19.09.2023 Strumming and fingerpicking techniques in “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire”

In the Academy workshop yesterday, we went over strumming and fingerpicking techniques to make the Ink Spots’ “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire” sound as fancy as possible. In case you haven’t heard it yet, listen to the Ink Spots sing this tune and search around to see if you can find any nice covers of it elsewhere on the internet 😉

Initially, in the lesson I suggest using a simple “swing shuffle” strum pattern while learning the chords. In case it helps, I’ll share my notation of this strum pattern here:

"swing shuffle" strumming: 
*swing the eight notes here!
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
D   D U D   D U

D = down
U = up

Later in the lesson, I give some strum pattern variations to make things more interesting. As a starting point for creating your own strumming variations, I suggest left-hand damping for the first two measures of each line:

left hand damping:
*again, swing the eight notes
P   P   P   P
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
D   D   D   D

On each quarter note, press briefly with the fingers
of the left hand (P), while strumming down (D) with
the right.

I'll also often add a quick upstrum (U) on the "and"
of 4:
P   P   P   P
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
D   D   D   D U

Next, I suggest trying out the “island strum” on the third and fourth measures of each line, alternating a more “open” and ringy sounding strumming approach with the drier, left hand damping measures. Using a mixture of both techniques can be nice at times!

the "island strum"
*keep swinging the eighths on this tune
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
D   D U   U D U

Enjoy this one! Share any questions that come up for you in the comments below, or to the Academy WhatsApp group. To join the group, send me an email at sage@ukuleleswingschool.com with your phone number and country code. 😉



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