Let’s find out how to strum a guitar.
Dear Fallow guitarist,
Before I start taking about how to strum a guitar, it’s good to remember the importance of keeping a correct Body positioning in order to avoid activating unnecessary muscles, thus preventing quick weariness.
It’s true for both of your hands and for your entire body.
For the strumming hand, correct positioning will prevent pain in your shoulder.
Easier said than done, it takes time to find the “right” convenient body and hands positioning.
Try to keep it in mind.
If you can, start developing the awareness for correct body positioning as soon as possible.
It’s a good habit to cultivate.
The next photo shows The correct body positioning for strumming the guitar:
You can learn how to strum a guitar in one of the two ways
There are two ways for a beginner guitar player to start strumming the guitar. The first is doing it with the fingers, and the other is doing it with a pick.
For finger strumming positioning, usually, only 4 of the 5 strumming hand’s fingers are being used. The thumb touches the low E string (6th) and, from time to time adjusts to the other two bass strings. The index, middle, and ring fingers will handle the three treble strings.
The pinkie is used in advanced styles of guitar playing like finger-style guitar, classical or Spanish guitar, and sometimes jazz.
You can start strumming by putting the right hand over the guitar’s body. The thumb should then touch the lowest string, which is the low E.
The very basic strumming pattern
One of the basic strumming patterns is gliding your thumb from the low E string downwards four times.
(That’s known as the basic 4/4 strumming technique).
Pay attention though, you should start gliding from the low E (6th) string only when you have chords from the E family e.g. E, Em, E7, etc.
The other chord families, like the A or D will require you to position your thumb on top of the A string (5th) or the D string (4th).
If you don’t know any chords at all , try to shape a really easy chord like the easy G chord for example (the third finger of your fretting hand presses the third fret at the top string which is known as the high E string.
Then the right thumb can start strumming downwards from the 4th string.
The second way to strum the guitar
If you feel uncomfortable letting the fingers do the strumming, you can start by using a flat pick held lightly between the thumb and first finger of your strumming hand. Some say that this is the easiest way to strum since acoustic or electric guitars has steel strings.
Strumming is the best way to learn how to play a guitar. You learn a few strumming patterns and then you can by buy a song book and just read the chords.
A Cool Tip:
When you’re ready to move from drills to playing a song, it is suggested that you have the music playing in the background, because, it will improve both your sense of rhythm and also your ability to “open” your ears to your surroundings while playing at the same time.
This skill will benefit you in future cases when you might play with other musicians in a band or when jamming with other guitarists.
Developing and staying in “Strumming-shape” is not only for beginners as some of the most skilled guitarists do this to warm up before practice or a live show.
Everyone has to start somewhere and it starts by knowing the basics of strumming.
Don’t forget to reduce muscles stress as much as possible from your strumming hand.
The music you play should come out of your hands naturally, effortlessly and with no struggle.
The key for doing so depends on learning to keep the strumming hand comfortable, flexible and moving fluidly.