The Guitar Studio
Lesson One: Basic Strumming with the Right Hand
As a beginning guitar player, you first need to learn the most basic technique; how to hold the pick. A flat pick should be held firmly with only a minimum amount of pick used to play the strings. If you hold the pick loose and have too much pick displayed, you will have little control over playing the guitar strings. The picture below demonstrates how to hold the pick.
A band without rhythm, is a band without a good guitar player. A good student will enjoy playing melody lines and instrumentals but the dedicated guitar player must address, first and foremost, the art of the strum. Strumming techniques can be very basic or very complicated. In this lesson we will start with some basic strumming patterns that will provide us with a framework upon which to develop more complicated rhythmic matters latter.
Let’s first look at the following basic strums:
An "X" in the diagram above simply represents the string that is to be played. The notes utilized will depend on the chord that you choose to play. This will later be represented in tablature (See the Classroom lesson regarding how to read tablature). In both examples above, the bottom three strings are strummed in a downward motion and the bottom two strings are strummed together in an upward motion.
Strumming properly requires appropriate right hand positioning. The right hand should be in a relaxed position even with the strings. While some guitarists do not rest or anchor their pinky on the pick guard, I recommend that the right hand is lightly anchored at to ensure better pick control.
While practicing these two basic strums, I suggest that you tap your foot and count according to basic time (such as as four four time with a count of 1, 2, 3, 4). Your strum may first occur on the down beat. Then you can alter your practice by strumming on the up beat.