Does your strumming currently sound the same all the time? Would you like to know how to add some variety and interest to it? Do you want to know how to add more of a melodic touch so you can express your emotions more?

Why is strumming well so necessary to rhythm guitar? 

Playing rhythm is a big part of playing the guitar. It’s an essential skill for beginner guitarists to learn. A lot of the music that you will be playing will involve you strumming in it and you can think of your right hand is the hand expressing your emotions. 

In this video, you can see me demonstrate what I mean so that you can replicate it. Once you’ve got the chords strumming now, then your guitar playing will sound so much better. You’ve spent all that time learning your chords, make that time worth it by making them sound awesome! 

The most common mistake beginners make when they strum 

When beginners strum the guitar, they treat it like a light switch. 

The strum up and down, like an on-off switch. The lack of variety is contributed from lack of dynamics and speed of the fingers or pick moving through the strings.  

If you are playing a rocky punk song, this type of playing is much more suitable. 

However, for a nice melodic song, we want to include a more melodic tone to the strumming to accompany the song. 

First off, let’s pretend the guitar strings is a cat, and we are going to be stroking it. So you want to start off slow and firm, and then speed up. So reproducing this with the guitar, you want to have the bass string emphasized by playing it slower than the other strings. As you strum down, the rest of the guitar strings are picked through quicker. 

How to work on this? 

Focus on just practicing strumming down strokes first using this method. And then repeat the progress for up strokes. When you are doing upstrokes, it is the highest string that will be the ones emphasised.

Once you are confident with both up and down strokes, then put it to a strumming pattern that includes both and practice that together. 

Make sure when your pick is traveling through the strings, it almost bounces off each string, rather than a forceful push through the strings. 

Another simple technique to take this further

Another way you can make your strumming more interesting is actually dividing the strings into two. 

When you strum on the first beat on the bar. Or perhaps the first and third beat of the bar. 

Strum only the lowest string, the bass string. And then strum the other strings for the rest of the beats. Like the following diagram: 

This takes the first technique even further by emphasizing the bass string of the chord. The higher strings will sound like the melodic accompaniments to the chord as well. 

You can combine both the techniques together so you can do more expressive with your strumming. Having the ability to be more creative will make your strumming sound a lot more professional. 

You can now use these new techniques to impress friends and families, even when you are playing exactly the same chords. 

I hope this article has helped you with your guitar playing and improve your strumming. Practise the two techniques until you can comfortably swipe between the different styles to bring variety to your playing. 

About the author: Darryl Powis is a guitar teacher and guitar school owner in London. 

If you are interested in electric guitar lessons East London then find out more by visiting his website. 

Amanda Skorcz

  Amanda Skorcz

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