Because guitar playing comes with various scales, rudiments and exercises, playing to enjoy the beautiful and soothing sounds of a guitar can be a little tricky at first. Learning the right way to strum a guitar and knowing the basic principles and patterns will have you playing any song you want to hear in no time. However, there are some common traps that beginners will fall into.
This article pinpoints some essential guitar strumming tips for beginners in order to help with quick improvements as well as ways to avoid some common pitfalls and reduce the risk of injury.
Learn the basics of guitar posture
Are you worrying more about how you look while playing the guitar than you are about your posture? If so, listen up. To play the guitar well, you need to pay attention to the basics. One of which is becoming familiar with your instrument and the way to properly hold it. If you find it difficult to strum the guitar accurately, you may have to adjust your position or the way in which you are holding your guitar.
Using your arm to hold the guitar up will make it difficult for you to strum. To hold your guitar in the right position, allow it to rest its weight on your lap, and secure its base with the elbow of your strumming hand. Place your elbow near the guitar base for you to be able to strum properly with your wrist while holding the neck with your fret hand. Make sure your strumming hand can move easily and freely without necessarily moving your guitar along with it.
Another thing to check is the way you hold the pick. Although you can strum without even using a pick, it can sometimes be painful on the strumming fingers while doing so. The decision to use a pick depends on how easily you can produce clear sounds with just your fingers.
When using a pick, it is common to hold it 90ᵒ to your thumb. When holding a pick, only a tiny amount of its point should be sticking out of your fingers. We also recommend that you experiment with different angles and determine the one that best suits you and your style.
Learn the correct way to strum your guitar
It is important that you learn the correct way to strum a guitar in order to improve your long-term skills. One way to learn how to strum correctly is to practice strumming the strings in different places while playing your guitar. Strumming the strings in all different areas will allow you to correlate each sound produced and also give you a clear idea of which sound you like the best. For example, when you strum the string near the bridge of the guitar, your instrument will produce a “tinnier” or “sharper” sound. On the other hand, if you were to strum the string over the sound hole of the guitar, you will hear a “boomier” or “bass-ier” sound.
Another good tip is to use upstrokes as well as strum all your guitar strings uniformly with each downstroke. Playing a chord seems quite impossible if you cannot pick all of the strings equally and accurately. Instead of raking over the strings one after the other in a slow manner, practice strumming all of them equally, thrumming out the chord as one big sound.
Ultimately, good strumming activity depends on the wrist. Therefore, you should learn to hold a pick and the guitar properly.
Get familiar with the basic strumming pattern
Having the basic strumming pattern under your belt is extremely important when learning how to strum your guitar properly. One of these fundamental rhythmic strumming patterns is the alternation of the upstrokes and the downstroke with every beat. Simply divide the quarter notes into eighth notes and try strumming the guitar up and down. For example, strum twice instead of strumming once for every beat while maintaining the same tempo.
After you feel comfortable with your up and down strokes on at least one chord, try another! Most beginners tend to switch from one chord to another with just one finger at a time, which often leaves you behind on the beat. If possible, you should try to avoid doing this from the start in order to increase accuracy. If you’re not able to find the chord change quickly or easily, don’t fidget or become frustrated. Take your time and practice until you can move swiftly from chord to chord.
Don’t worry too much about perfecting strumming patterns
Most beginners become dependent on a specific strumming pattern and soon isolate their abilities. If you close your mind off to all other strumming patterns after learning about the “up and down” strumming method, you may never know how to play a steady rhythm, which is vital to all aspects of music. The idea of using strumming patterns as a basis for playing the guitar is just one of the many ways to learn and work on rhythm. Another easy way to learn how to strum properly is to listen carefully to the rhythm of a song before paying any attention to your strumming pattern.
Learning how to count the amount of beats per measure will allow you to switch between various strumming patterns. You will be surprised at your guitar strokes as well as the magical sounds that will be produced once you have mastered a song’s rhythm.
Practice, practice, and practice
You must always remember to practice playing your guitar, which will serve as the best strategy for improving your skills. However, add some fun to your practice and enjoy yourself to make the time spent with your guitar worthwhile. If you find it difficult to play or strum the guitar properly, do not push yourself too hard. Instead of allowing the stress to build up, put down the guitar and go about your business until you are focused and determined to progress.
While practicing, be sure to spend time on the tempo and the chords of a song. Start slowly to have the song’s rhythm learned and then work on your speed; a metronome will be of great help in this course. Always remember that the guitar is not a form of work, but a form of creativity.
Are you more of a visual learner? Watch this to learn more.
Now that you have read these vital guitar strumming tips for beginners, it is time to make use of what you have learned to achieve success. Pick up your guitar, follow these 5 tips and work your way up to greatness.