You may well have heard of guitar strumming as a method of playing guitar. Guitar strumming is
when you draw your fingers, thumb, finger nails or a plectrum quickly across the strings so that all the notes
of a chord sound more or less simultaneously. With strumming you will not normally be able to hear one string
from another individually but you hear instead the chord as more of a blended whole.
If instead of a
quick movement, you draw the plectrum over the strings more slowly so that there is a definite time lag between
the sound of one string and the next, this is known as arpeggio.
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Strumming is often
done in a regular rhythmic style and you should learn to strum in a regular beat in order to make accompaniment
to recorded music or other musicians as rhythmic as possible.
chord symbols such as C, D7, G etc diagonal lines like this / are used to indicate how many times the chord
should be repeated. So for example four beats to the chord of G would be indicated by: I G/// I
makes playing faster rhythms much easier. The down up strum is where the finger nails or plectrum strike the
strings in both directions, down and up.
There are other
different methods of strumming and many different rhythmic patterns and styles. Some of the more common are set
Thumb-strum – the thumb strum is performed with the outside of the
right hand thumb. The thumb strokes down across the strings. While the thumb strums down the remaining fingers
rest on the guitar. Each chord is strummed once for each beat.
Down and up thumb strum – largely this the down and up strum is the same as the
thumb strum but differs in that the thumb strokes the strings twice for each beat once down and then once up. On
the up stoke it is fine if some of the strings are missed. You will probably find that on the ‘Up strum’ you
only stroke the upper three of four strings.
Scratch strum – the scratch thumb is done by using the nail of the index
finger to strike down across the strings. As with the thumb strum each chord is strummed once for each beat. You
will probably find it easier and get more control if the thumb rests on the guitar for support whilst the nail
of the index finger scratches down across the strings.
Down and up scratch strum – this method of strumming is similar to the scratch strum
except that the chord is played twice for each beat. The nail of the index finger strokes down and then the
finger tip is used to stroke up.
Index finger and thumb scratch strum
– This method of
strumming allows you to increase the volume when required. The nail of the index finger is used to stroke down
across the strings and then the thumb nail is used to stroke up. The strings are stroked twice per beat, once
down and once up. The wrist movement is used to control the fingers and the strings should be stroked in a
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