How to Strum a Guitar: The Basics

Is learning to play the guitar on your bucket list? Well, it’s time to check it off. With the right techniques, you can be rocking out in no time.

It’s easy to get caught-up on notes, chords, scales and other exercises. The right instructor will tell you that learning how to strum a guitar is the golden ticket. Once you understand what this means and how to do it you will become a guitar master.

When we hear people speak of strumming a guitar, they are referencing the way the instrument is played. It’s the strokes used to set the strings in motion and play the chords.

This is why you do not learn to play chords or notes before learning how to strum.

Here are a few basics you’ll need to know when it comes to playing the guitar, including tips on learning to strum.

Here’s a video guide for you:

Get to Know Your Guitar

As with anything new you need to familiarize yourself with how it works.

Not all guitars are made equal, so you want to select one that you are comfortable using. They may look the same, but each offers the musician something different.

Once you have selected the perfect guitar, learn all the mechanics of using it. Become knowledgeable in stringing and setting the tension because strings break frequently.

Cleaning & Taking Care of Your Guitar

You’ll also want to learn about the best products to use when cleaning your guitar. Build-up on your guitar produced by the oil from your hands and other air matter can decrease the lifespan of your strings.

Keeping the entire instrument clean and properly storing the device is also important in terms of maintenance.

This may seem irrelevant when speaking about how to strum a guitar. But nothing could be further from the truth. Care, familiarity and maintenance make a difference in the music you make [1].

Why Is It Important to Learn How to Strum a Guitar?

Learning the correct way to strum a guitar has its benefits [2].

Mastering the technique in any field helps develop our personal uniqueness. The motion used to stroke the guitar gives it rhythm. Strumming creates that rhythm through a sequence of patterns.

Once you learn how to match your strumming techniques to the sounds you are producing, the easier it will be to determine your own style.

It’s Not Only About the Fingers

Body parts moving in sync play a great part in learning how to strum a guitar.

Your posture, arms, and fingers all have a role. If you can’t control your body movement, you can’t control the sound you’re trying to produce.

Let’s Start with the Fingers

Practice the correct way to hold your plectrum, or pick, as it is commonly known.

Place the pick between the tips of your index finger and thumb. The straighter your thumb, the more control you will have.

Why Posture Is Important

Something as simple as knowing how to sit in a chair while playing the guitar is foreign to some users.

A good way to detect if your posture is affecting your technique is to pay attention to the sound you are producing. Is it consistent every time you play, or all over the place?

Good posture, no matter what you’re doing, means a straight back. The arms, fingers, and legs tend to fall into formation and work better. A straight back controls the stomach muscles, which helps position the guitar.

Once you become comfortable holding the guitar using the correct stance you can focus more on how to strum a guitar.

Simple Patterns to Learn for Beginner Guitar Players

Once you have the fundamentals of holding the guitar and learning strokes you can move into learning the various patterns of playing the guitar.

Basic Patterns That a Beginner Will Learn

The number of patterns is based on the instructor teaching them. There are two types of patterns: Upstroke and downstroke.

The terms upstroke and downstroke are quite simple. Upstroke is when you stroke the strings in an upward motion. Downstroke is when you stroke them in a downward pattern.

Beats are typically written in a four-count. To get these patterns, you would incorporate the beat count and the stroke direction.

The simplest patterns would be a straight four-count downstroke or a four-count upstroke.

As you become comfortable with the easier patterns, you will begin to switch rhythms in the beat count. To do this, you will need to remain focused on strumming without stopping.

Example, the four-count pattern will remain, but certain counts will not require a particular stroke. You simply keep playing as if it isn’t there.

The more advanced you become, the more complex the patterns will be.

Are You Ready to Become a World Class Guitarist?

Learning how to strum a guitar is like any other skill we want to learn. It requires hard work, commitment, and consistency.

Every guitar enthusiast needs the perfect guitar. A lot of beginners start out with acoustic guitars. A popular model that delivers a well-balanced tone is the Rogue RA-090 Dreadnought.

In the end, it all comes down to knowing your instrument and learning the patterns used to create great music.

What’s Next?

Choosing the perfect guitar should be as intentional as learning how to strum a guitar. You can also look for easy guitar songs to practice.

At Music Advisor, we have taken the guesswork out of what a guitar should encompass. We give you the pros and cons along with a detailed analysis of the best instruments on the market.

Take some time out of your hectic schedule and check out our website. If the model you are looking for is not listed, let us know.

We also offer a guide on violins, pianos, horns, and drums. Music Advisor is your one-stop shop when it comes to musical instruments!

Stephanie Su

Started learning music when she was four years old, Stephanie is a music teacher and a music therapist who is highly proficient in Piano, Violin, Guitar, and Ukulele. She likes to learn, teach, and share her music playing experiences.

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