How To Chuck Strum A Ukulele

The iconic percussive sound of “chucking” is synonymous with the ukulele and ukulele music.  What is chucking, how do you produce a chuck, and where can you apply the chucking technique? Read on below to learn how to chuck strum a ukulele and bring greater depth to your playing. 

How To Chuck Strum A Ukulele

What is Chucking?   

Chucking is a percussive way of strumming where the player strums and mutes the strings at the same time with the strumming hand.  

How to Chuck

Let’s break the chucking technique into three steps: Down, Mute, and Flick. 

Step 1: Down

Slowly allow the strumming hand to strum down.  Stop the downward motion before the index finger comes in contact with the strings.   

Step 2: Mute 

Place the side of your strumming hand on the strings.

Make sure that the side and/or the palm of your hand is in contact with all 4 strings to mute them.

Step 3: Flick

Take your index finger and flick down on the muted strings.  

Using the index fingernail makes a crisp clean chuck or muted strum; however, the index fingernail is not essential to making the chucking sound. 

Notes and Tips: 

You may have to adjust the position of your palm or hand to be able to mute the strings and flick down with your index finger comfortably.  

Keeping the neck at a 45-degree angle may help the palm cover the strings.

If the placement of your hand to mute the strings feels awkward, try strumming where the base of the neck meets the body of the ukulele.  You will notice that the string tension is lighter and there is more room for the strumming hand to mute the strings.

Step 4: Chucking While Strumming

Strum down slowly and let the palm come in contact with the strings first.

When you feel the strumming hand come in contact with the strings, the index finger will flick down on the muted strings. 

Repeat the process slowly, completing each step individually.  Gradually speed up to melt all three steps together.  Eventually, the three steps will melt into one fluid motion.   

Below is a very common strumming pattern called the “Island Strum” with chucking on counts 2 and 4.  Because the Island Strumming Pattern is so common, it can be used for dozens of ukulele songs.

A chuck could be added to any strumming pattern where there is a downstroke, so feel free to experiment with this technique and apply it to a familiar song to add dynamic and musical interest. Now that you’ve learned how to chuck strum a ukulele you’re ready to expand your playing.  

Similar Stories

Ukulele Size Guide: 4 Most Common Ukulele Sizes

  Whether you’re enrolling in your first ukulele class, learning how to play online, or purchasing one for a friend/loved one, picking a ukulele can…

How To Tune Your Ukulele With A Headstock Tuner

It is essential to learn the different parts and how to tune your ukulele correctly even before trying to learn your first chord. Knowing the…

How To Play Ukulele Chords

Congratulations!  You’ve learned the parts of the ukulele and how to tune it.  Now you’re all set to learn how to play some ukulele chords…