Red River Valley Ukulele Tutorial and Strumming Patterns

by | Oct 16, 2020 | Video lessons | 0 comments

Playing along with this “Red River Valley” ukulele tutorial is one great way of passing the time during this pandemic. In these trying times when staying home is recommended, strumming your ukulele and singing along help brighten the mood and keep you busy. “Red River Valley” is an easy ukulele song with only three chords. Moreover, it has a familiar melody that many people know. Although verses for most songs have different melody than the chorus, “Red River Valley” features the same melody for the verses and the chorus.

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Red River Valley Ukulele Tutorial

Beginner ukulele players will enjoy this “Red River Valley” ukulele tutorial. First of all, “Red River Valley” is a popular folk song with a well-known tune. Secondly, you’ll need only three chords:  C, F and G7.


Learn Different Strumming Patterns

In the video, Jenny shows many, different ways of strumming. There’s the simple all-down strums. Jenny plays the first verse with this type of strumming. Next, she plays the chorus with the down-down-up-down-down-up strumming. She even adds some chunking during this part. On the second verse, Jenny strums with a straight down-up-down-up-down-up pattern using just one finger – the index finger. On the third verse, she does the down-down-up-down-down-up strum pattern again, the same one she did on the chorus part but without the chunking. Finally, Jenny also demonstrates some solo ukulele.

A Bit of Song History

The exact origin of “Red River Valley” is not known but historians believe the song was composed in the 1870s. The first identified manuscript of the song has entries indicating “Nemaha 1879” as well as “Harlan 1885.”  “Red River Valley” is also sometimes called “Cowboy Love Song,” “Bright Little Valley,” and “In the Bright Mohawk Valley.”

Members of the Western Writers of America voted “Red River Valley” the number 10 song in their top 100 Western Songs of All Time. Various artists have recorded the song including Woody Guthrie, Bing Crosby, Pete Seeger and Slim Whitman.

“Red River Valley” is one of the songs in our classic book 21 Songs in 6 Days: Learn Ukulele the Easy Way.

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