This guide includes the strum patterns I use to play Alexander Hamilton from Hamilton. See here for chords/lyrics. See Youtube for my ukulele play-along video. If you're just learning the song, you can also try playing through with just single strums and learning the strum patterns separately.
There are 5 different strum patterns I use in the song. First, I'll go over the names for all the strum patterns. I made up some of the names to describe what I'm doing. Then, I'll go over how to play each strum pattern. Finally, I'll go over a song outline and when I use each strum pattern in the song.
Play a single strum on beat 1, and snap on beats 2 and 4. If you can't snap, feel free to substitute some other percussive sound, such as a knock on your ukulele. The more complicated strum patterns share this same basic rhythm, so practice the rhythm of this strum first.
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + d x x2. dud tap tap
Similarly to the last strum pattern, the percussion is on beats 2 and 4. However, I play dud at the beginning instead of a single down strum.
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + dud x x3. Pump strum
The pump strum is a sequence of down strums where each down strum is followed by a mute. I use left-handed muting to quickly mute each chord before playing the next. If you aren't familiar with left-handed muting, feel free to omit it or learn it separately.
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + d d d d d d d d4. Quiet island strum
The typical island strum is d du udu. For this song, I play a variant where I don't play the second down beat. Written out, the strum pattern is:
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + d u udud u udu5. dud tap tap extended
This is the most complicated strum pattern I use. I'd suggest learning the single strum snap snap and basic dud tap tap strum patterns first. That way, you understand the basic rhythm for this strum. This strum consists of the same strums in the dud tap tap strum pattern along with some additional strums to fill in the sound.
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + dud x u ud x du
Here's a song outline that describes when I use each strum pattern in the song. To disambiguate different sections, I included the start and end lyrics for each section.
|Section||Section lyrics||Strum pattern|
|Burr + Laurens verses||How does a bastard...a trading charter||single strum snap snap|
|Jefferson + Madison verses||And every day...testament to his pain||dud tap tap|
|Burr verse||Well the word got around...name, man?||pump strum|
|Hamilton + Eliza + Washington verses||Alexander Hamilton...treatise on the shelf||quiet island strum|
|Burr verse part I||There woulda been...can't afford||single strums|
|Burr verse part II + company||Scammin' for...In New York (New York). Just you wait!||dud tap tap|
|Company verse part I||Alexander Hamilton...rewrote the game?||dud tap tap extended|
|Company verse part II + Burr + testimonials||The world will never...Me? I loved him.||pump strum|
|Ending||There's a million...Alexander Hamilton!||quiet island strun|