Quick Guitar Lesson: A Beginners Guide to Better Strumming

"Hey what's up! This is Zach from The Music Gallery and I'd like to show you how to get a little more control, speed, and endurance out of your strumming technique. Something I see in a ton of beginner students, but also intermediate and advanced players, is a tendency to strum with a locked wrist and generate everything from the elbow joint.

I would encourage any student or musician to explore the flexibility of the wrist because it offers a whole palette of velocity and dynamic control that whole arm approach lacks.

There are a couple key motions that can help this come into play. There is the motion of the wave and there is the turning of a doorknob.

The Wave

The motion of the wave is going to be for the down strum because there is a lot of natural flexion in the pinky side of the wrist. You can get a sort of whip-like motion.

To practice this, you could imagine casting a fishing rod. I also like to imagine there is a weight on the fist and letting the arm drop. Naturally, that will cause the wrist to "break" a little bit because it is a continuation of the centrifugal force that the arm is putting forward.

To test that you are doing this correctly, you want to make sure all 6 strings sound like a single sonic event. You don't want to hear a "rake" where you can hear the strings individually. You want enough velocity going through the strings that all 6 strings have one sound.

The Doorknob

The other motion is the doorknob. This is for the upstroke. Because there is not the same kind of natural bend on the thumb side of the wrist, we have to compensate a little bit with a pronation toward the thumb. We're actually twisting from the elbow instead of strumming from the elbow.

It can take a little bit of hard work to memorize these motions. If it feels good, it probably is good!

Don't death grip the pick. Don't lock up any joints. It should feel natural as your doing this!"

Zach is an experienced musician and educator who is deeply passionate about helping the next generation of musicians put their collective best foot forward through music lessons. Although he does teach, he has focused most his talents on the administration and direction of The Music Gallery Academy.

Zach is the guy who sits at the front desk and typically greets you when you walk in the store. You can call him with questions about anything Music Gallery Academy or music education related whether it be billing, scheduling, finding the best fit for you or your child, ways to make more of your practice time at home, or whatever else you can think of!


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