We all know the feeling. You’re jamming along on a tune and then it hits you…
This sounds really boring!
What to do? Well, there are lots of options, but a top contender for the one with the most bang for your buck is called “scrubbing.”
Here’s how scrubbing works:
When you scrub you move the notes of an ʻukulele chord up or down one fret for a moment, creating dissonance before moving back to the chord’s proper location.
James Hill does this a lot for his jazz tunes. Check out Lyin’ In Wait from his album Man With a Love Song. At :09 he does a very obvious scrub into a chord. Not all scrubs are created equal!
If you were playing a G major and you wanted to do some scrubbing, here is what you could try. The first example just goes from a normal G and then drops down one fret, returning to the G on the next strum. The second is just the opposite:
Here’s one in a jazz situation:
This is just a simple C6 Ebdim7 F6 G9 progression, but with scrubs leading into every chord.
Some things to think about:
- It’s a good policy to always “finish” your scrub by ending on the proper chord.
- I find that a scrub below, in general, has a more normal sound. Scrubbing up is more “out.”
- A scrub can use as many or as few strings as are used in the chord – there’s no need to find an alternate closed chord for it to work. If you want to scrub the 3rd fret of an open C, go for it!
- The longer you stay on the “off” part of the scrub, the more tension you build.
- Timing is everything with scrubs. It’s almost more of a rhythmic thing than a note thing.