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  • How Do I Strum is The Question…

    Posted by Tanglewood Tel on January 27, 2022 at 8:53 pm

    Would anyone know where i can find help here on how to strum. Finger picking is where I spend most of my time because I’ve never known how to strum. Some of you probably think this is a wind up, but I’m serious, I’ve never got into strumming because it feels like the rubbing belly one way whilst circling my head the other, I really cannot figure it out.

    Any help directing me to a video would be much appreciated.

    Kind regards

    Terry

    N-lightMike replied 2 years, 2 months ago 9 Members · 34 Replies
  • 34 Replies
  • polarpeak75

    Member
    January 27, 2022 at 10:27 pm

    Hi Terry B, have you checked out Tony’s Skill Courses? There’s one for strumming (and lots of other good stuff!) Have a look:

    https://tonypolecastro.com/courses/strumming-jumpstart/

    Strumming Jumpstart

    • Cadgirl

      Member
      January 28, 2022 at 3:11 am

      Hey @polarpeak75 , thanks for the post. I also have issues strumming. I’ll look this course up.

    • Tanglewood Tel

      Member
      January 28, 2022 at 10:29 am

      Many thanks @polarpeak75 for mentioning this. I did take a look at the skill courses last night but only got as far as watching the first video and then got drawn in because I found that also what I wanted to learn. But once I’ve replied to all our lovely community friends for all their help and gone through todays Daily Challenge, I’ll certainly be heading over there. I’d love to go there before the Daily Challenge, but somethings telling me I’ll be there all evening 😀 Many thanks and much appreciated

      • Tanglewood Tel

        Member
        January 28, 2022 at 11:38 am

        @polarpeak75 @Cadgirl I never realised or saw that there was a 2nd page which is where the “Strumming Jumpstart is, so once again, many thanks for your kind help and much appreciated

  • Loraine

    Member
    January 28, 2022 at 12:05 am

    Hi Terry, I think strumming is difficult (who woulda thunk), and I took Tonys Jumstart to Strumming in the Skills section, and I watched videos on YouTube and other music videos found online and really paid attention to how guitarists held their picks and that most strumming is done with a light touch (even though it sounds as if they’re hitting the strings hard). Granted, some guitarists definitely play hard and rough. I also found sites that had strumming patterns and I muted the strings with my fretting hand and simply practiced strumming without playing a song. I would start with quarter notes – just a down strum on each count. Then I put in the half notes (up strums)., and so on. That was probably the biggest help when learning to strum. Simply deadhead strumming, as I call it. Good luck with it.

    • Tanglewood Tel

      Member
      January 28, 2022 at 10:38 am

      Hi @Loraine and thanks for the priceless tips that will save me valuable time. I will certainly remember your advise, so many thanks and much appreciated 👍

      Ps, I want to learn to play Neil Youngs “Old Man”, I love that song and understand that there is muting involved with the palm next to/on the bridge, which isn’t easy to do, but once I learn strumming, I know that I will be able to learn that track 😃

      • the-old-coach

        Member
        January 28, 2022 at 9:33 pm

        TerryB-

        Old Man is a really fun song to play! This will help—- check out “martymusic old man”.

        Type it in just like that- and hit “enter”. You may just love it.

        MJ

        • This reply was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by  the-old-coach.
  • Cadgirl

    Member
    January 28, 2022 at 3:14 am

    Thanks for the info @Loraine , strumming seems like it would be easy, but it’s not. I’ll try to follow the strumming order of….. up, up, up, down up and it’s like “what” in my brain.
    Good luck @Terry B and see you in the strumming course 😉

    • Tanglewood Tel

      Member
      January 28, 2022 at 10:40 am

      @cadgirl, if we strum loud enough we might be able to hear each other and give marks out of 10 😂

      • Cadgirl

        Member
        January 28, 2022 at 10:47 am

        I just don’t understand how it can possibly be so hard to strum. The pick will get caught on a string or something else bad happens. ha ha ha….. we will get this. If it was easy everyone would be doing it.

      • Tanglewood Tel

        Member
        January 28, 2022 at 10:53 am

        This is what the Daily Challenges are for @Cadgirl to give us practice on picking those notes on various strings and frets and I make you 100 percent right, if we practice enough, we WILL get there 😀

      • Tanglewood Tel

        Member
        January 28, 2022 at 1:02 pm

        Hey @Cadgirl I started watching the strumming jumpstart course and got to the 3rd video and had a light bulb moment and I wanted to make sure that you’re ok with your pick size and I realised that mine was no good.

