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Not hitting all strings while strumming ?  

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(@dujagochhavet)
Active Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 7
24/03/2010 5:38 pm  

Hi
I'm very much of a beginner to guitar, but have been trying to go through the lessons on this page. Today I listened to the first episode of the podcast from guitarnoise, there I was told that when hitting a bass note, the strumming that is going to be done directly after should not hit the same string that was used for the bass sound. Is this something that you learn to coordinate after time ? Because right now it seems almost impossible for me to miss the first string while strumming down and hitting the others without drastically lowering my tempo and placing my thumb so that it's resting on the first string that is going to be strummed before doing it. Is this the way it is always done? When I read the explanation for "Horse With No Name" I found nothing about not strumming on the bass string as well, so is this used in just some songs or is it a standard way of doing it ? I was also wondering what the best way is to go about strumming, I feel most comfortable using only my thumb for strumming both up and down if I don't have a pick, but when listening to the podcast I was told that one way to do it was by using the index finger for both the downstroke and upstroke. So what is the standard way ? And what way would be the best one to learn and which you would have the most use of knowing later on ? I hope this text wasn't too hard to understand. Thanks


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(@lue42)
Reputable Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 356
24/03/2010 6:19 pm  

It is something that will come with time. Same with your left hand... you will end up forming chords without even thinking about it... your fingers will just do it - muscle memory.

It is like when you are typing. Most likely, you don't even think about where the "T" key is when you go to type it.... your finger just goes there in the exact spot needed.

You can make up your own exercises to practice...

Play the first string, then strum the rest... then, the 2nd string, strum the rest... all the way down, and then back up again. The more you do it, the easier it will be.

Take it slow, and don't forget the "sock puppet" motion.

My Fingerstyle Guitar Blog:http://fsguitar.wordpress.comMy GuitarsIbanez Artwood AWS1000ECE-NTSchecter S-1 30th Anniversary EditionOvation CS257LaPatrie EtudeWashburn Rover RO10


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(@dujagochhavet)
Active Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 7
25/03/2010 12:39 pm  

Thanks for answering, going to try that exercise, but is it necessary to do the strums with your index finger ? Or is strumming with the thumb just as good a technique ? Which one would be preferred later on when I get better ? And If I am doing both the up and downstrum with my index finger, should the high e string just be strummed once as a combination of the up and downstrum ? Feels like I got so many questions now, but I guess most of them will come to me, maybe I should hire a guitar teacher when I get more money :)


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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 4485
25/03/2010 5:24 pm  

It's going to come down to a matter of what feels comfortable for you. As for strumming again with time that will all come naturally but in reality most of the time you won't be hitting all the strings when you strum.

when you do a downstrum you'll mainly hit the low E,A D strings and then hit the high E, B and G strings on the upstroke.

The more important thing now as a beginner I think is to make sure you are comfortable making the chord shapes (not putting your hand in weird positions that will hurt) and making sure all the strings ring clearly and you don't have any muted.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!" It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@kent_eh)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1885
26/03/2010 1:04 am  

Thanks for answering, going to try that exercise, but is it necessary to do the strums with your index finger ? Or is strumming with the thumb just as good a technique ?

Not that I'm much of a fingerstyle player, but here's what I know.

Once you get a bit more advanced:

The thumb is usually reserved for the 3 bass strings (usually one at a time, but not always), and the index , middle and ring fingers each get assigned to G, B, and high E string respectively. Then things get interesting. Once you master the finger motion, each finger can move independent of the others, and with a fairly simple motion, you can create amazingly fast sounding flurries of notes. But that's a years of practice thing. You are building the foundation to move in that direction as you progress.

As for strumming chords, when you get to an alternating bass-strum pattern, again the thumb does the bass, and the rest of the fingers move together as a unit in a sort of brushing, or flicking action on the higher strings.
Or the thumb on the bass (notice a pattern here?) and the index, middle and ring fingers all pluck a string (picture a closing a fist kind of motion) in an upward direction, to "strum" the high notes.

Check the various motions that the guy in this video demonstrates about 1 min into the video

I wrapped a newspaper ’round my headSo I looked like I was deep


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(@lue42)
Reputable Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 356
26/03/2010 1:24 am  

I have still not got the hang of strumming with my fingers, except for the occasional 3 strings during a fingerpicking song.

When I play "strumming" songs, I use a pick and would suggest try the same.

If you want to do the alternating bass with fingers, I suggest just playing the top 3 strings with your thumb and the bottom with your first three fingers. I generally don't use my pinky.

My Fingerstyle Guitar Blog:http://fsguitar.wordpress.comMy GuitarsIbanez Artwood AWS1000ECE-NTSchecter S-1 30th Anniversary EditionOvation CS257LaPatrie EtudeWashburn Rover RO10


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(@joehempel)
Noble Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 2419
26/03/2010 2:20 am  

When I strum with just my fingers, I use all of them LOL.

The nails of my four fingers going down, and the nail of my thumb going up. Or at least it feels like I use all of them.

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


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(@dujagochhavet)
Active Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 7
26/03/2010 1:23 pm  

Thank you very much for all the answers, now I just have one more question, could someone explained the sock puppet motion in more detail ? I don't understand if the hand should be bent at the wrist inwards toward the downside of my lower arm, or should I keep the hand paralell to the strings and just move the wrist in à sideway manner (up and down if the hand is paralell to the strings) ? Does anyone know of a video clip that would illustrate this motion or something similar ?


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(@old-lefty)
Eminent Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 43
30/03/2010 8:35 am  

Bumping this back up, I'd also like to get a more in depth explaination of the sock puppet motion.


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(@davidhodge)
Member Moderator
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 4485
30/03/2010 10:56 am  

From Getting Past Up and Down ( https://www.guitarnoise.com/lesson/getting-past-up-and-down-part-1/ ), which also references the first Guitar Noise Podcast ( https://www.guitarnoise.com/podcast/podcast-basics-of-strumming/ )
If you listened to the first Guitar Noise Podcast on strumming (and if you missed it, or any of the other Guitar Noise Podcasts, which are all about various aspects of strumming, by the way), you can find it on the Guitar Noise Blog, you might have heard me talking about sock puppets. No lie. If you know what sock puppets are, you know that they have a limited vocabulary. They can either nod their heads “yes” or shake them to say “no.” When we're strumming a guitar, it's the “sock puppet saying no” motion that gives us smooth and steady strumming.

More important than that, this strumming motion also gives guitar players a built-in metronome. It's as if you have a string attached between your strumming hand and your foot, provided you're tapping your foot along with the music (something you should definitely get into the habit of doing). Your toe goes down on the downstroke and up on the upstroke.

Strumming will, of course, get more complicated than this eventually, but for now, you'll be surprised at how counting, along with the sock puppet / constant motion approach will make strumming easier.

Hold your strumming hand out in front of your face, palm side facing your face. Tilt your hand toward you, bending from the wrist so that you can see your fingertips. Pretend it's a sock puppet and have it shake it's head "no" at you. That's the strumming motion. Now pivot your arm at the elbow so that your fingers are facing the strings of the guitar instead of your face. You should be good to go.

Hope this helps.

Peace


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(@dujagochhavet)
Active Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 7
30/03/2010 5:12 pm  

It did help me alot, thanks. Great job with all articles, lessons and podcasts, they are very helpful


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(@old-lefty)
Eminent Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 43
30/03/2010 6:45 pm  

Thank you, David. Very helpful.

Brian


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