How to Improve Your Strumming Sound On the Guitar

Why Is It Important to Improve The Sound of Your Strumming?

Being able to strum well will make your guitar playing go from sounding amateur to professional instantly. Nearly every single piece of music have elements of strumming in it. The strumming sound is the one used to express your emotions to your audience.

We are going to look at some simple techniques in this guitar lesson article and in the video that will help you dramatically improve the sound of your strumming so that you can make your strumming sound a lot more melodic. This will help you convey more emotion to your audience as you play as well.

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You can watch me in this video, so you can hear the difference in the strumming as well, and see what I am doing and try to replicate it.

Getting the strumming sound nailed, means that when you play the chords that you have worked so hard to learn, your guitar playing will sound so much better straight away.

Common problem and how to instantly improve the sound of your strum

The most common thing I see with beginners is that when they strum, their strumming sound like an on-off switch.  They go straight up and down. There’s no variation in dynamics or sound, volume, speed of their strumming.

This over a nice melodic song does not sound very pleasant. There are some genres. (for example, punk). Where this style of playing would suit it quite well. For most, you want it to feel a lot more melodic.

So imagine that your guitar strings is a cat. Pretend that when you strum, you are stroking your cat. You start off slow, and then faster. Now on the strings, you would play the top few strings slowly, and then play through the last few strings faster.

How to practise this?

You can first do this with down strokes only. Then you would repeat it with up strokes, with you moving the pick through the lower bottom strings slowly, then faster through the top few strings.

Once you have done that, then apply it to up and down strokes together.

Then move on to using it in strumming patterns that you have.

You will see a really big difference just using this simple technique.

The other thing I see people doing is the way they move their pick between the strings. They push the pick through really hard. So try to feel the pick moving through, but it should feel more like a bounce rather than a hard push.

Try doing both yourself and hearing the difference.

Second simple technique to transform your strumming

Another simple technique you can use to make your strumming more dynamic is by splitting up the strings between two parts.

Let’s try this by strumming on the main beats of the bar, for example on the first and third beat of the bar. Strum the lowest strings of the chord. Then for the other off beats, for example, two and four. We are going to strum the higher sounding strings. As shown in the diagram below comparing the two methods.


What this does is create a bass emphasis, and also a with the high strings sounding like a more melodic part. This instantly makes your playing sound so much more creative.

Once you are comfortable with both of these techniques separately, combine them together.

Now try playing the guitar to your friends and family using this method of strumming. I’m sure they will be able to tell a difference too, even if you are playing the same chords.

If you have found this helpful and we wish you the best in your guitar playing.

About the author: Darryl Powis. He is a guitar school owner and instructor. He is passionate about helping his students learn guitar, from kids to adults and from a beginner level to professional as well. If you are interested in finding out more about his kids and adults London guitar lessons then visit our website to find out more information.

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