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Ukulele percussive playing

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Did you know that percussive playing is a popular technique used by ukulele players to add rhythm and texture to their music? This unique style involves using the body of the ukulele as a percussive instrument, creating a full and dynamic sound.

The history of percussive playing on the ukulele can be traced back to traditional Hawaiian music, where players would use their ukuleles to provide both melody and rhythm. Over time, this technique has evolved and gained popularity in various music genres, including folk, rock, and pop. Today, percussive playing has become a significant part of contemporary ukulele music, allowing players to create intricate and engaging performances.

One of the reasons why percussive playing has become so popular is its ability to add depth and complexity to ukulele music. By incorporating percussive elements into their playing, ukulele players can create dynamic rhythms and captivating beats, enhancing the overall musical experience for both themselves and their audience.

In addition to its musical benefits, percussive playing on the ukulele offers a unique and creative outlet for musicians. With the ability to produce a wide range of percussive sounds using their instrument, players can experiment with different techniques and styles, adding a new dimension to their musical expression. This has led to an increase in the number of ukulele players incorporating percussive playing into their repertoire, further solidifying its significance in the world of music.

What is Ukulele Percussive Playing and How Can it Elevate Your Performance?

Ukulele percussive playing involves incorporating percussive sounds and rhythms into your ukulele playing technique. This unique style of playing adds depth and complexity to your performance, creating a dynamic and engaging sound that captivates audiences. From percussive strumming to tapping and slapping the body of the ukulele, there are various techniques that can be used to achieve this rhythmic and percussive effect. In the next part, we will delve deeper into the advantages of incorporating percussive playing into your ukulele repertoire and provide tips on how to master this captivating technique.

What is Ukulele Percussive Playing?

Ukulele percussive playing is a technique that involves using the ukulele as a percussive instrument, creating rhythms and beats by tapping, slapping, or hitting the body of the ukulele while playing chords or melody. This technique adds a dynamic and rhythmic element to ukulele playing, allowing musicians to simulate the sound of a drum or percussion instrument while also playing chords or melodies on the ukulele.

How to Master Ukulele Percussive Playing

To master ukulele percussive playing, it’s important to start by developing a strong sense of rhythm and timing. This technique requires precision and control, so practicing with a metronome and focusing on keeping a steady beat is essential. Additionally, it’s important to experiment with different hand positions and techniques for creating different percussive sounds on the ukulele’s body. This can include tapping with the fingertips, slapping with the palm of the hand, or using the nails to create a snare-like sound. It’s also helpful to learn percussive patterns and incorporate them into chord progressions or melodies to create a cohesive sound.

Notable Ukulele Percussive Players

There are several notable ukulele players who have mastered the art of percussive playing. One such player is Taimane Gardner, a Hawaiian ukulele virtuoso known for her dynamic and energetic performances that often incorporate percussive elements. Another notable player is Andy McKee, a fingerstyle guitarist who has expanded the boundaries of percussive playing on the guitar and has also applied these techniques to the ukulele with great success.

Tips for Incorporating Ukulele Percussive Playing

  • Start slow and focus on precision and control.
  • Experiment with different hand positions and techniques to find the sound that works for you.
  • Learn percussive patterns and integrate them into your playing gradually.
  • Watch and learn from other ukulele percussive players to gain inspiration and new ideas.

Benefits of Ukulele Percussive Playing

Ukulele percussive playing adds depth and complexity to the sound of the instrument, allowing players to create rhythmic and percussive elements without the need for additional instruments. This technique can also enhance live performances, as it adds a visual and auditory dynamic to the act of playing the ukulele.

Overall, ukulele percussive playing is a versatile and engaging technique that can add a new dimension to the sound of the ukulele and expand the creative possibilities for players.

According to a recent survey, 75% of ukulele players have experimented with percussive playing techniques in their music.

Ukulele Percussive Playing FAQ

What is percussive ukulele playing?

Percussive ukulele playing involves using the ukulele as both a melodic and percussive instrument. It incorporates techniques such as tapping, slapping, and drumming on the ukulele body to create rhythms and beats while playing chords or melodies.

What are some percussive playing techniques for the ukulele?

Some percussive playing techniques for the ukulele include finger tapping, palm muting, strumming, and slapping the strings. Additionally, using the ukulele body as a drum by tapping, slapping, or knocking on it can also create percussive effects.

Can I learn percussive ukulele playing as a beginner?

Yes, beginners can certainly learn percussive ukulele playing. Start by mastering basic strumming and picking techniques, then gradually incorporate percussive elements into your playing. There are also online tutorials and resources available for beginners to learn percussive ukulele techniques.

What type of ukulele is best for percussive playing?

Any type of ukulele can be used for percussive playing, but many players prefer concert or tenor-sized ukuleles for their larger bodies and fuller sound. Experimenting with different types of ukuleles can help you find the one that best suits your percussive playing style.

How can I improve my percussive ukulele playing skills?

Practice is key to improving your percussive ukulele playing skills. Work on your timing, coordination, and dynamics. Also, watching and learning from experienced percussive ukulele players can provide valuable tips and techniques to enhance your skills.

Are there any specific songs or genres that are best for percussive ukulele playing?

Percussive ukulele playing can be applied to various genres, including pop, rock, folk, and even fingerstyle ukulele music. Experiment with different songs and genres to find the ones that allow for creative percussive playing techniques.

Do I need any special equipment for percussive ukulele playing?

While you don’t necessarily need special equipment for percussive ukulele playing, using a strap can be helpful to free up your hands for percussive techniques. Some players also use fingerpicks or thumb picks to enhance their percussive playing.

Can percussive ukulele playing cause damage to the instrument?

With proper technique and care, percussive ukulele playing should not cause damage to the instrument. However, excessive force or improper technique when tapping or slapping the ukulele body can potentially cause damage over time.

Are there any famous players known for percussive ukulele playing?

Yes, there are several famous ukulele players known for their percussive playing techniques, including Taimane Gardner, James Hill, and Jake Shimabukuro. Watching performances and tutorials by these players can provide inspiration and insights into percussive ukulele playing.

Where can I find resources to learn percussive ukulele playing?

You can find resources to learn percussive ukulele playing online, including video tutorials, instructional books, and online courses. Additionally, joining ukulele forums and communities can connect you with other players who can share tips and techniques for percussive playing.


Overall, Ukulele percussive playing is a dynamic and versatile technique that adds depth and rhythmic interest to music. By incorporating percussive elements such as tapping, slapping, and muted strumming, ukulele players can create a full sound that mimics the effect of a full band. This playing style is a great way to add flair and energy to ukulele performances, and it allows players to explore new and creative ways of expressing themselves musically.

In addition to adding excitement to music, percussive playing on the ukulele also helps to improve a player’s overall technique. It requires precision and coordination to execute percussive elements while maintaining the melody and rhythm of a song. This challenges players to develop a higher level of dexterity and control, ultimately enhancing their skill set and musicianship. Furthermore, the percussive playing style opens up a world of possibilities for experimentation and innovation, encouraging players to push the boundaries of traditional ukulele music. As a result, Ukulele percussive playing is a valuable technique for players of all levels, offering a fun and creative way to enhance their musicality and stand out in their performances.