The Acoustic Guitar Forum

The Acoustic Guitar Forum (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/index.php)
-   PLAY and Write (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=27)
-   -   Is there a right or wrong place to strum? Over the sound hole (or not) ? (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=563905)

wguitar 11-16-2019 11:26 AM

Is there a right or wrong place to strum? Over the sound hole (or not) ?
 
Hi,

Is there a right or wrong place to strum ? Some say over the sound hole, while I've seen players all over the place. Where do some of the great players strum ? Is it personal preference ? Is it where you naturally fall ? And again, is there a Right or Wrong place to strum -- or is it more a case of whatever works for each player ? What about 12 vs 14 fretters?

Thanks!

Gordon Currie 11-16-2019 11:35 AM

The great players strum in both places, depending on the particular tone quality they desire.

Some of the rest of us :) also do this. I have been known to strum over the bottom of the fretboard, by the bridge, and everywhere in between. It's kind of like having a tone control on an acoustic guitar,.

I find the sound hole gives a pretty balanced and round tone, so it is my starting point.

rick-slo 11-16-2019 11:39 AM

Strum where you get the sound you want. You will get more clarity and brightness towards the bridge and a softer and more blended sound away from the bridge.

guitar george 11-16-2019 11:49 AM

There is no "right" place to strum. Most strumming is usually done over the soundhole, often nearer the bridge. You get different sounds by strumming in different places. Its all about technique to get the sound you want for a particular song.

L20A 11-16-2019 11:52 AM

Guitars vary as to where they sound best when strummed.
Most for me sound best when strummed just behind or at the back of the sound hole.

Now finding the best sounding pick is a whole other story.

fazool 11-16-2019 12:11 PM

if you are going to be a musician, artist or creator of anything you must eliminate the phrase "right or wrong" from your vocabulary.

mcduffnw 11-16-2019 12:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wguitar (Post 6213099)
Hi,

Is there a right or wrong place to strum ? Some say over the sound hole, while I've seen players all over the place. Where do some of the great players strum ? Is it personal preference ? Is it where you naturally fall ? And again, is there a Right or Wrong place to strum -- or is it more a case of whatever works for each player ? What about 12 vs 14 fretters?

Thanks!


Just like the old Outback Steakhouse ad saying:

"No Rules...Just Right"

So really, whatever sounds the best and feels best to you is the proper position and technique.

There are no hard and fast rules in the world of guitar tone and playing technique. If it works for you, and sounds how you want it to, then it is just fine!

duff
Be A Player...Not A Polisher

Nama Ensou 11-16-2019 12:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wguitar (Post 6213099)
Is there a right or wrong place to strum? Some say over the sound hole, while I've seen players all over the place.

Is it personal preference? Is it where you naturally fall?

No right or wrong place and where someone strums can be due to where their arm and habit leads them to, or to where they get the tonality they're after. Most important thing is that you're happy with the sound you're getting, but a couple things to experiment with is noticing the natural sound differences and also how dynamics will affect it too.

You may also notice that players who stay more towards the bridge will be likely to be playing with their hand against the strings a lot, in order to both control the ringing of the strings and also alter the tonality from that position.

Axelorox 11-16-2019 12:33 PM

A helpful trick is to look up YouTube videos of your favorite guitarists and pay attention to their physical technique, such as strumming location.

Mbroady 11-16-2019 12:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fazool (Post 6213130)
if you are going to be a musician, artist or creator of anything you must eliminate the phrase "right or wrong" from your vocabulary.

great response, and u t applies to many things, not just creative endeavors

dwasifar 11-16-2019 01:51 PM

There's a whole range of different sound characters you can get out of the instrument by varying where you strike the string. None of them are right or wrong; they're all just part of the guitar's capabilities.

The closer to the middle of the string you are, the mellower the tone will be. If you pluck at the 12th fret, which is the middle of an open string, you'll get a round, pure tone almost reminiscent of a clarinet. If you want those pure tones, pick or strum as many frets down from the 12th as your chord is from the nut; e.g. if you're playing an open A, which is two frets down from the nut, you'd pick/strum at the 14th fret (or 13th if you want to strike an average with the open strings).

The closer you move to the bridge, the more the note becomes twangy and trebly. I make use of this when doing instrumental breaks in songs. I strum/pluck near the sound hole while I'm singing, and move down closer to the bridge for the instrumental break, causing the high strings to "cut through" more, and sound more like a solo.

Larry Mal 11-16-2019 02:15 PM

Not only is there no right or wrong, but you can think of where you strum as being your guitar's natural EQ sweep. You can emphasize the treble or bass depending on where you strum, and you should absolutely do that for effect.

It's part of the technique of the instrument- so the wrong thing to do would be to think that there was a right or wrong here.

