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  • Strumming

    Posted by stevieblues on June 20, 2021 at 7:31 pm

    I’m having trouble getting the hang of strumming. The up strum is really awkward. Part of my problem is how I’m holding my pick. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    stevieblues replied 2 years, 10 months ago 11 Members · 24 Replies
  • 24 Replies
  • Bill_Brown

    Member
    June 20, 2021 at 8:15 pm

    HI @stevieblues , welcome to TAC👏👏 Without actually seeing how you strum, I have one thought. If you’re a “hard strummer”, try to back off a little and make sure you’re not DIGGING into the strings😱 Have a good grip on the pick, but try to control how hard you strum and how far the tip of the pick is going into the plane of the strings🤔

    Start out by strumming lightly and slowly, in both directions, until you feel that you have good control of the pick, and just the tip of the pick is hitting the strings. 👍

    There is a “Skills” course (I believe it is one of the “Jumpstart” courses) on strumming, take a look at that one – I’m sure you’ll find the answer to what you’re looking for there🤩

    • stevieblues

      Member
      June 21, 2021 at 2:08 pm

      Thanks for the helpful feedback Bill. I’m just now starting to learn strumming, so I’m not sure if I’m digging in. I’ll take a look at the skills course. Thanks!

  • Cadgirl

    Member
    June 21, 2021 at 4:17 am

    I have had issues with strumming myself. Find something that is an easy “up down” strum and try to get used to the motion before actually hitting the strings.

    • Bill_Brown

      Member
      June 21, 2021 at 9:19 am

      👍

    • stevieblues

      Member
      June 21, 2021 at 2:13 pm

      Thank you for your feedback Cadgirl. I’ll give it a try.

  • Michael-K73

    Member
    June 21, 2021 at 6:03 am

    Relax and go real slow at first. Pay attention to your pick angle. Don’t have a death grip on your pick 😉

    The strumming jumpstart will get you off to the good start. The rest is practice 🙂

    have fun with it!

    -M

    • Bill_Brown

      Member
      June 21, 2021 at 9:19 am

      👍

    • stevieblues

      Member
      June 21, 2021 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks for the feedback Michael, I’ll try not to use the death grip on the pick.

    • Marty73

      Member
      June 24, 2021 at 12:05 pm

      👍👍😎

  • Fly

    Member
    June 21, 2021 at 6:35 am

    Hi stevie my advice would be to stick at it and patience. A lot of people on here sometimes say they are campfire strummers like it’s a bad thing I’d love to say that I struggle with not sounding like a lawnmower starting up but recently I’ve been working hard to correct this after the jumpstart course others have mentioned try the bass walk up and down skill course I loved this one and really starts to sound more musical picking out single notes with the strum. Now im trying “easy” songs and learning the ultimate campfire song ring of fire and getting a lot out of it I wouldn’t have had the knowledge to do it without the skills course tho. Keep at it and it will come.

    • Bill_Brown

      Member
      June 21, 2021 at 9:20 am

      👍

    • stevieblues

      Member
      June 21, 2021 at 2:25 pm

      Thanks for the feedback Fly!

  • Loraine

    Member
    June 21, 2021 at 2:57 pm

    @stevieblues One thing that really helped me was to mute the strings with the fretting hand held lightly over the strings and then just go to town with strumming. I would stick with just the down, up, down, up, down, up, down, up (1, &, 2, &, 3, &, 4, &). Then once I got comfortable with that, I would move onto a new strumming pattern, such as skipping the & beat at the beginning and just doing 1, 2, &, 3, &, 4, &.

    • stevieblues

      Member
      June 21, 2021 at 6:34 pm

      Thanks for your feedback Loraine! I will give it a try.

  • JohnV

    Member
    June 22, 2021 at 3:52 pm

    Hi Stevie. If you have an assortment of picks, try the thinnest one first (.5mm – .7mm). It will be the most forgiving and provide a smoother glide over the strings. Once you get the hang of strumming, you can move up to a thicker pick. Why move up if you get the hang of a thin pick? Well, does a painter only use one color to create a portrait? A thicker pick will product a different tone. In general, thin picks produce bright clicky tones. Thicker picks produce mellower tones. But that is for further down your journey. Enjoy!

    • stevieblues

      Member
      June 22, 2021 at 7:58 pm

      Thanks for the comments John. I have a couple of pics, I believe it’s a heavy. My favorite pick is a wood pick, I like the sound I get with it.

      • Crabby

        Member
        June 22, 2021 at 9:16 pm

        Generally a thinner pick is considered better for strumming, especially for newer players. Due to the flex you can hold the pick firmly but the pick can bend as it glides against the strings.

        A thinker pick takes more skill to hold solidly and still glide against the strings. In time you will be able to use a thicker pick more effectively. I agree they sound better. I haven’t tried a wood pick but the idea sounds awesome.

      • stevieblues

        Member
        June 24, 2021 at 7:17 pm

        Thanks for your comments Crabby!

  • That_Guy

    Member
    June 23, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    All the things about strumming that I wish somebody told me:

    The number one thing i wish someone told me long ago about strumming is to try to play softer. Dont strike the strings when playing a chord. You dont need to play full volume at all times. Most of the time you are trying to play at the minimum volume possible (unless your rocking out ) which is really hard to do but sounds wayyyy better and less harsh the lighter you touch them even when playing fast.

    You more or less drag the pick over the strings at an angle. It reminds me of the little finger things that make the tick noise when they spin the wheel on Wheel of Fortune. My father inlaw compares it to how you paint trim with a brush. You flip one way then flip it the other when you change direction.

    Personally i also twist the pick so that its never square to the strings. Seems to glide over them easier.

    Slowly Teach your self to use thicker picks. Light are garbage. Medium are ok if you dont flat pick but you really need a stiff pick for more control.

    Also despite being taught to play all 6 strings in a chord this almost never sounds good in a song. You usually are only using the bass half for most of the strum patternand then only the treble half on up strums for a more jangle sound.

    • stevieblues

      Member
      June 24, 2021 at 7:23 pm

      Thanks for all the tips That Guy!

  • That_Guy

    Member
    June 23, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    Oh one more tip i wish i knew. Dont strum in front of the sound hole. Strum behind the sound hole closer to the bridge. Maybe 4” in front of the bridge. The further you get from the bridge the looser the strings are. Also, i play better on mediums than lights because the extra tension helps the pick not get tangled.

    • Alisa

      Member
      June 24, 2021 at 5:59 am

      Thanks @That_Guy, those detailed and well-explained tips are super helpful!

    • stevieblues

      Member
      June 24, 2021 at 7:24 pm

      Thanks Again!

  • Fly

    Member
    June 24, 2021 at 12:12 am

    Cheers @That_Guy some good tips there.

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