        It suddenly occurred to me when Tony mentioned about finding the right pick for me, that I realised NO I wasn’t. I’ve always had a 0.71 pick and it’s seriously to thick and I have no control over what I’ve been trying to do, which is strum the strings both down and up smoothly, but with this pick I’m wrestling with it and getting nowhere.

        So I thought, right lets see if there’s a course on Flatpicking and there is (Flatpicking jumpstart I think it’s the 16th course on the first page of the skills courses).

        I have a spare assortment pack of picks (so I thought) and there’s about 20 of them and about 15 of them are guess what, yep size 0.71 and the remainder are 3 different sizes 0.38, 0.60 and 0.?6 (faded) and even just trying these ones is making life so much easier. I mean I still need to watch the strumming course, so thanks again @polarpeak75 (without your help I’d still getting nowhere) 👍

        But Starting from basics by working out which size pick I want, is a major break through for me in learning strumming at the beginning and not back to front which obviously was never going to work in a million years and I guess I’ve heard it mention to be many times about pick size, but it’s never even registered.

        So are you happy with your pick or do you maybe need to think about this and try out some other sizes.

      • N-lightMike

        Member
        January 28, 2022 at 2:02 pm

        There seems to be a lot of encouragement and direction Terry. (I can’t tag you because your “nickname” has a space in it. I tried using just “Tanglewood” but it didn’t work.)

        Anyway, what I wanted to add was that you can strum without a pick. I do. In fact, it’s quite common. Just a thought.

        MG 😀

      • Guitargeezer-Jack

        Member
        January 28, 2022 at 2:24 pm

        I wholeheartedly agree with MG as I let my thumb nail grow so it has become a plectrum (hard to lose this pick!). Downside is it has become a cutting tool of sorts that I have to file daily. 🤔 Of course, the fleshy side of the thumb works nicely too for a softer sounding strum.

      • Tanglewood Tel

        Member
        January 28, 2022 at 3:30 pm

        Mr @Guitargeezer-Jack much appreciated for echoing what @MikeGaurnier has tried helping out with, but hopefully I’m on a fast track sprint now to getting some decent strumming going, but as always, many thanks and much appreciated 👍

      • Tanglewood Tel

        Member
        January 28, 2022 at 3:27 pm

        Hi @MikeGaurnier and I’ve noticed in comments passed on to me that I’m actually tagged as Terry B, so hopefully this will help for future reference. Also many thanks for your helpful suggestion, however I have actually tried using my thumb and due to my nails being very short, I find that I get very little sound coming through and that’s why I thought I’d try with a pick, but very kind of you to try and help out with this matter, which I very much appreciate. I have now realised and found out that my pick was to thick and after trying a thinner one, my strumming has already started to sound more consistent, not perfect but I’m confident that Tony’s strumming course will be of great value 👍

        Many thanks for your kind words and much appreciated.

      • N-lightMike

        Member
        January 29, 2022 at 5:57 pm

        Ok, let me try that @Terry B. So, I never got the “tag” pop up to come up for anything beyond Ter, which brought up Terbine and some named Anthony. Do you get a notification that says I “mentioned” you, or just “replied”?

        MG 😀

      • Tanglewood Tel

        Member
        January 30, 2022 at 2:40 pm

        Hi @MikeGaunier as your can see here, I’ve just tagged your name and what I find a lot of the time varies. Sometimes as I’m typing the name, the suggestions show BUT some times they don’t. Also sometimes when I finish typing the name I can pause there and wait up to a perhaps 30 seconds before the correct name shows up BUT and there are a lot of buts, sometimes the name just never shows and all I can think of is it’s an internet issue. So now I type the name in, recheck I have spelt it correctly and then move on, I don’t wait any more.

        If I’m already logged in when you tag me, I get a notification, but obviously not being with you, I won’t actually know when you tagged me. Also baring in mind that I’m in the UK and you’re in the United States so I wouldn’t see it as possibly a sleep as 5 hours difference.

  • That_Guy

    Member
    January 28, 2022 at 5:51 pm

    This site doesn’t have much in the way of strumming other than a brief introduction to boom chicka strum. There are a lot of videos on YouTube about strumming. It’s mainly about being able to do a pattern and get your hand to go on auto pilot. The hardest thing for me to learn about strumming was developing a super light touch on the strings because a heavy hand makes everything buzz really bad. Strumming really is about developing touch so that you can have dynamic and volume instead of playing at maximum volume all the time and having nowhere left to go which was my problem

    • N-lightMike

      Member
      January 29, 2022 at 1:19 am

      Yeah, you really nailed it there @That_Guy . Touch is what makes strumming sound so good and polished. I never put in the time to get that and now I’m all about finger picking. Sounds like you are getting it though. I think that’s great. I would love to hear you sometime.

