How To Guitar Strum - 7 Tips To Improve Your Strumming

How to strum the guitar well takes a little more patience and detail than a lot of guitarists would like to give. But, it's good to focus on precision early before you start developing some bad habits when figuring out how to play certain guitar tunes.

With bad habits starting to develop, you can significantly slow your learning process even if you THINK you know what's best when learning how to guitar strum. Anyway, here are seven simple tips to focus on when determining the best way for you to strum the guitar.

1. Up and down. Up and down.

If you haven't noticed, there's two basic directions to move your arm that are beneficial to how you strum your guitar. It's simple really. If you can strum your strings moving your arm downwards, you can go pretty fast, but if you go down and then back up, shouldn't you be able to strum twice as fast?

2. Establish your position with the guitar pick early.

This is more about personal preference than anything else. I like to strum my guitar with three fingers holding onto the pick when I'm playing guitar tunes.

Others like to have only two fingers holding the pick with the rest of their fingers spread out and free. Find out what's more comfortable for you and then just expand on it.

3. If you can't do it fast, then go slow. Duh.

There's no reason for you to be strumming and complaining, "Geez! I can't play it as fast as he can!" Well, I guarantee you that even a famous guitar player, when he thought of how to strum his guitar for a specific guitar tune, that was new to him, started slower than the final result.

It's frustrating and sometimes just plain infuriating, but speed only comes after you've developed accuracy. I'm sure you'll see me repeating this tip for a boat-load of other things related to the guitar.

4. Seat your strumming arm comfortably on the body of the guitar.

This tip applies more if you're sitting down and playing the guitar. Keep your bicep resting on the butt of your instrument and bend at the elbow.

If you're using your shoulder to strum, you're doing more than you need too. (Plus, you might look downright odd...seriously look in a're creeping people out.)

5. For multiple strings, use your arm.

If you're strumming a group of guitar strings, you'll need the full force of your arm to strum though the notes of the guitar tune. If there's only single notes to conquer, try to limit your movements to that of your wrist.

6. Keep your arm moving parallel to the instrument.

The way how to get a nice ring from your guitar strumming is to brush the strings moving in a path that is parallel to the body of the guitar. If you strum out away from the guitar, you might miss some strings, and if you strum in towards the guitar, you might bust some strings.

Practice keeping your arm moving in a parallel arc that touches each of the necessary strings evenly for maximum clarity.

7. To practice precision and speed, forget about how it sounds for awhile.

Say there's a fairly difficult strumming pattern that you would like to master in a guitar tune. Sometimes, the best way to get it right is to take away all aspects of the section, but the strumming.

If the strumming is too difficult, forget about the left hand for awhile. Mute the strings with your left hand and just drill into that pattern for as long as it takes. Seriously, you'll be so pleased with yourself once you can introduce the actual notes back into the pattern.

It's tough sometimes. It really is. But slowing down and starting with patience is just so darn valuable to how your skills will develop. Keep your strumming in good posture and tempo and you should start to improve soon enough.


Kevin said...

This will surely improve my strumming and playing skills on how to play guitar. Thanks to the information you shared and posted here a lot of people specially those who are just starting will benefit most of these.

Laurie said...

This is a cool site! I've been playing guitar for almost 2 years and right now I am learning how to play congos but still, I found your blog very useful. My enthusiast on playing guitar arose again when I've read your blog. Thanks for the's great:D

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