I’ve had so many questions on how to put out good chords (as in how to strum) in a ukulele – not just with chords in general and strumming but in the proper key. So far I’ve had mostly beginners strum with an acoustic strum (ie: a guitar) – with no intention to play the chord (that will inevitably sound wrong – because the chords are not in the right key – so in an attempt to make the chord sound right you actually distort the sound and not the pitch). Here’s my best approach to strumming a ukulele chord in a proper key. I will describe how I usually do it, in the order that it came into being.
1. Start with the first note on the chord.
Usually one will first get to the fourth, or tonic, note of the chord before they reach the 3rd. This makes a huge difference. For example, when I’m strumming a D maj7 and get to the 2nd note and the tonic, the tonic becomes a C# – this makes it sound very different to the C# maj7, when you strum it as the 4th. Or, on the Cmaj7 the tonic becomes a D major, and the C# becomes a D, or B – this is a real difference.
2. Play a note 1 or 2 notes away from the chord.
Mostly when I’m strumming the D maj7, I usually start on the 5th (in the key I’m strumming) instead of the 7th. This makes it sound a bit better to me, and will lead to an easier time strumming the chord – I actually like the note (I’ll write its name when I go to play the tune), and the rest of the chord is very easy. With the Maj7, a lot of times I can just jump to the next note and play the next chord, and it makes it really easy on me.
3. Play a chord in the 4th finger of the strumming hand.
Also pretty easy. I have no problem doing this for my A major chord. I just go to the 4th finger (you can choose if you play the 3rd and the fourth). Once I’ve strummed a chord, I usually put the 3rd on top of the note I’m strumming, and don’t worry if it ends up
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