A student asked me to help with the strum in the body of this cover of Earth Angel:

I’ll admit I used a little known YouTube feature to help me figure out what he was doing; I slowed the video down to half speed and discovered . . . He’s combining left hand muting with chnking in a Jawaiian-style (a mixture of Hawaiian and reggae). It is really advanced, but you can conquer most anything if you break it down, go slowly and have the patience to go over it a thousand times. Here is what he is doing most of the time (with small variations throughout):

ϴ– X– ϴ– –– | ϴ– Xx ΠΦ –– (notice NOTHING is happening on beat four)

where . . .

ϴ = staccato downstroke muted quickly by lifting the left hand or with a ‘pinky mute’
X = chnk (percussive downstroke muted with rh)
x = left hand dead strum or pinky mute
Π = downstroke with index, middle or both
Φ = staccato upstroke muted quickly with right hand (or by lifting the left in case of a barre chord or by ‘pinky mute’) – in this case, either of the latter two options is used

You can simplify this by using Θ (Θ = staccato downstroke muted quickly with rh) in place of ϴ and using the right hand mute option with Φ, but it will sound subtly (or not so subtly) different, depending on many factors.

Find out more about strumming shorthand at <a href=”http://powerup.ukuleleplay.com/strumming/key-strum-shorthand/” target=”_blank”>http://powerup.ukuleleplay.com/strumming/key-strum-shorthand/</a>

Post filed under All UkulelePlay! Blog Posts, Ukulele Technique.