The 7 Most Common Strum Mistakes

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The 7 Most Common Strum Mistakes: a blog about guitar strumming and tips to improve.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I see these mistakes all the time in my online guitar lessons. Heck, I’ve made them myself. And if you’re already an advanced player, you probably don’t need me telling you that you still make mistakes sometimes-it’s an unavoidable part of being human.

So what are these common mistakes? How do we avoid them? Let’s take a look…

1) Playing too many downstrokes

This is the biggest problem I see among beginner and intermediate players. If you are playing too many downstrums, your strumming will sound stiff and mechanical. It’ll sound like there’s no feel behind it, and it won’t swing.

The key to fixing this is to make sure that each downstrum starts from the wrist and elbow (not the shoulder). These muscles are much faster than the shoulder muscles (which is why they are used in professional drumming). Also make sure that each downstrum starts from slightly before each beat (not exactly on each beat). This will give your strumming some swing.

The 7 Most Common Strum Mistakes

1. Using the wrong pick: a thinner pick will give you more control and ability to play faster. A thicker pick will make your strumming sound louder and fuller.

2. Not worrying about keeping a constant rhythm: this is the most important thing to think about when strumming as it’s what makes your playing sound musical and not chaotic and messy! If you can’t keep a consistent rhythm, then you won’t be able to do anything else musically with your playing until you’ve sorted it out.

3. Not paying attention to where the beat is: if you know what a bar of 4/4 time looks like, then you know that there are 4 beats in each bar (or measure) and that they are represented by numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 (the lower case ‘b’ stands for beat). The strums should land on these beats as shown in the following diagram:

4. Inconsistent strumming speed: aim for consistency from one strum to the next. You might want to vary your speed a bit, but don’t let it get all over the place. If you’re playing slow songs then use slow strums; if fast songs then fast str

The 7 Most Common Strum Mistakes

Whether you’re a beginner or if you play guitar for years, the strumming is the most basic of all guitar techniques. Still, there are many mistakes that are made and we will help you overcome them.

1. When strumming, your hand should be relaxed – like when you brush your teeth

2. Press the strings to get a clear sound

3. Hold down the chord in your left hand until you’ve finished strumming

4. The wrist should move more than the arm when strumming

5. Use a pick

6. Use an accent on the downbeat (the first beat of each bar)

7. Don’t tense up!

The 7 Most Common Strum Mistakes

1. No Rhythm

2. Too Much Rhythm

3. Too Much Pressure

4. No Pressure

5. Not Enough Strings Being Played

6. Playing the Strings that Aren’t Being Played

7. Not Using Upstrokes

If you’ve read this far, chances are you’re looking for a way to fix one or more of these problems and become a more versatile, consistent strummer. Here are a few tips I can offer that will help you with problem number 1 (no rhythm) and problem number 2 (too much rhythm).

I’m going to share with you the 7 most common strum mistakes I see beginners make and how to fix them.

I’ve been teaching guitar online and in person for over 20 years now and I’ve noticed some common mistakes people make when they strum. While they may seem minor, these mistakes add up over time and inhibit your ability to strum freely and confidently.

The good news is that, once you know what to look for, these can all be fixed easily!

1. Not Strumming Low Enough

2. Not Keeping Consistent Strumming Distance

3. Strumming Too Fast On Downstrums

4. Not Enough Upstrums

5. Over-Picking Specific Strums

6. Strumming With The Wrist Only (For Downstrums)

7. Not Using Enough Arm For Upstrums

Whether you’re a beginner guitar player or you’ve been playing for years, learning guitar strumming can be challenging.

I’ve been playing guitar for 30 years and I still encounter times when my strumming doesn’t sound right.

In this article, I break down the 7 most common mistakes I see people make when learning to play the guitar.

1. Not Keeping the Strum Hand Loose

2. Only Playing Down Strums

3. Using Only One Finger to Strum

4. Strumming With an Open Handed Grip

5. Not Using Enough Strings During a Strum

6. Using a Full Length Strum

7. Not Paying Attention to The Sound

The first thing we’re going to talk about is how to hold the pick. This might seem like an obvious topic, but I continue to see many guitar players struggle with this on a daily basis.

Now, this sounds like something that should be really easy to get right, but what happens is people don’t really give it enough focus and attention, and they end up not getting the full benefits that come from holding the pick in a very relaxed manner.

So before we go any further in this lesson, I want you to go grab your guitar and hold it in playing position. In other words, sit down on a stool or chair with your foot resting on a small box or stool so you can play standing up. Or if you play sitting down, have your guitar in position to play while sitting down.

Next, take your right hand (assuming you are right-handed) and grab a pick between your thumb and index finger so that there’s about half of the pick sticking out past your thumb. Now bring your hand towards the strings and notice where the tip of the pick naturally rests when you do this. Chances are it’s somewhere around where I’m pointing in the diagram below:

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