How to Strum a Ukulele-Learn Basic Strumming Patterns

Strumming is the most necessary part of playing any song. Read how to strum a ukulele from this article. Before playing, let’s check how to hold a ukulele and how to tune a ukulele.

Strumming is one of the essential aspects of achieving that actual ukulele sound. One of the fundamental pillars of getting to play the ukulele is playing chords and learning a decent strum method. Therefore, in the text below, you will learn how to strum a ukulele.


The Basic Strumming Patterns

Strum With The Fingers

There are two strumming patterns first up strums and second down strum. The simplest way to play your ukulele is up strum and down strum with your fingers.

Firstly, you can use your finger, and secondly, you can use your fingers’ pads to strum. Notice which way seems more suitable and which one provides the most enjoyable sound. Click here to know  How To Play A Ukulele



Down Strum

Strum your ukulele with a down strumming pattern. Strum all the strings in a downwards movement with your index finger. Turn your wrist downwards a little so that your finger hits the strings at a corner.

It helps avoid blocking your fingers in among the strings. You can loosen your strumming fingers so that it jumps over all the string. The best place to begin strumming the strings is near where the neck joins the ukulele’s body.

The best tone produces from here, and the strings give your finger the smallest amount of protection. Start strumming down, down, down, down. You have to go at this speed one, two, three, four strums continuously. Continue this method until you feel comfortable.



However, the next step is up strum. Add up strum in each down strum. When you are strumming down, down, down, down, then strum up, up, up, up same as down strumming.

Pull your index finger backward in the direction it came. Practice more in this motion on its own. Count one, two, three, or four while strumming.



When you are familiar with the down and up strum, then mix both movements. After that, strum down and then up, For example, down-up-down, down-up-down, down-up-down.

In these strumming patterns, you have to change your wrist and index finger position. Always make sure your all fingers are bouncing across all the strings in both directions.



That simplistic pattern is the most primary and can be strum to all notes. Start strumming down-up-down-up continue this method. Just think that each type of note you are strumming will produce either faster sound or slower.


Your hand motion is down, down, up, up, down, up because there are three downs and three ups. On the other hand, without strumming, you have to move differently to get back to your starting position.

This simple pattern is easy, and your hand motion for this strum is essential. However, keep moving your hand in this strum pattern one + two+ three+ four down, down, up, up, down, up. 


How To Strum Ukulele With A Pick

With a pick, you can strum easily. Therefore, you can strum down-up strum. First of all, you should know how to hold it correctly. Make sure, when you have the pick in your hand, to keep it softly but not so tightly.

After that, between your thumb and first finger, grab it. Make sure you are not holding the pick loosely because if you keep it loses, you will drop it. With this pick, you can strum the string one by one.


Now, what kind of pick should you use?

Most importantly, it depends on which type of sound do you want to hear. I recommend you go to your local music shop and buy a thick one. Otherwise, order a felt pick for you.

You can purchase different types of picks. Try them how they produce sound and which one is perfect for you.


Frequently Ask Question

1. Should I Strum With My Fingers Or Thumb?

If you are a beginner player you should strum with your fingers.

2. Where Do I Strum On The Ukulele?

If you strum on the fretboard you will get a bright sound. You will see the string is closer to the fretboard and than to the body. If you were strumming lower down on the soundhole you are less likely to catch your finger when you are strumming there.

On the other hand, if your finger lands in mid-air you’re less likely to damage the ukulele body. A practical and musical purpose to shift your finger onward!


 3. Should I Cut My Nails?

“Yes,” your should cut your nails on your chord-making hand. On your chord-making hand, if you have long nails, it will stay your finger away from the strings.

Most importantly, your fingertip should be able to press the strings to make the chords otherwise it will sound dead. However, three or more chords need to ringing, as a result, three strings sounding sharp to create chords.

In addition, some strings are dead because with your chord-making hand you are not pressing hard enough. Therefore, you will not get the proper sound that you want. If you want to use pick then it will help you have long nails on your finger-picking hand.


4. Can I Play With My Thumb?

Yes, you can play with your thumbs. But, I recommend you to play with your finger at the beginning.


5. Can I Use A Felt Pick?

Yes, you can use a felt pick. But, if you beginner ukulele player then it will be better to use your finger.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *