How to Play an Up Strum on the Ukulele

by Steven French
The ukulele is a fun and relatively easy instrument to learn.

The ukulele is a fun and relatively easy instrument to learn.

Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Next to learning the proper chords for your ukulele, learning proper strumming technique is one of the most important aspects of good playing. While there are many strumming variations and techniques that can be used on the ukulele to add musical interest to a song, most of the variations have to do with different types of down strums or muting, so the basic up strum is still used. Once you have the basic ukulele strumming technique down, you can begin to experiment with more fun variations.

Step 1

Hold the ukulele on your lap so that the neck is facing toward your left and the strings are facing away from your body. Put your left hand on the neck and hold down the strings to form a chord. You can find many ukulele chords in the Resources section.

Step 2

Place your right hand slightly above the strings, with your fingers curled inward slightly and your index finger extended out with the nail facing down.

Step 3

Brush your index finger lightly across the strings in a quick downward motion, starting with the top string and down through the bottom string. This is a basic down strum that almost always precedes the up strum.

Step 4

Brush your index finger lightly across the strings in a quick upward motion, starting with the bottom string and up through the top string. This is the basic up strum.

Step 5

Repeat the down and up strum, alternating between the two. Try to establish an even tempo between the two strums and experiment with different strum speeds and pressure on the strings to find a technique that sounds smooth and even.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can learn to play a wide variety of songs by searching for a song's chord chart on the Internet and comparing it to the chord chart in the Resources section.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images