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Thread: Thumb Strum

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    28

    Thumbs up Thumb Strum

    I realize watching videos most people seem to strum with their first finger. I always use my thumb. Is there some dire consequence I am not foreseeing? Will I need the thumb to do something else as I progress? I've tried (half-heartedly) to switch but didn't really know a reason to but if you have one I'll work harder at it! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Yorkshire
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    858

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    No dire consequences at all. Ever. It works for you, that is all that matters. Over time as your facility with the instrument develops you may find yourself trying finger strum techniques ( personally I find my second finger is my dominant “strummer”), you may start to want to finger pick too. You may try using picks. All that matters is what feels comfortable and natural to you at the present time

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    USA
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    137

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    Even Jake Shimabukuro strums with his thumb some of the time. Learning to strum with other fingers will give you more options for speed and tone. For example, most people will strum up and down with their index finger. Strumming upward with your thumb is at best awkward and downstrums only will be slower than up and down with your index finger.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Sparta, Wisconsin, USA
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    2,100

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    The worst effect is that thumb-strumming is, in general, softer sounding than using your hard nail on your index finger.

    If you get to the point of playing triplets: D-index, D-thumb, U-index, or variations of that, it will be good to be comfortable using both.
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
    You can learn by reading, but you don’t begin to know until you begin to try to do.

    —Lou Churchill, Plane & Pilot Magazine

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenn2018 View Post
    The worst effect is that thumb-strumming is, in general, softer sounding than using your hard nail on your index finger.

    If you get to the point of playing triplets: D-index, D-thumb, U-index, or variations of that, it will be good to be comfortable using both.
    I agree that a little nail adds attack and sounds nice. I think I get that with nail on my thumb as well. Slight wrist twist to present corner of thumb nail. Adjust angle to get desired result. It's more fun if you can use both thumb and index, on rhythm and melody

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    San Francsico Bay Area
    Posts
    146

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    I am a thumb strum player. As has been stated, it does produce a softer sound.
    OTOH, I can easily play in the same room as my wife, who is watching tv and not disturb her. I can play VERY softly.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Honolulu
    Posts
    800

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    Thumb flesh strum over the 12 fret is my favorite strum sound: mellow, sweet and harp like. Also, easy to balance acoustically with a solo guitar or 'ukulele part.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
    Posts
    6,447

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    Rarely do I finger strum, have been a thumb strummer all along, pick with my thumb too, & occasionally finger pick (PIMA) a tune - whatever works best for you is the right way.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Palm Beach County FL
    Posts
    587

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    I thumb strum down and fleshy index finger up. Also pick with the thumb. Tried to pick PIMA, but I guess the thumb works well for me and the PIMA takes more effort than I want to take. There is a thread a Thumbers, a lot of good feedback there as well about playing style.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    28

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    Yay! Thanks for the responses. I'm glad that there's no real reason to quit. Mastering the B's and E's are enough trouble without retraining my strummer!

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