Ukulele Chunking: Chuck and Strum With Your Ukulele
You want to learn a new ukulele skill?
Of course, you do!
Now, let’s go ahead and try the chuck and strum or what some players call playing with “dead notes” whilst you strum. If you’ve never heard of this technique before, then you have to keep reading until the bottom of this page.
Chucking(or chunking) is one of the basic ukulele techniques that you need to learn as a beginner. Your ukulele journey is not complete without knowing how to pull off this skill.
So what the heck is Chunking?!
Chunking is a strumming technique that lets you mute the strings before strumming. This adds a percussive sound while playing. Some call it a muted strum or palm muting. This technique is commonly used in many songs so I suggest you practice it as soon as you’ve learned some basic strumming patterns.
How do you do it?
Basically, there are two areas in your palm that you can use to mute the strings. You can use the side of your thumb or the fleshy part of your palm along the side of your pinky finger. You can try both and see which one is more comfortable.
Now, let’s go ahead and practice.
This looks simple but it takes a bit of practice before you’ll become comfortable with it. So here’s what you need to do. First off, before you strum, make sure that the fleshy part of your palm is lightly resting on top of the strings. Do not be heavy-handed when you touch your palm on the strings. Once you had your palm in place, you go ahead and strum with your index finger as you normally do. This should happen quickly as you mix your strumming with chunking.
Jeffrey's Instructional Video
Here’s what’ happens... Your palm is basically damping the strings to mute it. The uke will still produce the sound of the chord but the tone will not be as pronounced as when it’s not muted. If done correctly, you should get a nice and melodic “chunk” sound. This technique is a great way to break a strumming pattern and adds more character to what you’re playing.
When you read a ukulele tab, chucks are represented by an X mark. Now that you have learned about chunking, whenever you see an X mark on the tab, you know what to do!
As you go along, you should be able to create a fairly clean chunk sound without much effort. Keep on practicing and you’ll be chunking like a pro in no time!
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