UD#88 The Magic of Triplets

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UD#88 The Magic of Triplets
from Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek

 

GETTING THE FEEL OF TRIPLETS

As promised, this lesson we are looking at the triplet strum.

The most common triplet strum has us playing three strums in the space of one beat. In other words we are strumming a “triplet” on one beat.

I like to get people to clap triplets before we start to try to learn the strum. That way we can get the feel of it. Let’s do that.

 

Clapping Triplets

First, let’s clap one triplet. Like this:

1  2  3

Now, let’s clap a series of triplets. Like this:

1  2  3   1  2  3   1  2  3   1  2  3

 

Counting Beats

Count 4 beats out loud. Try to do this more slowly. Count:

1       2        3         4

Make sure that each beat is the same length (evenly spaced).

 

Counting Beats and Clapping Triplets

Now for the fun part. Let’s count the beats 1   2   3   4  out loud and clap a triplet on each beat.

Like this:

I’ve made a little video about triplet strums on the uke. I first demonstrate the triplet by clapping and counting, and then go on to show you 4 different ways of strumming it.

A link to the video is below. Here is a brief outline of what’s in the video:

 

STRUMMING A TRIPLET, THE SIMPLEST WAYS

1. The simplest way to strum a triplet is with all down strokes. Count the beats out loud as you strum the triplets with all down strokes:

2. Another way to strum a triplet is by using a down up down, down up down, pattern in the right hand. Like this:

This is a little more efficient than playing all down strokes. I often use this technique when strumming the blues (See Video).

 

FINGER AND THUMB TRIPLETS, TRICKIER BUT WORTH IT

There are some techniques, using the index finger and thumb, which allow us to play triplets. Here are two ways.

1. This is the first one I ever learned. Ralph Shaw showed it to me:

2. Here’s another technique using the index finger and thumb in a different way. You strum up with the thumb instead of the finger. I’ve come to like this way of playing a triplet because it seems to make more speed possible:

 

This will all make a lot more sense when you see it. So….

 

HERE IS THE VIDEO LESSON ON HOW TO PLAY A TRIPLET STRUM:

That’s all for today. See you next time….Guido

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