    • the-old-coach

      Member
      January 30, 2022 at 3:38 pm

      That Guy, Mike, Terry–

      Great post- thanks for that insight!

      Hadn’t really given it much thought, but I spent most of today’s session FOCUSING on a really “light touch”- exactly what you and Mike were saying.

      When just playing along on a tabbed song, I always just strummed kind-of on autopilot as far as volume goes. If the song was big and loud/ or soft and easy– that’s the way I tried to play it…. “along with the song” I was hearing.

      But today I went at each song a second time- but a little different. The tabs were still visible, I read thru the song– but I turned the sound OFF. And with the song’s sound only in my head– (in a now-quiet setting)- I really FOCUSED on “light touch” playing.

      I could hear that song in my head exactly as if it was playing out loud– but my light-touch strumming sounded PERFECT- (at least to my ears😜)- to the music in my head. The guitar sounds were cleaner, crisper, clearer somehow. I actually think I was in “the zone” for a bit there!

      To me, this is just another example of how much a person can learn simply by paying attention to the advice of those ahead of them- (that’d be you all!).

      Great question, great thread…….. Thanks—-

      Mark J

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by  the-old-coach.
  • N-lightMike

    Member
    January 29, 2022 at 11:03 pm

    I just watched this video. I have watched quite a few videos on strumming. I understand enough that if I was willing to spend the time, I’m pretty sure I could get good at it. I mean, I’m definitely not bad now, but I have seen really good strummers, and I’m not there. One of the people who attends the VOMs regularly is a really good strummer and all of the rest of us recognize it.

    But, I still watch videos on strumming here and there when one interests me, just in case I come across something new that gives me more insight. I have watched enough videos on strumming, I really didn’t think I learn anything new. But this video surprised me. At the beginning, I thought it was just the same old stuff that I know backwards and forwards. Hey, I could teach it. But then, he makes some suggestions on how to practice different patterns that I did get new enlightenment. In fact, if I was going to watch just one video or recommend just one video, this would be the one:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjM5fyXoV8w

    I hope this helps.

    MG 😀

    • the-old-coach

      Member
      January 30, 2022 at 3:02 pm

      Great video, Mike- Thanks- MJ

    • Tanglewood Tel

      Member
      January 30, 2022 at 3:12 pm

      Hi @MikeGaurnier now I got to the “G” and a list came up but you wasn’t in it until I hit the “u” so sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

      @polarpeak75 @Cadgirl @Loraine @mkjohnsons @Guitargeezer-Jack @That_Guy

      Right for this post that you’ve written, I watched this yesterday and combined with one tip that he gives on another video and another tip from somewhere else and a 3rd tip from somewhere else, my strumming to Wonderwall which I’m presently learning has come on leaps and bounds.

      Justins tip was slow down using a metronome, then slow down, then slow down UNTIL you’re strumming at a speed at you can do ok to ALL of the chords. So pick the chord that is your weakest at strumming and strum it as slow as need be until it sounds good and if that’s as low as 40 bpm, then play all the chords at 40 bpm.

      Once that sounds good and your happy, adjust out in small increments of maybe 5bpm until you’re happy and gradually raise it up.

      The 2nd tip I got from somewhere which even after 14 years, i’ve never thought of. What pick do you use. I’ve been using a 0.79 all that time whilst getting nowhere and never thought of the pick size (thickness), I just thought it was my slow inaccurate learning. I’ve now changed to a 0.38 yesterday just to follow on from the first tip above (slow everything down and that includes pick size) and straight away on my first couple of strums, I was absolutely blown away, my strumming completely changed and it was kind of over whelming. After all these years, i can actually strum if I slow my bpm’s down to a really slow acceptable level and use a mush thinner and flexible pick.

      The 3rd tip was what strings are you using. For 14 years I’ve always just stuck to using medium strings by d’addario because the various types totally confused me and I had absolutely no idea which ones I should be using. Now I find out that I should try lights or custom lights, not only because they’re easier on our fingers if we’re not use to strumming, but obviously thinking about it now, guess what, yep they flex easier which means that combined with having a thinner pick, strumming will be so much easier.

