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Strumming 101 - A Beginner Guitar Strumming Tutorial

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More on the Basics of Strumming
basic guitar strumming pattern
Alternate between strumming down, and strumming up. When you get done playing the example once, loop it, making sure there is no hesitation between the end of the old pattern and the beginning of the new one. Count out loud "1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 1 and 2 and.." Notice that on the "and", aka the "offbeat", you are always using an upwards strum. Keep this in mind as we progress. Try listening to, and playing along with, an audio file of the strumming pattern.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you play the above pattern:

  • If you are playing an acoustic guitar, make sure to strum directly over the sound hole
  • On electric guitar, strum over the body (different locations will give you different sounds), not over the neck
  • Make sure all strings are ringing clearly
  • Make sure the volume of your downstrums and upstrums are equal
  • Be careful not to strum too hard, as this often causes strings to rattle, and produces an undesirable sound
  • Be careful not to strum too softly, as this will produce a "wimpy" sound.
  • Listen again to the audio example to hear how your strumming should sound. Your pick should be striking the strings with a relatively firm, even stroke
  • Think of your elbow as being the top of a pendulum; your arm should swing up and down from it in a steady motion, never pausing at any time.
  • Rotate your wrist down slightly while strumming down. Rotate your wrist up slightly while strumming up. Be sure not to keep your wrist stiff when strumming.
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Fretting Basics on the Guitar
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