Strum patterns are used when the ukulele is used as an accompaniment instrument. They consist of a fixed, repeating sequence of downstrokes, upstrokes and silent strokes to express rhythm and harmony of a piece.

Straight

  • A regular pattern of one downstrum followed by one upstrum.
  • The first beat is accentuated.
  • 4/4 time: The four quarter notes are basically played as eight eighth notes.
  • 3/4 time: The three quarter notes are basically played as six eighth notes.
  • For Slow Straight, the upstrokes are left out.

Swing und Shuffle

  • Each measure is divided into triplets with one quarter and one eighth note each.
  • The quarter note is played as a downstroke, the eighth as an upstroke.
  • 4/4 time: Each bar has four triplets.
  • 3/4 time: Each bar has three triplets.
  • For Shuffle, beats 2 and 4 are accentuated instead of beats 1 and 3 (backbeats).


Stuart Fuchs: Shuffle Strum (2018)


Stuart Fuchs: Shuffle and Straight (2018)

Church Lick

  • 4/4 time: The second and third upstrokes are left out.
  • 3/4 time: The second upstroke is left out.
  • Variants are Boom-chicka, Slow Lick and Crazy Lick.
Boom-chicka

This variant of the Church Lick is popular in Bluegrass music (a Country music style). The G string is played with the thumb (“boom”), followed by a downstroke and an upstroke (“chicka”).


Brett McQueen: Learn the “Boom-Chicka” Rhythm (2016)

Calypso

  • The first upstroke and the third downstroke are left out.
  • Variants are Slow Calypso, Lazy Calypso and Crazy Calypso.

Videos

Michael B. Lynch: How Do I Choose Which Strum To Use?

Brett McQueen: 5 Effective Strumming Patterns for Beginners

definityOrg: Intermediate Strum Patterns