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Hey UUers!

The year is flying by at lightning speed - only a couple more months before those holiday parties start coming around, so the time is NOW to really hone your uke skills and ready them for blowing the minds of your friends and family. For this month's episode of Uke Lessons, we've got an awesome song that all of your relatives will want to sing along to while you provide a sweet, sweet ukulele accompaniment: Imagine by John Lennon.

We're categorizing this lesson as "Beginner" because it's in the Key of C, with no super-fancy chords, and has a simple (though very iconic) picking for you to play. But, make no mistake, it will take some practice because the song is slow and steady, so working to stay on beat while keeping the rhythm flowing will be a challenge. For real beginners, this one will take a lot of time and patience, because even for a moderately "slow" song, it has some quick changes that require you to be nimble on your fingers, but will definitely be worth it in the end. Have fun with it, play along with the Play-Along, and let us know if you have any questions or need anything at all!

Keep rockin' that uke

Aloha,
-UU Staff

Comments

  1. Van Freaking Tactic Boys. Love All You Do. and thank you guys for commenting on the different strum patterns for the chores lines it definitely helped, Rock On and Inner Peace To You All.
    .

  2. This is my favorite song to practice/play. This is a general question about how best to spend 20 minutes – should I start with my favorite to get warmed up? *or* Should I save it for the end after I’ve challenged/failed at new stuff?

    1. Hey Sylvia,

      Aldrine answered your question in this week’s Thursday Live Lesson. He goes over your question right at the beginning of the lesson. If you have any more questions and would like them answered in this format, you can leave your questions here, and catch Aldrine’s answer either live, or on the replay which is usually posted sometime the following day.

      Aloha,
      -Kira (UU Staff)

  3. Hey friends,
    Truly STELLAR job on this song! It sounds so beautiful!

    When I’m practicing myself, I am unclear of how the strum pattern fits in with all of the chords. Is it possible to list the strum pattern alongside the words & the chords, so I can better understand how it fits in properly? I imagine this will grow to be more intuitive at some point. As a beginner, it’s actually quite challenging, and I find myself making up my own strum as I transition between all the chords. Definitely open to support & assistance here! Would love to play this song for the elderly, and for yoga classes! <3

    Thanks!! <333

    1. Hey Athenasoultender,

      Thanks for your kind words! Aaron did a breakdown for some of the strumming in the comments below this lesson. You mentioned that you find yourself making up your own strumming patterns during transitions, this is actually a good thing. Music should be your own, and following someone’s strumming pattern exactly is not something you have to do. Feel free to experiment and do things that sound good to you. Keep up the good work!

      -Kira (UU Staff)

    1. Hey KAKALi!

      Not too sure if this is what you’re talking about, but Aldrine does go over how to use the G chord (at 01:50 in the tutorial video above) and the Dm chord (at 01:35 in the tutorial video).

      The strumming for that line goes:

      F       Am      Dm 
      1   2   3   4   1   2   3   4  
      D   D DU UD DUD D   D DU UD DUD
      
      G               G7 
      1   2   3   4   1   2   3   4  
      D   D DU UD DUD D

      For more on the breakdown of the strumming, check out my comment response to Butch above. Hope that helps, let me know if you need more clarification and I’ll try my best to help you out!

      Aloha,
      -Aaron (& the UU Staff)

  4. Hey guys, I am having trouble transitioning during the strumming part of the song. I do not know when to switch chords and it sucks because everything else I have mastered. Please help I’m a huge fan of what you guys do thanks.

    1. Hey Butch!

      Thanks for being a part of the Underground! I have a feeling that you’re talking about the Chorus section (“You may say I’m a dreamer …”) – which actually has you switching chords in-between strums, so it can get a little tricky. But really you’re just switching chords on counts 1 and 3. So for now, don’t worry about the strumming at all. Count “1,2,3,4” in your head (or with a metronome, set at about 70 bpm) and practice switching to the chords with your left hand on counts 1 and 3:

      F       G       C       E7
      1   2   3   4   1   2   3   4  

      When you are doing this, practice getting your fingers ready and putting them all down at once right on the count. Especially the G and the E7 – get your fingers ready and right when you count “3,” put them all down at one time.