Bluemonk 11-16-2019 02:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fazool (Post 6213130)
if you are going to be a musician, artist or creator of anything you must eliminate the phrase "right or wrong" from your vocabulary.

That's, um, accurate.

MinorKey 11-16-2019 02:51 PM

Depends on what tone you're after

AZLiberty 11-16-2019 02:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Larry Mal (Post 6213221)
Not only is there no right or wrong, but you can think of where you strum as being your guitar's natural EQ sweep. You can emphasize the treble or bass depending on where you strum, and you should absolutely do that for effect.

It's part of the technique of the instrument- so the wrong thing to do would be to think that there was a right or wrong here.

What Larry said.

When you strike a tensioned string, it vibrates in a series of nodes and anti-nodes. Depending WHERE you strike the string you will damp or enhance some of those nodes. Thus suppressing or enhancing certain harmonics.

As an extreme example, if you strummed a string at the 12th fret, you would eliminate all of the even harmonics.

Pianos are designed to have the hammer strike exactly 1/7th of the way down the string, this suppresses the 7th harmonic, and makes a piano sound the way it does.

DukeX 11-16-2019 06:03 PM

It's all pretty much been said already.

But you will also find that each guitar is different. I modify my attack, stroke and position slightly depending on the particular guitar I'm playing.

YamahaGuy 11-16-2019 06:14 PM

So the pickguard does its job. :)

Kitkatjoe 11-17-2019 12:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Axelorox (Post 6213144)
A helpful trick is to look up YouTube videos of your favorite guitarists and pay attention to their physical technique, such as strumming location.

Go watch Johnny Cash strum.

gmel555 11-17-2019 12:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rick-slo (Post 6213114)
Strum where you get the sound you want. You will get more clarity and brightness towards the bridge and a softer and more blended sound away from the bridge.

I second this. Use the point of strum as a way to get different tones out of the same instrument.

Yrksman 11-17-2019 12:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fazool (Post 6213130)
if you are going to be a musician, artist or creator of anything you must eliminate the phrase "right or wrong" from your vocabulary.

A huge truth said in just a few words

Nama Ensou 11-17-2019 02:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gordon Currie (Post 6213109)
...strum over the bottom of the fretboard, by the bridge, and everywhere in between. It's kind of like having a tone control on an acoustic guitar...

Quote:

Originally Posted by rick-slo (Post 6213114)
Strum where you get the sound you want.

Quote:

Originally Posted by guitar george (Post 6213117)
You get different sounds by strumming in different places. Its all about technique to get the sound you want for a particular song.

Quote:

Originally Posted by mcduffnw (Post 6213137)
...whatever sounds the best and feels best to you is the proper position and technique.

Quote:

Originally Posted by dwasifar (Post 6213198)
There's a whole range of different sound characters you can get out of the instrument by varying where you strike the string.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Larry Mal (Post 6213221)
...you can think of where you strum as being your guitar's natural EQ sweep.

Quote:

Originally Posted by MinorKey (Post 6213254)
Depends on what tone you're after

Quote:

Originally Posted by gmel555 (Post 6213551)
I second this. Use the point of strum as a way to get different tones out of the same instrument.

You've been preceded in seconding the point of strum as a way of getting differing tones, and that's pretty much the point of every post so far.

Sonics 11-17-2019 04:26 AM

Serve the music
 
The bright and brittle tone produced by strumming at the bridge is rarely used. Folk don't seem to like that tone. However in the hands of a MASTER it's quite the 'punctuation' mark. Note how Al consciously shifts his strumming/picking hand to different positions...




So yes there is a 'right' place to strum. However that 'right' place will constantly change and we be dictated by the music.

Bob Womack 11-17-2019 07:17 AM

"Is there a right or wrong place to strum?"

The right place to strum is in a stairwell, preferably four or more floors and five might be optimal, an open-plan stairwell with a well down the middle and no carpet. It gives you a really nice reverb. You can adjust how much reverb you hear by whether you are on the stairs or on a landing.

That is all.

Bob

Blueser100 11-17-2019 10:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kitkatjoe (Post 6213544)
Go watch Johnny Cash strum.

My thoughts exactly. He had a habit of tilting his guitar toward the headstock and then strumming in front of the sound hole, on the fretboard.

gmel555 11-17-2019 10:00 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote: Originally Posted by Kitkatjoe View Post
Go watch Johnny Cash strum.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blueser100 (Post 6213801)
My thoughts exactly. He had a habit of tilting his guitar toward the headstock and then strumming in front of the sound hole, on the fretboard.

And Lennon was about as close to the bridge as possible! No right or wrong, just different strokes for different folks.:wink:

wguitar 11-17-2019 11:24 PM

OP here -- THANKS to all for a very informative and entertaining thread!


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:40 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, The Acoustic Guitar Forum

vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=