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Problems with Strumming
Down, Up, Down, Up
For some new guitarists, strumming comes naturally. For others it might take a little bit more work to get a good rhythm going.
Strumming is one of those things that no guitarist can do without and it's very important to get it nailed down so that it won't hinder your progression with learning chords. Problems with strumming are usually linked to problems with changing chords. Get your strumming pattern sorted, and your chords will change easier as well...
How to get better
Your strumming will inevitably get better as you practice. However, simply trying to follow a textbook that gives you a "U D D U D" (Up, Down etc.) pattern is not ideal. No, when practicing strumming, it's good to have something to mimic - something like a video.
The strumming lessons on my site use photos, diagrams and video to ensure you know what a specific strumming patter is supposed to sound and look like. If you haven't been there already, go to the Guitar Strumming lesson first, to see if that won't cure your strumming problems.
Other than that, here are three practical things to keep in mind when learning to strum:
- Keep your strumming arm in a constant up-down motion. Even when you're not actually strumming the strings, your strumming arm should still maintain a strumming motion with your hand drawn away from the strings. Your arm thus acts as a metronome and helps you keep beat. When your playing becomes more advanced, you'll probably stop doing this, but it's real helpful during the beginning stages.
Having some problems with strumming on the guitar? This page will show you some possible solutions and help you on your way to excellence with the guitar.
Return from Problems with Strumming to Common Guitar Learning Problems
- Count out loud. Counting out loud is another easy way to maintain rhythm and ensure you don't lose track of the beat you're strumming. Open that mouth of yours and say "One and Two and Three and Four and One and Two..." etc. Sounds stupid, but it helps! Again not something you'll be doing in front of the fans, but helpful when you're learning.
- Use a Metronome. If you find that you're still having problems with strumming despite counting out loud, there's one way to ensure you maintain your rhythm and that's to use a metronome (If you don't know what a Metronome is, see this FAQ). Let the metronome do the rhythm bit for you and you simply follow the clicks. Do this until you can manage without the external help.