How to Chunk on the Ukulele

by Henry Francis
The chunk technique is useful when a player is not backed by any other percussion.

The chunk technique is useful when a player is not backed by any other percussion.

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The chunk, known as "chunking," is a percussive strumming technique used to play a ukulele. Chunking is a straightforward technique that adds percussion to your play, allowing a player to provide a steady beat to accompany his favorite melodies. A range of tutorial resources are available to players looking to perfect their technique, but the best way of learning and honing your chunk strum is through regular practice.

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Step 1

Develop your orthodox strumming techniques before you move on to trying to develop a chunk — chunking is a more advanced technique, and so should only be added to your repertoire once you have honed at least an up-down, up-down strumming pattern.

Step 2

Hold your ukulele in a regular position, with your dominant hand above the strings. Curl your strumming hand halfway towards a fist and strum downwards, striking the strings with either three of four fingers, depending on your preference. Strike the strings with your little finger first if you wish to play with four fingers, while you will hit the strings with your third finger first if you decide to play with three fingers.

Step 3

Strike across all of the ukulele strings with your thumb or where your thumb — which should be pointed towards the floor — is connected to your hand immediately after you have completed a strumming motion, leading to an onomatopoeic "chunk" sound. According to Ukulele Underground's chunking tutorial, you do not need to hit your chunk with much force and you definitely must not "dig down" on the strings when chunking.

Step 4

Vary the way you attempt chunking as you develop your own technique. Play around by hitting the strings in different ways with your thumb (although it should always remain pointed roughly downwards).

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't be disheartened if you find you are initially unable to play a perfect chunk strum — keep practicing and you will find a level you are happy with.

About the Author

I have been involved in coaching and administration of youth soccer with the Herts FA for several years. I have many years experience with the technical side and equipment of soccer, cricket, rugby, snooker and poker. I studied the health and fitness and dietary side of competitive sport while at University. Currently, I am not ready for on-camera opportunities, but this could change with access to training and equipment.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images