Cathy's Chords - songs for guitar & uke

Lyrics and chords to old folk songs and favourites from the 50's on. 
Learn-to-play acoustic guitar and ukulele tips for beginners... and some banjo as well.

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Beginning strumming tips

Posted on July 2, 2016 at 2:20 AM

Whether you are learning to play 'sing-along' style on guitar or ukulele, you will need to learn how to strum a good, steady rhythm with your right hand.

 

 

Strumming rhythms can be harder than it looks when you're not used to it.

 

You need to have a clear idea of rhythm. If you're not used to making rhythms, you can practise tapping along to songs when you are listening to music- with your foot, your hand (or just a finger if you're driving a car at the time!). The more you get your body used to tapping rhythms, the easier it will be to get your hand strumming in time.

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Lots of people start with just strumming 'down' all the time, in rhythm with the song.

Once you get used to strumming 'down, down, down', etc. with your thumb, and your wrist can relax, you can start flicking the strings as you bring your hand back up between down strokes. It may feel awkward at first, but the more you do it, the more natural it will feel- remember a nice, relaxed action.

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You can practise just doing rhythms without playing chords or songs at first to get it established, then try some simple songs that you know well. Don't try to do do many things at once to start with, as you'll get discouraged.

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I did a couple of brief videos on YouTube a few years ago when I had a request for help with simple rhythms. Here are the links if you want to have a look (please forgive the singing!):

Tom Dooley - basic strum:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czIUFFuPmTc

Mockingbird (Hush Little baby) - basic strum:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OH81RpPJxQ  

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Keep practising - a bit every day if you can to build up your 'muscle memory', until it comes easily and you can start using your other fingers or a pick, and you can try experimenting with more elaborate rhythms.

 

 

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