg
(Regarding QUICKSTART Scale Fingerings for Ukulele) The ukulele book arrived, it must have been chatting with some Christmas cards somewhere.
The books are great!! I am very happy to wrap the books up, and put them under the tree.
My husband and I are both learning to play ukulele and he is also playing a little bit of guitar. Thanks also for sending the full catalogue. These look like some of the best materials that I have found so far!
Thanks, Laura C.
(Regarding QUICKSTART Scale Fingerings for Ukulele) ... I was looking for blues chording info but your site came up as jazz chords. I figured soon or later I would need jazzer chords so here I am. Plus nobody else is offering more indepth info on the uke, I liked the scale one the best so far.
Thank you RDGauthier
I can highly recommend Curt's Uke books -- I have four of them and they are excelent.
fatveg - Portland (4th Peg Ukulele forum)
Thank you Curt,
I bought a ukulele a few months back after stumbling across a few people playing it on YouTube. I’ve been playing around for a while now, and these books are exactly what I need to bring my technique up a level. Your website and books are definitely a great resource that I’ll be returning to for ideas and help.
“I agree with everybody about just using guitar chords and dropping 2 strings, but I have found Curt Sheller's book "Scale Fingerings for Tenor and Baritone Ukulele" helpful for practicing scales in different modes.” - - dave (davebough, ezFolk Forums)
“Your chord of the week lessons are great! Really opened my eyes as to what I was doing & has allowed me to figure out the best way to play the chords I need, depending on the arrangement. Ive actually only looked at the first 2 weeks so far, then worked out the 3rd week myself.
I especially like the way that each week builds on what was learned the previous, so you are incorporating all the forms into the exercises!” - - S. (sharp21 at 4th Peg "The Parlor Room" Ukulele Forum)
Just a quick note to say, Mahalo for the quick shipping on the Kala Foldup Ukulele Stand. I'm working on my strums with the help of your book. The arpeggio Fingerings are for when I get some of my lessons down pat and I can move on to them. Mahalo for all your time and effort in putting these ebooks and the information you have on your site. I go to you for the most consistent in quality of information.
Me ke aloha pau ole.
Thanks for the quick processing and delivery on my order. Your ukulele publications are the highest quality I have seen.
I'm just a beginner. Never played an instrument in my life. Now, at age 58, it's time to get down to serious learning. Retired, I now have the time.
I wanted to pay you a compliment. (Now don’t get a big head!). I have purchased many books over the past 15 years I have been playing and none of them come even close to having the detailed and easy to understand information yours have. I really got a chance to get some practicing in and am finding your books to be such a great learning tool. I also purchased a timer like you suggested and my practice sessions the past 4 days have been my best in years. Take care.
Nick (Matty) Matyszczak
All book sizes are 8.5" x 11" unless noted and music stand friendly, "lay flat" coil binding.
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