How to Strum the Ukulele

Updated on April 16, 2018
Marilyn Lane profile image

Marilyn is a writer and beginner-musician who, in her free time enjoys writing, playing her ukulele, and reading.

Learning to strum the ukulele can seem intimidating, but if you follow these simple steps  it can set you well on your way to playing with ease.
Learning to strum the ukulele can seem intimidating, but if you follow these simple steps it can set you well on your way to playing with ease.

Learning to strum the ukulele can seem intimidating, but if you follow these simple steps it can set you well on your way to playing with ease.

Before You Learn How To Strum

To start strumming, you need to learn how to strum! Before learning how to strum, there is something you need to do.

  1. Make sure your nails are trimmed---the sound coming from the ukulele when you strum it won't sound right if your nails are longer than just barely above the skin on your fingertips. A good way to check the length is to hold your hand, with your palm facing you, and see if you can see the tip of your nails. If you can see more than just the tip, then you might want to file, or trim your nails.

Now you're all set to learn how to strum!

This is a good example of the length your nails should be for playing the ukulele.
This is a good example of the length your nails should be for playing the ukulele. | Source
Learning to strum the ukulele takes patience, but when you know how, you can learn how to play lots of simple songs that require basic strumming.
Learning to strum the ukulele takes patience, but when you know how, you can learn how to play lots of simple songs that require basic strumming.

Step 1

Now you're going to learn how to strum!

To learn how to strum, hold the ukulele, with the strings facing away from your stomach, and then pull the ukulele in till you can put your right hand on it, as if you were patting yourself on the stomach. Another way to think of this, is to picture a seatbelt, with the thinnest part of the ukulele aimed towards your left shoulder, and then your hand comes across to hold the ukulele in place.

Example of how to hold a ukulele.
Example of how to hold a ukulele. | Source

Step 2

Hold the ukulele with your left hand, don't press any chords, you're just going to practice the strumming first.

Your thumb should be in the middle back of the ukulele when you're holding it.
Your thumb should be in the middle back of the ukulele when you're holding it. | Source

Step 3

Hold your fingers on your right hand together as pictured, and bring them down across all 4 strings of the ukulele.

You can additionally try strumming with just your pointer finger- this may be easier for some people. (Also pictured.)

Example of the way your fingers should be when you bring them down across all 4 strings.
Example of the way your fingers should be when you bring them down across all 4 strings. | Source
Example of strumming with your pointer finger.
Example of strumming with your pointer finger. | Source

Step 4

Now do it again. Practice single down-strums, until you get the hang of it.

It will feel really weird at first, and your fingers may have a hard time strumming all 4 strings at once, but when you practice it becomes easier.

It's best if you practice this for a solid 10-15 minutes. Once you've got the hang of it, Congratulations! You now know how to strum the ukulele!

Finding a good, peaceful place to practice, can help you to feel more relaxed and more inclined to keep practicing.
Finding a good, peaceful place to practice, can help you to feel more relaxed and more inclined to keep practicing.

Tips:

  • Try to find somewhere quiet, and peaceful to practice learning to strum. Whether that quiet place is your bedroom, your backyard, the playground in your neighborhood, or your closet, it's best to practice in a relaxing atmosphere. This will encourage you to practice, and not get frustrated.
  • Don't worry if you can't get it immediately! It just takes practice, and once you learn how, you'll wonder how you ever thought it was hard before!
  • If you get frustrated, take a break. Breathe, drink some water, and walk around a bit, then come back and practice slowly.

Leave a comment below if you found this article helpful, interesting, or if you have any tips for people learning how to play the ukulele!

Did this article help you?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Marilyn Lane profile imageAUTHOR

      Marilyn Lane 

      2 months ago

      Anytime!

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 

      7 months ago from La Verne, CA

      It has taken me about 7 months to finally feel comfortable with strumming. I now can grasp what is met by ddu udu and so on. Chord changes are my next big challenge.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, spinditty.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://spinditty.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)