More Reggae Strums: Reggae Scratch and Skank Strum

More fun with Reggae Strums!

More Reggae Strums: Reggae Scratch and Skank Strum

The great thing about these strums is - they can be used to spice up any song. You'll learn later that these reggae strums or variations of them are used in other types of music as well.

Various accents on beats 2 and 4  are actually fairly common, the Reggae strum is just one of the many ways to do it.

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More Reggae Strums, Reggae Scratch and Skank Strum

Reggae Scratch Strum

To perform the Reggae Scratch strum:

  1. Rest the side of the palm of your hand on the strings, right next to the bridge, with your thumb pointing outward, away from the ukulele. Make sure that you hand is muting the strings as it rests on them. 
  2. Use your first finger to strum as indicated below as you continue to mute the strings.
You'll get a scratching sound.

Here's how you do it:

  1. Tap your foot evenly to keep a steady beat: 1, 2, 3, 4, etc...
  2. Now count: 1, 2 and, 3, 4 and, notice you'll add an "and" after the 2nd and the 4th beat.
  3. Play on these beats: 1, D U, 3, D U. You will be playing a Downward strum on the "2" and an Upward strum on the "and" same thing on the  "4 and"
Performance note: rest the side of your palm on the strings muting them as you strum

Not sure about the notes and strumming or want to learn more, see the Play Ukulele NOW Method and Songbook for comprehensive lessons on strumming or the FREE eBook for the basics.

The Skank Strum

This is just a double time version, ( meaning it's twice as fast), of the Reggae Scratch. 

The rhythm above uses 8th notes, since the Skank strum is twice as fast you'll need to use 16th notes! For 16th notes there will be quite a few counts in between the 1, 2, 3 and 4 counts.

Counting 8th and 16th notes:

Say "and" when you see this symbol, &

For 8th notes you count: 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &; in strumming eighth notes you'll have a strum on each count and on the &'s in between.

For 16th notes count: 1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a

Now let's play the Skank Strum, do this muted with your palm, just like above:

  1. Tap your foot evenly to keep a steady beat: 1, 2, 3, 4, etc... (do this very slowly to start)
  2. Now count 16th notes; 1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a, count aloud as you tap your foot on counts, 1, 2, 3, 4
  3. After tapping your foot and counting, play a downward strum on the "&" and an upward strum on the "a." Like this 1 e D U 2 e D U 3 e D U 4 e D U, you should still be tapping your foot along to keep time, as indicated above.

For advanced players: These strums are common in modern Reggae music, but can be used for almost any song. These strums can also be combined with regular chord playing for a real complex and interesting sound.

More Reggae Strums, Reggae Scratch and Skank Strum

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