How to Strum Your Ukulele

How to Strum Your Ukulele

For more tips on improving your strum and other beginner tips, check out the full Ukulele 101 course.

In this lesson you are going to learn how to strum your ukulele

1. Take your pointer finger and point to yourself.

2. Be sure to relax the pointer finger and don't let it lock up.

3. Point to the ground and then point to yourself. This is the motion for the basic strum.

4. Bring this motion over the strings until it starts to make noise. You want to graze over the strings.

5. Try to get faster and work towards a cleaner sound.

Here's an exercise you can do to practice your strumming.

1. Count to 4: 1, 2, 3, 4 and add down strums to each number
2. Add up strums in between each number.


  • For some reason my finger keeps catching the top string making a horrible sound :( I recall you saying to not let my finger lock up and I am loosening it. Do you have any other tips to stop that?

    • It sounds like you’re digging in a little too deep. Try relaxing your finger and when strumming you want to be twisting your wrist and not moving your arm so much. If you hold your finger up and pretend your nail is like a clock face, when you strum, you want to be hitting the strings on your down strum with the 1 o’clock part of your nail.

  • Would really like to have a back button so I can repeat lesson. Thank u

  • I just got a uke and can’t get a tuner. Are there specific tuners for them or will any tuner work?

    • Any tuner will work as long as it has the notes: G C E and A. Some cheap guitar tuners do not have all the notes though most do. We have a tuner in the store that is easy to use and works well with ukuleles because it fits nicely into almost all uke cases.

  • This is so help full! thank you so much!!!

  • Hello there. When comes to strumming, is it that I strum all 4 strings or just certain strings?
    And do I strum on top of the sound hole or at the last part of the frets?
    For you information, I’m using Samick UK – 50, Concert type, The store keeper said it’s okay for a beginner to learn with a concert.
    Hopefully, you can reply asap. Thank you.

  • Hi Hank. Most people who have been playing for a while can learn to tune by ear. For those of us that are still learning, if you have a guitar shop near your home they will usually tune for free (provided you chat & make friends with the salesperson). Most sales people are happy to help cause eventually when you do buy a digi tuner, you get it from them. Send email requesting UU to make a video without a tuner since It is possible to do. good luck.

  • Hi, I tried to strumming but now I have no skin left on my index finger. Is there a way to strum without tearing your finger off?

  • Hank, fender makes a tuner that works on guitars, bass, ukes, cellos and violins. Ft-004 is the number on it. We got ours for cheap enough

  • Am I correct that the down stroke is with the thumb and the up with the pointer?

  • MrSouleater12345

    For strumming, i use my thumb i know it’s not how it teaches you but I find it easier and to me it sounds the same

  • Patricia ballenger

    I use an Alaska pick on my index finger due to arthritis in that finger. It makes strumming painless. Do you advise against finger picks? It is similar to having an acrylic nail but a bit more bulky.

  • Hi all the beginner courses are saying that the video is unavailable. I’m using an iPad mini with iOS 7.

  • How long is the index finger nail or any right hand nail?

  • Hey, just got my uke for Christmas but I am really struggling! I now sort of play guitar so will this help? Also do you have any tips for beginners?

    This video was much appreciated so thank you so much,
    Lucy :)

  • This video is great. Since my daughter now has a ukulele of her own, I’ll have her watch your video as a beginner lesson :), I’ll also make sure she watches the 5 minute lesson as well.

  • I strum with my thumb and often it scrapes against the side of my ukulele and makes a small scraping noise. Is that normal or should i stun higher along the neck? Or should i use a different finger?

  • Is it wrong if I lead my down strum with my middle finger and lead the up strum with my thumb? For some reason I feel like my pointer finger gets caught in the strings when I try to do an up strum and it doesn’t seem to flow as smoothly.

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