I’m back at the Ukulele Handbook again tonight while watching a movie. It’s been going alright, and by alright I mean fairly mediocre.  Basically, it’s beating the hell out of my thumb, so I’m convinced it can’t be right. The nail hits the string, sure, but so does the knuckle, and everything in between. Over time, that starts to sting, and as I type, I have a few teeny little cuts near my cuticle.

So, I’ve headed off to youtube, and that’s just got my brain in overdrive. Some perform the triplet strum as Down-Up-Up, which was the first lesson I saw and I thought was just plain the way it was done. But after reading on in the Ukulele Handbook, it says clearly “down-down-up’, which, by the way, is not what it shows in the graphic in the page before (that one is clearly a down-up-down.

So, now I’m not sure which is more traditional, or if it’s just that nobody really gives a damn. Up strokes and down strokes sound different, so I would think one should give a damn, but I’m reminded that ukulele naming conventions are awkward. Some things have ten names. Other things, it seems, have ten things that all go by one name. When a book manages to semi-contradict itself in a space of two pages, I have to wonder how I should be attacking this lesson at this point. Not the way I have been, if I want to keep my thumb in tact, that much is certain. But, beyond that? It’s really pretty unclear.

Onward to google let me to this: http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?315-the-triplet-strum

which further lists different ways for it to be done. The one that’s all pointer seems to be the easiest to speed up, at least for me (at the moment), but also has an overall different quality/sound than the others, so it doesn’t really feel like the same strum, even though it’s a triplet just like the others. So, should I be going down-down-up or down-up-up on this strum? Then there’s the up-up-down also suggested… The internet’s approach to the triplet strum seems to be ‘fuck it. do whatever.’  The Ukulele Handbook’s approach seems to be ‘I forgot what I just said. Did I say that?’ So, I suppose I’m left to my own devices to noodle around and figure out what feels right/sounds right to me.

I certainly don’t mind noodling around with my ukes, but I do wish information on the subject was a little more consistent.  I don’t have a problem coming up with variations, but it would be nice if I could find out what the standard is BEFORE I start making shit up. Just saying.

Until Next Time, Youtubing and Googling like a madwoman.