L3: Syncopations & Pauses

Please note: after careful consideration, this lesson has been moved to LEVEL 3 (please ignore any references to level 2).

Relevant symbols from The Key:

Π = downstroke with index, middle or both
V = upstroke with index, middle or both
– = placeholder for half of a beat (let chords ring unless otherwise indicated)


By using the placeholder ‘–’ instead of a downstroke ‘Π’ at various places in your strum patterns you can acheive a number of pauses and syncopations that are useful in a wide variety of songs.


To earn your Strummer Level 3 patch, demonstrate five of the following strums in 4/4 time, one from each grouping. You may use a song or songs you are working on to demonstrate the strums, or one of the chord sequences you’ve learned so far. Demonstrated strums should keep a consitent beat with no noticeable pauses between chords. Patterns may be played straight or swung.

Π – Π V – V Π V (International Ukulele Club) or Π – Π V – V Π – (IUC Variant) . . . arguably the most popular strums in the world
Π V – V Π – Π – or Π V – V Π – Π V
– V Π – Π V Π V or – V Π – Π V – V
Π – Π V Π V – V or Π – Π V – V – V
Π – Π – – V Π V (Hava Nagila) or Π – Π – – V – V
Π V – V – V – V or Π V – V – V Π –

The Extra Mile

Combine any of these patterns with it’s variant to make a two-measure combination strum pattern.