Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Strumming suggestions?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Central Wisconsin

    Default Strumming suggestions?

    I suppose the easy answer is PRACTICE! And GO SLOW. And I'm trying to do both of those things.

    But I'm still having major issues with keeping a consistent strum pattern when I switch between different chords.

    I've started taking lessons from an actual teacher (which is exactly what I need--face to face is way better than YouTube or a book) and he's been great helping me to start basic finger picking and learning little bits of theory. (We're using Lil Rev's Method Book One as our text book.) But the strumming is not coming to me nearly as well as the other aspects. It's like I can't get all three "parts" working--fretting, reading the music and strumming. Whenever I change chords (especially if it's a chord I still struggle to form) then I lose the strum pattern. And even if I'm doing it for the hundredth time that session, I lose the count.

    So, any tips/ideas/wisdom for maintaining a consistent strum pattern throughout a song? The other stuff IS getting a bit more automatic, but not the strumming.

    Thanks for the help.
    1980 Kamaka Soprano
    2013 Mainland Mahogany Glossy Tenor
    Mainland Gecko
    Ohana TK22 Spruce Top Tenor
    Mango Fluke Concert
    2014 Mainland Mahogany Glossy Concert

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    on a sunny FL beach


    Of course, practice and time, but most everyone will tell you that it's important to slooow down. If you are pausing at chord changes, then you need to practice JUST making those chord changes, however slowly you need to do it to keep a constant strum. I would not get involved in any strum "pattern" just D-U, until you can get those smooth chord changes slowly up to speed. Like in Uncle Rod's boot camp, just write out the sequence of chord changes and slowly go through the above process.Once you have that, you can slow it down again and work on the changes with a different strum pattern. It will come easier since you've done the groundwork for really smooth chord changes.
    Last edited by bunnyf; 10-10-2015 at 07:23 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    New York


    I suggest you get a metronome. There are several online ones you can use. Start off playing extremely slow so that you can make the chord changes smoothly. Then just move the tempo up a few beats per minute as you get better at it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Florida Space Coast


    Some folks need a metronome to "train their brain". Check out some of Lil' Rev's stuff for strumming:

    Strumming is a skill that requires correct practice. When I started to play more seriously, I made the mistake of trying to strum too fast for my skill level. I had to slow down and master the strum just as I had to master the finger positions on the fretboard. Speed comes with practice and cannot be forced.
    In the future, you will learn things more quickly, but for now, go as slow as you need to in order to master it.
    Last edited by PhilUSAFRet; 10-10-2015 at 12:54 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013


    For just strumming I'd try and memorize the chords, so you can skip the reading (of the chords at least), which simplifies it a little as it's one thing less that you need to pay visual attention to. As the others have said, a metronome will greatly help, and you can start very slowly. For iOS, I really like the metronome that comes with the "Tunable" app (bought it for tuning kalimbas, since clip-on tuners don't work well with them, but now I mostly use it as a metronome for ukulele playing). I find it helpful even to just listen to the metronome while I'm doing other things.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2013


    Quote Originally Posted by Preacher View Post
    Whenever I change chords (especially if it's a chord I still struggle to form) then I lose the strum pattern.
    That says to me that you really need to get these chord changes worked out, so they just happen, without the struggle. Just sit there for 10 minutes changing from F to Gm or whatever it is. Don't even strum - just change the chord, backwards and forwards. Then start strumming slowly, and change every 4 beats. Then every 2. Then every beat. Do this often enough and you WILL get there. The key to it is getting those chord changes so they just happen. - 365 songs in 365 days, raising funds for SolarAid

    Soprano - KoAloha KSM-00, Maccaferri Islander....Concert - Barron River Mahogany, Barron River Cypress, MyaMoe Koa, Johnny Marvin "Tenor" ....Sopranino - Rob Collins Cigar Box...all with Worth strings...and a few chords

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by bunnyf View Post
    If you are pausing at chord changes, then you need to practice JUST making those chord changes, however slowly you need to do it to keep a constant strum.
    This is great advice. If you're slowing down between chords, it's your left hand that needs work, not your right (strumming) hand. Once you get these chord changes down pat, you can introduce more complicated strumming patterns. But until your left hand is capable of making the chord changes in time, you won't be able to employ any strum pattern well.

    Happy chord changing!

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts