Scales can often seem a chore but Ukulele Mike demonstrates a relatively simple exercise that will strengthen and improve the flexibility of your left-hand fingers. This looks like an exercise that will make a difference while being easy to learn for beginners and for those with less flexible hands.
Another great tutorial from Manitoba Hal to expand your chord and playing knowledge. He explains moveable chords for the ukulele in an easy to understand way.
For those who love the blues here is a more advanced tutorial on how to improve your ukulele blues progressions from Manitoba Hal.
What better way to remember a great performer than to keep playing their music. Here is an easy ukulele lesson on how to play the strumming pattern for George Michael’s Careless Whisper given by guitarist and ukulele player Eric Blackmon.
Manitoba Hal demonstrates a great variation of an old favourite on the baritone ukulele. This should also be of interest to other uke players as you can play the same chord forms with the usual GCEA tuning in the Key of C.
If you want to improve your strumming technique, here is a great tutorial from James Hill that is well worth the 12 minutes plus of viewing time.
Two of the most common strumming patterns for ukulele are the Church Lick and the Calypso Strum. Many beginners may have come across these strums before but know them by no name or different names. If you wish to play with others or play more difficult songs it is important to know the name of the strum pattern being used.
Ukulele Mike has two good videos to demonstrate both of these strumming patterns and they are both in 4/4 time. He also stresses that you must practice both using a straight strum and a swing strum, to the extent that your “muscle memory” allows you to play them both ways automatically. Repetition is the key.
The Church Lick:
Can be written as:
- down-down up / down-down up down-down up /
- d.du / d.dud.du /
Ukulele Mike demonstrates this as a Straight 8th note strum and as a Swing 8th note strum. This is also useful for changing chords within a bar (Ukulele Hunt).
The Calypso Strum:
Can be written as:
1. / down-down up-up down up / down-down up-up down up /
2. / d.du.udu / d.du.udu /
The Calypso strum is also known as the Island Strum or for guitar players the Rock Strum. It is widely used in popular music and as Ukulele Mike explains in his video, can be played as a Straight 8th note strum or a Swing 8th note strum.
Both songs, He’s Got the World In His Hands and Jamaica Farewell, that Mike mentions as suitable for learning the Calypso strum are in The Ukulele Club Songbook.
Bayside Ukes member.