How To Improve Strumming Rhythm On Guitar

Posted by Mike Schuck

When guitarists start playing, they are usually taught how to strUM, which is when you press down on the string with your picking hand while lifting the other hand up to hit the string.

This kind of rhythm is very basic, but it can be used in lots of songs!

By adding more syncopation into your music, new patterns can emerge that make for interesting melodies and chords.

Join the JA team and grab a cool t-shirt!

Check out our Jam Addict attire and become a part of the team that has been training drummers and musicians for years!
Jam Addict Course

However, aside from just using plain old strums, there are some ways to improve the strUM pattern so that it becomes more complex.

In this article, we will discuss three different types of strUMs and how to play them effectively.

Try playing along with music that you are learning

how to improve strumming rhythm on guitar

It is very important to learn how to strum for rhythm correctly. When you play guitar, there are many different ways to strum depending on the style of music you want to play!

There are three main types of strums used to create rhythmic effects in songs. These are called hammer-on, pull-off, and tap strums. Each one produces a unique sound and can be mixed together to make your songwriting more creative.

By practicing each type separately, you will naturally mix them all together as time goes on. This article will go into greater detail about these strum styles and how to improve your own timing on them.

Try using different picking techniques

how to improve strumming rhythm on guitar

One of the most fundamental parts of guitar struming is rhythm- this means creating patterns that go up and down in time with the song.

When playing an instrument, one of the first things you learn are your hands! By learning how to use your pick (the device used to pick notes) efficiently, you can start changing what instruments you play and how you structure songs.

The best picks for beginner players are ones that have plastic or rubber tips. A very helpful tip is being able to feel when your thumb needs to be lifted off of the string. This helps create more fluid rhythms as you cannot drag your finger across the strings.

Another good picking technique to know is using a barre. A barre is where you grab the top half of a string and then pull it downwards. For example, if you were trying to touch the third note on the E string, you would place your index finger at a position two ovals above the middle fret and then press down hard while lifting the string just enough so that you hit the third note.

Use finger or pick pressure

how to improve strumming rhythm on guitar

When strumming, how you position your index fingers or picks can make a difference in how well you are able to play rhythm guitar.

The timing of when you press down with your index fingernail or pick is very important! If you push down too early, then it will take longer for the string to reach its relaxed state and thus you have made the note shorter. This shortens your timing as a guitarist and can be fixed by practicing more slowly.

On the other hand, if you wait until just before the string touches the fretboard, then it will remain pressed up for an extra half-beat which also changes the length of the notes slightly but helps blend them into the rest of the song.

Practice strumming with a metronome

how to improve strumming rhythm on guitar

When you practice guitar, you should always have something ahead of what you are practicing! Most advanced guitarist’s rely heavily on technology for this, but there is nothing wrong with learning how to use a basic device like a metronome.

A metronome can help keep time in music by ticking at a steady rate. As such, it can be used to aid in your rhythm training.

You can set the tempo very slowly (leisurely) and then increase the speed as you learn the song. This way, you will gradually get faster at timing patterns while practicing.

There are many ways to use a metronome during practice. You can either play along with it, or use it to create your own timing pattern.

Use a drum machine to help you practice

how to improve strumming rhythm on guitar

It’s impossible to improve your strumming rhythm without practicing! This is one of the most important things that beginner guitarists often get wrong. You need to be able to play what notes make up a chord, and how many beats each note should last for, in order to have proper strumming rhythm.

But before you can do that, you first must learn how to play some chords! Chords are simply groups of notes that come together as one unit. For example, if you put an open string (also called a fretted string or fretstring) next to a baritone string then press down on both strings at the same time, you will create a C major chord.

That’s all there is to it! So now that we've covered the basics, let's talk about how to use a drum machine to perfect your strumming rhythm!

A drum machine is like a mini-laptop computer with drums attached. You can program different songs into them so they automatically start playing when you turn the device on, making it easy to practice at night or while traveling. Some even have touch screen features which makes it easier to manipulate the song settings.

Some can also connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth technology, allowing you to easily switch between devices and apps while still getting good results.

Use a guide to help you identify where your weak points are

how to improve strumming rhythm on guitar

It is very important to recognize when your strums are not smooth or fluid. This will take some practice, but hopefully you will learn how to do it here!

One of the things that can be tricky is knowing what parts of the guitar to focus on while practicing. There are many different types of guitars with different shapes and sizes of frets so finding the right place to look for rhythm issues depends on which one you own.

However, there are some general rules about whether or not the treble (higher) strings have enough tension to contribute to creating a solid rhythm. The bass (lower) strings should be slightly tighter than the treble ones, as they play a bigger part in establishing the rhythm.

The best way to determine this is by playing either a chord made out of only bass notes or a chord containing mostly treble notes. If both chords feel good then the bass string lengths are adequate.

Try using a guitar pick

how to improve strumming rhythm on guitar

A less common way to hold your pick is as a thumb-up style, where you use your index finger to press down on the top of the pick while lifting up with your middle or ring finger. This can be done at any speed, but it helps create a steady rhythm when going slow or in soft strums.

Holding the pick like this also allows for more flexibility with your fingers and hands, since you don’t have to keep it in place with just your first two digits.

Practice using different fingers

how to improve strumming rhythm on guitar

When you practice strumming, use as many of your index, middle, or pinky fingers as possible! This is called using an open position.

The thumb can be used for any kind of chord (root, second, third, fifth), but it is usually not needed when practicing beginner chords because most songs contain simple ones.

By moving around the guitar finger positions, your hands will become familiar with all the various chords and how to play them. This will also help you learn which strings each finger needs to press down while playing a note.

You do not need to stick to only one type of chord per pattern, either! For example, if the song contains an A major chord, you could use the first, second, and fourth fingers to make that exact same sound.

These types of chords are called power chords and they use the root, the second, and the fourth degree notes of the A string to create the sound.

envelope linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram