Today we’re going to give you 5 ukulele strumming patterns for beginners. These five patterns are relatively simple and will cover a lot of ground.
Even though most of the attention in ukulele lessons is placed on chords, strumming is just as important. After all, once you place a chord with your right hand, you need to see what it sounds like with your left hand. Strumming is where you lay down the groove as they say. In the simplest of terms, you’re going to be using your dominant hand to strum the ukulele. It is also the dominant arm that’s responsible for securing and stabilizing the instrument while you play it. This is done by pressing it gently against your body while playing.
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Down, up, down, up
If you are picking up the uke for the very first time, this is your first pattern to learn. Simply strum down, and then back up, and repeat that.
Like all the examples in this article, you can stretch this pattern in any number of ways. You can use it for fast sons, medium songs, even slow songs.
As a matter of fact, if any other pattern is too hard for you, you can always replace it with this one. Once you spend more time with the instrument and develop a practicing habit, you can then move on to harder strumming patterns.
Down, down, down, down
This pattern is quite simple but does take a bit of practice to master. The idea is that you strum right on top of the beat. This pattern is great for songs that have a ska or reggae bit.
Try to be as accurate as possible when strumming down on this one. Typically, you will play this pattern on each downbeat of a 4/4 time signature. Alternatively, you can play it on the downbeat and upbeat, in case the song moves a little slower.
Also, this pattern is great to develop a better sense of time. In other words, practice this pattern along with a metronome to make your time feel stronger.
Down, down, down, up down
This pattern is closely related to the one above. To help you understand it better, imagine you are doing the down, down, down pattern. However, after the third down (or third downbeat), you are going to insert an upbeat, before the next downstroke. ,
In other words, you are just adding an upstroke between the third and fourth downstrokes. Try it really slowly at first and see if you can get it to groove.
In reality, this pattern isn’t much harder than all downs. That said, it will force you to work on both timing and a smoother strumming technique.
Down, down up, down, down up
This pattern shares the same principle as the previous one. Again, think of this as a variation of the down, down, down, down pattern. The only difference is that you will be adding an upstroke on the upbeat of two, and an upstroke on the upbeat of four.
Simply stated, you are adding one hit for beat one, two hits for beat two, one for beat three, and two hits for beat four.
This pattern is quite useful and is featured in many guitar songs that translate well to the ukulele.
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Down, down up, up, down
This pattern emphasizes your timing because the third beat does not have a down strum. Although it is considered an easy pattern, it can be tricky at first.
Try visualizing it before attempting to play it. The way to do it is to just count until four like you would while playing along with most songs. Now, instead of hitting the downbeat on three, you will be hitting the upbeat.
This pattern is a bit like learning to ride a bike. Once you get it, you never lose it. Down, down up, up, down is quite useful for many songs and will help you develop your sense of time even further.
Remember to try this one slowly until your brain and hands connect to not play on the down strum on the 3rd beat and just on the upbeat.
The 5 ukulele strumming patterns for beginners can keep being quite fun to learn. Together, they add up to a nice resource at the hands of any ukulele player.
You will most likely be able to play any beginner ukulele song and many advanced ones with these five patterns. Keep in mind that they are very similar to each other, but their differences can have a big impact on how a song sounds.
With time and practice, your strumming technique will get better, so have some patience and stick with it. In the meantime, remember to practice every day and have fun!