How to Improve Your Strumming When Playing Guitar

How to Improve Your Strumming When Playing Guitar

In this lesson, we are going to learn how to improve your strumming when playing the guitar.  The most common way to play guitar chords is to strum them.  This can be a bit difficult to learn for a lot of guitar players because it requires the development of timing.


Strumming in time is a very important skill to develop and with the tips in this guitar lesson, you will learn tips on how to improve your timing, and become a better rhythm guitar player.  You will also increase your understanding of music knowledge.

Strumming in time

strumming the guitar

When you first start out learning to play the guitar, you learn to form guitar chords with your fretboard hand.  Now in order to bring these guitar chords to life, you learn to strum them with your picking hand.  This is where the problem develops.


To overcome this strumming problem, you want to take it one step at a time.  Start out strumming downward and count 1 2 3 4.  Do this as you change guitar chords.  After that, work on strumming upward.  You count as before but strum up on every other beat.  Down on 1 & 3, up on 2 & 4.


Use a guitar pick

guitar picksYou can strum using your thumb as some people do, but I recommend you learn to use a guitar pick.  A guitar pick allows you to strum easier.


The type of pick you want to use is called a flat pick and you want to learn how to hold it.  Once you do, you strum it across the strings for a very vibrant guitar sound.


Using a guitar pick is very common for a reason and that is why I recommend you use one.  It can help you out in a lot of ways.  After you learn to use one, then you can look into using your fingers.


Both of these techniques use different approaches and produce different sounds with the guitar.  So I recommend you get some guitar picks and find the one that works best for you.

Watch the video lesson below

Develop proper arm posture

The way the arm posture is and how you hold the pick can make a huge difference in your strumming technique.  If your arm is not relaxed and you feel uncomfortable, you will tense up and your strumming will be stiff and uninspiring.


So make sure that your arm is located in the proper place and that your wrist is loose as well.  Keep your arm and wrist relaxed and be sure to hold the pick properly to execute a good strumming technique while playing the guitar.

arm position for strumming guitar

Watch your favorite players

There is a lot that can be learned by watching others do what you are trying to accomplish.  Strumming is no different.  I’m sure you have a few favorite players that have inspired you over the years to pick up a guitar and learn how to play it.  This is how most people get started.


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By watching what they do and emulating them, you develop insight into how to improve your strumming technique.  Look at real good guitar strummers.  Watch the way they move their arm, their wrist and how they hold their pick.  Then try to do what they do.


Learn strumming patterns

Many things on the guitar can be broken down into patterns.  Strumming is no different.  Being able to read strumming patterns will help you develop your strumming tremendously.  You also improve your musicianship by developing the skill of reading sheet music.


Most guitar players learn to play guitar by ear and that’s ok.  It is a great skill to have.  But being able to read sheet music is also a great skill to have and if you develop this skill, you will be able to recognize and execute musical concepts better and faster.

strumming patterns

Strumming patterns allow you to try different combinations of strumming techniques.  They give insight into things that you might not have thought of yet.


The reason for this is that everyone plays different and by watching them (as stated earlier) and learning to read strumming patterns you are no doubt going to become a better guitar player.


Play everyday

The only way to improve at these techniques or any other that you learn is to play every day.  By playing the guitar every day, the concepts and techniques stick with you longer and your brain retains the information longer.


What is common in learning to play the guitar is that a student learns, executes and then doesn’t pick up the guitar for a few days.


This is not good because it does not allow the information to stick in our memory bank.  it doesn’t allow us to build up the muscle memory necessary to accomplish the strumming techniques.


It is vitally important that when learning something new (anything that is) we work with it daily in order for it to take root.


Very much like planting a seed.  You must water and numerous it daily in order for it to have a fighting chance of survival.  Learning the guitar is no different.


Play guitar daily and the techniques and musical concepts will grow within your brain and body and then once you have them, they will become second nature.


Get the most out of your time

getting the most out of your time

When you study musical concepts such as these and you put them into practice on a daily basis, you get better.  It’s that simple.


The most common thing that holds people back is the lack of application on a daily basis.  Learning to play the guitar takes time.  This cannot be rushed.  Although there are certain things you can do to get the most out of your time.


You can do this by following a system of learning.  A method that can take you from start to finish in an easy step-by-step format.  This will allow you to get the most out of your practice time.  A method of study is the second best thing to actually hiring a teacher.


If that option fits your budget and your schedule, I highly recommend you go that route. A qualified guitar instructor will be able to teach you insights from personal experience.  this will progress your learning and make it more fun when you pick up your guitar to play it.


But if not, I recommend the book Learn Guitar: Simple Method For Beginners.  This book will teach you how to not only improve your strumming but also teach you how to play rhythm, what kind of guitar is best to start out with, how to read simple sheet music, and how to improve your guitar playing very quickly by following the steps.

Learn Guitar Simple Method for beginners


This book consists of techniques and training methods that have been developed over the years of playing and teaching guitar.  Even if you have no prior music training, you can easily learn from this book.


With a comprehensive introduction to essential guitar playing techniques with concepts broken down into easy to understand terms.  A modern way of learning with full-color pictures and diagrams for developing quick results.


Avoid common mistakes

avoid common mistakes

Learn to avoid common mistakes by following a system of learning.  This will allow you to progress faster and see results quickly.


By following a method, you learn things in an order that they are best understood and easily applied.  This way of learning ends frustration and builds self-confidence because of the order in which you are learning.


Lesson conclusion

Learn musical concepts in a certain order and I guarantee you that they will not only be easier to understand, but they will become fun to learn.  But you must put in the string time to get the most out of your guitar learning.


You must develop a daily practice routine and commit to it.  Avoid common mistakes that other players make and you’ll soar far ahead.


And if you haven’t already, be sure to grab my FREE training-guide Rhythm Guitar Secrets to help you get moving in the right direction.


If you feel that taking private guitar lessons can help your learning, visit my website for more details and follow me on Social Media for my latest lesson updates.


Study, practice and until our next lesson, take care.

Dwayne Jenkins

Dwayne Jenkins