As you play the bum-ditty, keep in mind that in addition to playing the melody you are also strumming the chords, much like a rhythm guitar
player plays chords. Be sure to pay careful attention to the chord changes that are written on top of the tablature. Most of the time the melody notes will be within the
chord that you should be playing at the time, but sometimes you will need to move away from a particular chord position for certain notes.
The strum is accomplished using the back of the fingernail of one finger only -- either the middle finger or the index finger. Try it both
ways and pick the one that suits you best.
The thumb should automatically go to the top string (4th string) as the strum is being made, all in the same motion. After the strum the
hand pulls back slightly while the thumb plucks the 4th string. If you have a hard time visualizing this, think of the top of the uke as a door and make a motion like you
are knocking on the door. The movement is very similar. Note that when knocking on the door, the forearm does not move, but rather the hand is bent at the wrist. The hand
is pulled back only slightly, no more than an inch or so off the strings.
Except for the bending at the wrist, the hand is basically held rigid. The position of the fingers should remain in a claw-like position,
letting all of the movement be done with the wrist. Having said that, you’ll notice in my videos that I keep my hand a little more relaxed and not quite so rigid.
The technique for playing the single strings is basically the same as the beginning of the strum. Your hand
position does not change. The thumb still goes to the 4th string for stability, but when your hand is pulled back (remember the door?) the thumb comes off the 4th string
without making a sound. When playing an individual note on one of the inner strings (2nd or 3rd) the finger should come to rest on the string below it. For example, when
plucking the 2nd string the back of your finger should then come to rest on the 1st string, and so on. Of course, when songs are played at normal tempo this is hardly (if
at all) noticeable because it is so quick, but it does make a difference.