How Do I Strum the Guitar Strings Properly?

by Chelsea


I'm a 16 year old girl who has been playing guitar for a couple of months now. I have previously owned an acoustic guitar but I never gave it a chance and gave up without even bothering to learn how to play it.

Now I have an electric guitar (Epiphone Les Paul Standard) and I am having the same problems I did with my acoustic a couple of years ago before I gave it up. I've watched hundreds of videos and ask hundreds of people for advice but none have been helpful.

My problem is with strumming. I am right handed and I feel as if I'm stuck in beginners limbo. My downstrokes are fine but when it comes to upstrokes, I just can't seem to do them right. I always catch the bottom and top string and none of the others.

I've heard all of the 'Use your arm as if it was a swinging pendulum' quotes and all the others but I just can't do it.

I spent lots of money on my guitar and amp and do not want to give up, so any suggestions would be helpful, any!


P.S. Also include tips and suggestions about picks and how to hold them, what's the proper technique and also where you think I may be going wrong.


Hi, Chelsea--

I think that probably your last question holds a major portion of the answer to your strumming problems.

Many strumming problems stem from improper holding of the pick. Most people when they begin playing will leave too much of the pick sticking out. This causes inaccurate strumming and striking wrong strings.

Try this:

Place you pick on the inside of your index finger with just a tiny bit of the point extending beyond your finger tip. Then cover the pick with your thumb.

When you strum, use your WRIST, not your arm. Grip the pick loosely and keep your wrist loose.
Practice SLOWLY grazing the pick over all of the strings (or which ever strings are required by the particular chord) going down and then up. Keep practicing very slowly until you are able to achieve the type of strumming that you want.


Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask Guitar Questions.