      When you’re able to do that pretty smoothly without having to think too much, work on just the first part of the strumming pattern:

      F       G
      1   2   3   4    
      D   D DU

      Start with your F chord and strum the “D . . . D . DU” and right after you do that Up strum, put down your G chord right on count 3, like you’ve been doing. You won’t be strumming anything on count 3, but your chord will come down almost like a Hammer On Chord. Practice just this part of the strumming pattern slowly, over and over again until you get the feel of putting down the chord not on a strum. Once you get that, you can continue on with the rest of the strumming pattern:

      F       G
      1   2   3   4    
      D   D DU UD DUD

      Notice that when you’re putting your G down on count 3, even though your right hand isn’t strumming anything, it needs to be moving downward anyway in order to be ready to play the Up strum right after the G chord. So you’re essentially “strumming the air” when you put your G chord on count 3, then strumming an actual Up strum right after it. After you get that chord change down, do the same with the C and E7 chords:

      C       E7
      1   2   3   4    
      D   D DU UD DUD

      And when you can do both of these easily, put them together to get the entire line (“You may say I’m a dreamer”):

      F       G       C       E7
      1   2   3   4   1   2   3   4  
      D   D DU UD DUD D   D DU UD DUD

      And it just repeats for the rest of the chorus (except for the last line where it stays on C instead of going to E7). Hope that helps! Let me know if you need any further explanation or if there was a different part of the song that you were having trouble with. Have a great one, Butch – rock on & keep strummin’

      Aloha,
      -Aaron (& the UU Staff)

      1. I’ve literally just started playing the uku (it’s my third day) and this was very helpful. I’m doing OK with the strumming pattern, the riffs and now this chorus thanks to your help here but I still struggle with the verses, switching from F to Am to Dm, then G to G7 as well. Is it still a case of switching on the count of 1 and 3? I just can’t tell, unfortunately!

        1. Ok I figured it out – all I had to do was count my way through to figure out where to change. Still need lots of practice though!

  5. Hello Aldrine.
    Just a little word to thank you for your lessons.
    This one is especially a great one. So thank you very much.
    You’re a great ukulele teacher. And with a great lovely voice too!
    I love your videos and hope to play with you one day XD
    Take care.

  6. Aldrine – you have the voice of an angel!
    Thanks so much for this beautiful song.
    I can’t believe this is the beginner level……it is still a challenge for me.
    Aloha to UU staff for all of your amazing work!

  7. Wow. Thank you for the opportunity to learn to play this masterpiece of musical simplicity and poetic clarity. It is really moving, and soothing to practice this…almost like a meditation on the greatest of all human aspirations (IMHO); unity and loving peace. And so beautifully arranged, played, and sung Aldrine…..amazing.

    Meggie thanks for asking your question – it is exactly the difficulty I am having too….I will proceed exactly as you so carefully explained Aaron. Cheers guys.

  8. I’m having a problem on the picking pattern when you slide down the notes. I can’t get the notes to sound out. I can barely hear them. Any suggestions? Do you just pick the once and then slide down?

    1. Hey Meggie!

      That’s absolutely correct – just pick the two stings once, then slide to the next fret. Be sure that you’re using the tips of your fingers on your left hand to push down on the strings, with a nice arch to your finger to provide strong, even pressure. Practice just sliding from fret 5 to fret 6 and allowing that to ring out. Make sure that you maintain the same amount of pressure with the tips of your fingers during the entire duration of the slide and for awhile after you stop on fret 6, so the note sustains. Once you are able to get a nice sound out of that, try doing the same thing except continue on to fret 7 after pausing briefly on fret 6. So hold fret 5, pluck the string, maintain pressure and slide to fret 6, stop there momentarily, maintain pressure and slide to fret 7. All of this will happen within the span of about 2 seconds, so practice your positioning and accuracy first (don’t overshoot your target frets, land directly in between the two fret wires) and you’ll get it to sound good fairly quickly. Try it out and let us know if you have any other questions or need help with anything else!

      Aloha,
      -Aaron (& the UU Staff)

  9. A great song and especially in this times of word-wide-trouble more acutal then ever! Thanks Aldrine for this nice arrangement and strumming!

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