Why Improve Strumming Patterns?
Strumming patterns are an essential part of rhythm guitar and are important in almost every piece of music. Your strumming hand is responsible for conveying the emotion of a song to your audience.
We are going to take a look at how to improve your basic strumming patterns so they’ll sound clearer and more dynamic. Your playing will also sound more creative, plus it will add variation to your guitar playing.
Watch our video with Darryl to see how you can improve your strumming, or read on for further explanation.
You’ll want to get your strumming patterns to sound so good that when you play these chords that you have mastered, your guitar will sound awesome. Don’t let your strumming you bring down after all that work with chords and rhythm playing! Use that strumming hand to show your audience how tight and professional your playing is.
The first issue I often come across when people strum the guitar is that they strum it like it’s an on/off switch. There are certain types of music and certain times when you may want to strum your guitar this way. Generally, to achieve a more melodic feel to your music, you need to be a little more delicate.
Let’s imagine that when you strum your guitar, you are stroking a cat. Strum the first few strings slowly and then speed up on the last few strings. To practise this, try doing the up stroke, then down strokes separately, and then put them both together. Practise this until it feels comfortable. Afterwards, apply this technique to your strumming patterns.
The other common mistake people make is forcing their pick through the strings really hard. When you strum, you want to feel your pick bouncing through the strings. Try to hear the difference between forcing your pick through the strings, compared to bouncing through the strings. They sound very different, don’t they?
Keep in mind, there is a time and place for the on/off switch type of strumming and forcing your pick through the strings – punk music is a good example. However, to make your guitar sound more melodic, practise this technique to make the chords you’ve learned sing.
The second thing you can do is split up the guitar strings when you strum. We are going to practise this by taking a really simple strumming pattern; we’ll focus on strumming different strings on different beats of the bar.
Let’s try strumming on the first and third beat of the bar. We only strum the lowest string of the chord. But for beats 2 and 4, we’ll strum the higher three or four strings. You should hear a nice emphasis on beats 1 and 3 with the bass strings, with the higher strings on beats 2 and 4 creating the melody to make the chord sing during the rest of the bar.
Try practising this for a while. Then, combine this technique with the first technique – the one we likened to stroking a cat – to give your chords more life and bounce. You’ll really impress people because good strumming makes even simple chords sound great!
If you are struggling with getting your strumming to sound good, or you want to improve your guitar playing in general, get in contact with us. We are passionate about helping you achieve what you want on the guitar. We know what it’s like to feel frustrated and wonder why your guitar doesn’t sound good no matter how much you practise. Our professional instructions will help you to advance in the most fun and easy way! We are so confident that we can help that we even offer an introductory guitar lesson, so we can find a plan that works with you and your needs.
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