‘Riptide’ by Vance Joy is a hugely popular song that was first released in 2013 and has been enjoyed by millions of people worldwide. And, during the course of its success over the years, it has become a very popular song to learn how to play on the ukulele.
Not only does the uke playing stand out right at the beginning of the song, but when the rest of instruments gradually come in, it evolves into a very epic tune. Still, the main riff and cords coming from the ukulele are what really make the song what it is, and it’s a song that uke players of all skill levels can learn how to play with ease.
In this article, we will focus on Vance Joy’s rendition and strumming method for ‘Riptide’ as well as giving you some useful tips on how to play it. As epic of a song that it is, it’s not a very complicated to song to learn on the ukulele, and there are not that many chords to figure out. So, let’s get started!
How to Play ‘Riptide’ on Ukulele? Learn the Chords!
As mentioned, there aren’t that many chords to ‘Riptide’ and it can be a very easy song to master with a little practice. The basic chords are B-flat minor, A-flat minor and D-flat minor, in that order. You can either use a capo on the first fret if you want to play this song with open chords, or else place your fingers in the first position on the first fret (B-flat minor).
So, start with the B-flat minor chord and then slowly transition into the A-flat minor chord. Then, move to the D-flat minor chord. Practice these chord changes slowly at first until you feel comfortable enough to gradually start to play the song more quickly.
Switching between chords may take some practice before you can do it without too much effort, but after a while it will become more about muscle memory as opposed to something that you have to concentrate on – and the more you play and practice the song, the faster and more proficient you will become.
Learning the Strumming
This strumming pattern is based on 16th notes and, it may seem a little busy and hectic if you’ve never played it before, but it’s easy to master with a little practice. To start, place your fingering hand into a B-flat minor position, and use the index finger on your strumming hand to begin playing. In the first beat (or measure) strum downward two strokes followed by one half-measure up stroke, and then one half-measure down stroke.
Then, after switching to the A-flat minor chord, repeat the same strumming pattern – strum downward two strokes followed by one half-measure up stroke, and then one half-measure down stroke. Keep in mind that you should strum slowly at first, and then gradually increase your speed until you get the hang of it.
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Practicing and Mastering the Song
‘Riptide’ is a massively popular song that has helped to bring the ukulele to the forefront of popular music over the years, and it is definitely a crowd-pleaser once you learn how to play it confidently.
So, while you are learning how to play it, be sure to take your time, focus on your strumming and chord changes, and above all, make sure that you enjoy your learning experience.