How to Strum Guitar Songs

Recap of video:

  • To practice, mute the strings with your left hand by lightly touching the strings.
  • Use only one finger (not the thumb) to strum.  It sounds better this way and allows to to build on it later.
  • Move up and down through the strings from the elbow.
  • Count: 12345678-12345678 etc   (Remember: 1 is always a downstroke.)
  • Decide on a number, and don’t let that number sound (but still move up or down as usual)
  • Switch up numbers so that you are good at all of them.  Start to speed up.
  • When you are ready, choose two numbers to take out.  Practice as above.
  • 2 and 5 are the most common pair to take out, so be sure to master that one.
  • Each pair has it’s own character.  Notice which ones you like.
  • As you speed up, you can stop counting and just listen to the pattern.
  • Counting is a way to remember and start a strum.  Eventually you will rely on it less and less.
  • The biggest pitfall you may encounter is your arm stopping on the silent beats.  Keep moving!
  • As you can, play chords with the left hand.  Eventually, switch chords while keeping the strum in time.

Allen Mathews

Hi, I’m Allen Mathews. 

I started as a folk guitarist, then fell in love with classical guitar in my 20’s. Despite a lot of practice and schooling, I still couldn’t get my music to flow well. I struggled with excess tension. My music sounded forced. And my hands and body were often sore. I got frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward. Then, over the next decade, I studied with two other stellar teachers – one focused on the technical movements, and one on the musical (he was a concert pianist). In time, I came to discover a new set of formulas and movements. These brought new life and vitality to my practice. Now I help guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully.
Click here for a sample formula.

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