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How to Strum the Guitar

Remember that first time you strummed a guitar? Maybe it was a campfire singalong, or maybe just noodling around in your room. It felt electric, that raw energy of creating music with your own two hands. But as you kept playing, did the basic downstroke start to feel a little, well, basic? Fear not, fellow strummers! There’s a whole world of rhythmic techniques waiting to be explored, and they can take your playing from campfire singalong to captivating concert.

This article dives beyond the downstroke, unveiling some lesser-known strumming secrets that professional guitarists use to create dynamic and interesting rhythms. We’ll bust some myths (turns out your wrist shouldn’t be locked!), explore the power of palm muting, and show you how to add accents to turn your strumming into a rhythmic conversation with the melody.

Citing the Masters:

We’ll be tapping into the wisdom of guitar greats like Marty Music (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EHu2SjmYjck) and JustinGuitar.com ([invalid URL removed]) to bring you these pro-level tips.

The Myth of the Locked Wrist:

Ever seen someone strumming with a rigid, almost robotic wrist? It might look controlled, but it can lead to fatigue and hinder your picking speed. The secret to smooth, powerful strums lies in a relaxed wrist. Imagine your hand as a loose extension of your arm, moving fluidly from downstrokes to upstrokes. This will not only make strumming more comfortable, but it will also allow you to incorporate faster picking patterns later on.

The Art of Palm Muting:

Palm muting isn’t just for heavy metal! It’s a versatile technique that adds texture and percussive punch to your strumming. Here’s the gist: rest the fleshy part of your picking hand lightly on the strings near the bridge (where they connect to the guitar body). This dampens the string vibration slightly, creating a muted, rhythmic thud alongside your strumming. Marty Music (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EHu2SjmYjck) has a fantastic video tutorial on palm muting that’s perfect for beginners.

Spice it Up with Accents:

Think of your strumming hand as a tiny drummer. Just like a drummer uses accents (stronger hits) to create rhythm variations, you can do the same with your picking. Try accenting certain downstrokes or upstrokes to add emphasis and dynamic interest to your playing. This is a subtle but powerful technique used by countless guitarists – from folk strummers to rock legends. JustinGuitar.com ([invalid URL removed]) has a great breakdown of different strumming patterns with accents that will get you started.

Remember, mastering the art of strumming is a journey, not a destination. Experiment, have fun, and don’t be afraid to break the mold (as long as your wrist stays relaxed!). With these tips under your belt, you’ll be well on your way to creating captivating rhythms that will take your music to the next level.

Adult Guitar Lessons Kelowna, Upbeat Music Academy Kelowna

About the Author: noelwentworth

Noel Wentworth is a Guitar, Bass and Ukulele teacher for the Upbeat Music Academy Kelowna.
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