Category Archives: Strumming

UD#48 Closet Banjo: The Clawhammer Technique

Posted on

UD #48  Closet Banjo: The Clawhammer Technique from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek   I am very excited to introduce the CLAWHAMMER style this week! What’s CLAWHAMMER? Here’s a video of me playing Wayfaring Stranger in the clawhammer style. It will give you a feel for how it sounds. Enjoy! When I first received a ukulele from my wife some 12 years ago I was struck by how it sounded a little like a banjo, an instrument I’d always had a soft spot for. The five string banjo has a high pitched string that is plucked by the   …Continue Reading


UD#38 Sixteen Beat Strum: Steal My Kisses

Posted on

UD#38 Sixteen Beat Strum: Steal My Kisses (Ben Harper) from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek   OKAY, let’s look at Steal My Kisses by Ben Harper. The song has three chords in it: G C6 and D6. Here are the chords in open position on the uke: And here are the chords “up the neck”: NOTE: The D6 up the neck needs to be played at the 5th fret. There’s a little 5 there at the top of the diagram that is hard to see. The progression goes like this: | G                 |  C6                |  D6                    |  G                         …Continue Reading


UD#28 Strum Like a Drummer: Backbeat

Posted on

UD#28 STRUM LIKE A DRUMMER: BACKBEAT (and Right Hand Muting) from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek Hear is a definition of backbeat: back·beat  n. “A sharp rhythmic accent on the second and fourth beats of a measure in 4/4 time, characteristic of rock music.” Hmmm…but how do we do that that? I don’t like getting too technical and getting people to count and try to put stresses on certain beats. Instead I’d like us to play backbeat by FEEL. Let’s start by listening: Here’s a recording of a rhythm with a strong backbeat being played on the drums.   …Continue Reading


UD#11 Bo Diddley Ukulele Strum

Posted on

UD# 11: Bo Diddley Ukulele Strum from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek This week I want to take a look at the Bo Diddley Strum. Here are a couple of videos of Bo Diddley himself playing his famous locomotive-like rhythmic style. One video is from the 80s and one from early in his career:   Bo Diddley’s trademark rhythm has made it into a lot of pop songs over the years. Here are a couple: 1. Faith, George Micheal (The song actually starts at the :55 mark) 2. I Want Candy, Bow Wow Wow   Here is a   …Continue Reading


UD#10 A Knee Slapping Reggae Strum

Posted on

UD#10 Knee Slapping Reggae Strum from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek -HOW TO STRUM A REGGAE BEAT I am teaching and playing this weekend at the Vancouver Ukulele Festival. I will be teaching a workshop on strumming so I thought I would teach a strum for this week’s newsletter. Here are a couple of recordings of me playing the chords to Somewhere over the Rainbow  (Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole version). I am playing the song in the key of G (different from the original)  so just use them as a reference for the strumming groove. faster version: slower version: In the   …Continue Reading


UD#7 PAPER STRUM (Strum-without-a-uke)

Posted on

UD#7 PAPER STRUM (Strum-without-a-uke)  from Ukulele in the Dark w/ Guido Heistek Learning to strum can be a little daunting especially if you have never played a strummed instrument before. There is a lot to consider: •What finger should I strum with on my right hand? Thumb? Index finger? Both? •How can I change between the chords and keep strumming? •How do I know which pattern to strum? •How can I strum and sing at the same time? I find that new players need a lot of experience with the simple act of keeping rhythm with their strumming hand. They   …Continue Reading