In this lesson, you'll learn some fundamentals of strumming the guitar. We'll explore strumming mechanics, the angles and movements of your strumming arm and hand, the grip when holding a pick, and how your arm should fit on the acoustic and electric guitar.
Strumming the guitar might seem simple, and some of you might get it pretty instinctively. But overall, new guitar players will struggle with strumming, which’s why it's so important to get it right from the beginning!
Now let's check out some handy tips!
RELAX YOUR STRUMMING ARM
Any strumming pattern will sound better if you are relaxed. You should feel your arms relaxed and comfortable. Try this out:
Position your arm on top of your guitar - it should feel loose and limber. With your elbow and thumb aligned, keep your hands parallel to your guitar.
It might feel funny, but you'll get used to it! You should feel minimal tension in your strumming arm, shoulder and wrist.
STRUMMING AN ACOUSTIC GUITAR
Hold your acoustic guitar sturdy and place your arm on the top of the guitar. Get comfortable, and find a spot where your arm falls and is completely relaxed. It should feel natural! :)
STRUMMING AN ELECTRIC GUITAR
With your electric guitar, you'll have a smaller area to rest your arm. Rest the top of your forearm along the top front of your guitar's body. You might feel some tension in your upper arm and shoulder - that's normal! Keep your guitar anchored and stay as loose as possible.
HOW TO MOVE YOUR ARM WHEN STRUMMING
The strum comes from the movement of your forearm. Imagine a straight line from your elbow to your thumb. Your wrist shouldn't be doing much work. To practice, motion up and down the strings without moving your wrist.
WHAT'S THE BEST GUITAR PICK FOR YOU
It's essential to have the right pick when learning how to play guitar. If you're a beginner, start with thinner picks – it makes strumming way easier! It's ideal for practicing and more forgiving too. Learn more on how to choose and hold a guitar pick.
Holding the Guitar Pick: The Grip!
When it comes to holding the pick, you guessed it – KEEP IT LOOSE! :)
Hold the pick in your hand at an angle with a loose grip. Bending the knuckle of your thumb will help your pick point down. You should glide down the strings without getting stuck.
If you drop your pick here and there, don't worry about it. You should expect it to happen. It WILL happen. Pick it back up and keep going – you got this!
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