      <font face=”inherit”>I mean if your a rock star giving it </font>large<font face=”inherit”> on tours for two hours a night bashing the crap out of your guitar, then yer of course you firstly need </font>thicker<font face=”inherit”> strings, secondly a </font>thicker<font face=”inherit”> pick which is why they make them and thirdly, you would obviously be use to that sort of punishment. </font>

      <font face=”inherit”>So I hope these tips help you out as well as everyone else that sees this thread. I’ve now tried using a 0.60 pick and its going surprisingly well. One last thing, a thicker pick </font>amplyfies the sound more and as you hold the pick tighter and tighter, it amplifies it even more… the cheapest amplifier you’ll ever come across and once you find the size that you like, buy 10 of them<font face=”inherit”> because 9 will end up in the sound hole 🤣</font>

      <font face=”inherit”>Lastly I emailed Larrivee to ask what strings they ship they’re guitars with and the ones on this new guitar are really lovely and easy to pick, finger strum and pick strum and I want the same when I change them. They replied with </font>d’daddario light phosphor bronze and this is when i got the light bulb moment of why its easier to strum now after all this time, because I’ve been using mediums which are harder to flex, meaning its been harder for me to strum until now

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by  Terry B.
      • This reply was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by  Terry B.
      • the-old-coach

        Member
        January 30, 2022 at 4:29 pm

        Terry- (more!) great tips!

        Always appreciative— thanks.

        Mark J

      • Tanglewood Tel

        Member
        January 30, 2022 at 4:31 pm

        I really wish I had of known these tips and if they can help yourself and others then happy days 👍

      • N-lightMike

        Member
        January 30, 2022 at 4:55 pm

        This is wonderful Terry. Sounds like a whole christmas light string full of light bulb moments. I am always happy when someone makes progress on their guitar journey. But when someone takes a large leap forward, that’s really exciting. I know all of this will lead to much improved strumming for you. And the improvements will keep happening for quite some time. It seems that you have received what you hoped for and maybe more when you started this thread.

        BTW, the “tag” function on this site really sucks. I know that.

        MG 😀

      • Tanglewood Tel

        Member
        January 30, 2022 at 5:24 pm

        @MikeGaurnier I just want all of us to make progress and smile bundles when we’re both learning and playing. I seriously believe it’s 100 percent actually TAC that has made me advance so much in the past two weeks since returning after chemo treatment. I’ve done the daily challenge every day, but what’s changed is that where I’ve hit a challenge, I haven’t just repeated exactly what I’ve been doing because thats’ completely pointless as I wouldn’t get anywhere, instead I’ve stopped, stepped back and thought now why do I have this challenge, what am I doing wrong.

        I’ve then gone looking on Youtube or where ever until I’ve found the answers, like emailing Larrivee to find out what strings my guitar was shipped with and then finding out why strumming is so hard and like just now wanting to know how to make bar chords easier which is use light strings and not medium as well as put my thumb on the middle of the neck and not get lazy with it poking up above, which is perhaps something that we do because it’s easier, but it’s kind of short term pain for long term gain isn’t it.

        @MikeGaurnier my fretts might not be buzzing anymore but i certainly am and just so badly can’t wait to do the Daily Challenge tomorrow night, even if I don’t like what iot sounds like, I’ve done it before, it’s to hard, it’s to easy… what ever the reason not to, I have so many reasons to do and this new Larrivee limited edition 34 builds only is making this journey soooooo easy.

        The next best thing I can suggest to a new guitar, is taking what anyone has into a shop and getting a luthier to set it up. We grow with what we have and don’t realise that adjustments are going out. Maybe the frets are various levels, or the bridge or nut needs replacing etc etc. Sure we change our strings, but getting back to basics, if the body parts are not perfect to start with, then strings won’t make that much difference, we need to start from basics and work forward and for me, that’s what I will be doing 👍

      • N-lightMike

        Member
        January 31, 2022 at 12:49 pm

        You are so right when you say we learn together @Terry B. I love the part where you start looking for answers when something is tough, in stead of just continuing with it.

        And that part about you buzzing and looking forward to tomorrow’s lesson, regardless of what it is or even if you like it. See, that’s why and when we improve. That’s what Tony and every instructor out there is trying to get us to: that excitement to pick up our guitar and play. Because each and every one of them knows that anyone who gets into that space will have fun and will improve.

        You have arrived. 😍😎

        (The trick now is to remember what “arrived”, or “being there”, really means.)

        MG 😀

  • docteny

    Member
    January 31, 2022 at 12:25 am

    Hi Terry

    try googling strum patterns by Jamie Anderson.com and learn 1 or 2 patterns to get used to

    regards, Walter

    • Tanglewood Tel

      Member
      January 31, 2022 at 4:20 am

      I’ll have a look at that thanks, I’m always willing to try out various ways of getting better 👍

    • N-lightMike

      Member
      January 31, 2022 at 12:41 pm

      👍

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