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Strumming Mastery

Technique Explained
1. Down Strums For Down Beats and Up Strums For
Up Beats! – 99% of the time this is true. Most
songs can be strummed with an 8th note feel,
meaning 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +, or 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. The
only time where this does not apply is when you
are strumming 16th notes. In those cases, you still
want to strum with a down/up fashion. It would
be best for you to work with 8th note feel songs
first to get a good basic rhythm established.

2. Exaggerate Your Strums When Practicing a New


Complex Rhythm - This exaggerated movement
will help keep you from “stalling” your hand in the
up or usually down position. With smaller strums,
you will be less likely to notice your mistakes. This
is just for practicing! You don’t have to do this,
once you get the hang of a particular strum
pattern.

3. Bring Your Strumming Over To The Neck If The


Above Does Not Do The Trick - I discovered this
technique over years of teaching strumming to
students and have found that it ALWAYS does the
trick as far as mastering a new rhythm that
otherwise was troublesome. Just bring your
strumming hand over to the neck and play your
rhythm there. Trust me! Just do it and you will
see what I mean.

4. Make Sure You Have The Proper Gauge Pick –


This is really up to you, however I have found that
a thinner pick makes strumming WAY more
enjoyable as the pick has some “give” and will not
want to pull out of your hands as much as a
medium or heavy gauge pick would. Also, buying
some picks with some “grip” on them is VERY
helpful. Fairly recently, pick designers have been
putting sand paper, or other abrasive surfaces on
the gripped portion of the guitar pick, making it
MUCH easier to stay in your hand. I ALWAYS
strum with these picks! I suggest going to your
local guitar shop and getting a dozen or so picks of
different gauges, sizes, and styles which will allow
YOU to decide what works best for you.
Everybody is different, but typical strumming is
more comfortable with “thinner than medium”
type picks, whereas lead guitar playing and fast
scale type playing requires more accuracy that
medium and heavy gauge picks provide. For
strumming, I use a pick of .53 millimeters (the
gauge is denoted on some picks). For heavier or
more intricate picking, I always use medium to
heavy gauge picks.