As guitar players strumming is our bread and butter. Having said that, there are a several simple things that we can do to make our strumming sound like a million bucks. In this series, I am going to show you a few of these simple things that you can apply to really kick your strumming up a few notches. We will start off by looking at several very fundamental, but often overlooked concepts and principles that you can use to make your strumming more professional, polished, and expressive. This first lesson is going to cover a couple of universal strumming tips that can benefit just about anyone.
The topic of guitar technique is pretty subjective, and every one’s technique is different. Even though this is the case, there are a few good all-purpose technical tips that you can remember in order to get the most out of your strumming. The first thing that you want to remember is to relax. If you tense up when you strum, your motions will be less efficient and not as fluid as they could be. The next time you sit down to do some practicing, try to be aware of any excess tension that might creep into your playing. If you feel tense in your hand, arm, shoulder, neck or back stop for a second and take a deep breath. Relax and then start your practice back up again. Your practice session will be a lot more productive and you’ll be able to play with much more fluidity.
The second thing that you want to remember is to not lock your wrist and just go for it. When you lock your wrist you tend to strum with your elbow. That can really hurt after a while! Make sure to use your wrist along with your arm when you strum. The idea is to get a kind of relaxed flicking motion from your wrist when you strum your guitar. As Beppe Gambetta says. . . “you should pretend like you have a feather stuck on your finger with some honey and try to flick that feather off”. This is a great motion to remember when developing a relaxed strumming technique.
Remember these two tips as you work on your strumming this over the next several months. This has been a really basic but super-important lesson. Applying the two basic tips presented here can help you stay injury free and give your strumming a very fluid sound. In the next lesson of this series we will look at a simple exercise that you can use to start developing your timing when it comes to strumming.
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