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  #1  
Old 07-16-2021, 12:45 PM
antvas1963 antvas1963 is offline
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Default Strummers question

Iím working on more heavy strumming and I am having a real hard time with it. First problem is if I keep my fingers out that arenít holding the pick I find myself scrapping the top and that noise bugsthe hell out of me. If I keep my fingers curled up under my palm it feels like Iím swinging a club and I canít keep my wrist loose causing me to hit the strings way too hard.
Second issue. Most of the time when Iím strumming the middle of my forearm is at the corner of the top of the guitar. Iím finding that my strumming is very jerky and I canít canít keep my wrist loose. Should I try to keep my elbow joint closer to the corner?
I know everybody plays the guitar differently Iím just wondering if I am picking up some bad habits that are going to prevent me from strumming quickly and cleanly.
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  #2  
Old 07-21-2021, 11:56 AM
jseth jseth is offline
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The MOST IMPORTANT thing to realize and embrace is that YOU are in control of your hands, wrists, etc...

There is really no prescribed method for strumming, vigorously or otherwise... You just do it, and the more you do it, the more control you gain.

How tightly you hold the pick is something to vary - check out what different tones you get from how hard you hold that sucker! The thickness of your pick is also a key factor; while I can make a heavier gauge pick "sound" thinner, I can't make a thin pick sound fat and full.

I've always been a "one pick" guy, but I have very accomplished friends who vary pick thickness, depending on the style they're playing and the tone they want. A thin pick is perfect for really fast funk rhythms, and I have to loosen my hold on my Blue Chip TP-1R 50 to get anything close to that light feel for funkier rhythms... but it is doable!

I vary "where' my other fingers are when I strum, but rarely do I have them clenched into my palm - I might have them curled slightly towards the palm, but I frequently employ a more "hybrid" picking style where I use the other fingers to pick so I have them extended out more and "ready to go' when I want them...

Although I will primarily use mostly wrist for strumming, there are times when the right arm gets into the act a bit more if I'm being extremely vigorous - but, even then, all the facets of "how" I do it are in MY control...

Truly, embracing the knowledge that I am in charge of and in control of my hands, fingers, etc., is the most valuable aspect of being able to play more like I want...
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Old 07-21-2021, 06:29 PM
antvas1963 antvas1963 is offline
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Thanks Jseth for the tips.
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Old 07-21-2021, 10:26 PM
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rllink rllink is offline
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Are you tipping the guitar so you I can see the fret board? I was doing that and my fingers were hitting the top. It didn't bother me but my teacher pointed it out so now I've adjusted accordingly. I hold my pick with the thumb and forefinger, the other fingers sticking out but relaxed. I too feel like I'm swinging a hammer if I curl them. Anyway, not tipping it helped in more ways than just striking the top with my fingers.
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Old 07-21-2021, 10:30 PM
biotechmgr biotechmgr is offline
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Me...fingers curled inward but relaxed. Crook of elbow on top corner of guitar. Longer arms I play Dreads this works well for me.
Most of my strumming is with arm to keep time but wrist motion for emphasis on strums. Wrist actions also depend on strum patterns.
Nearly 5 years, rhythm guitar is my strength and I keep the beat for our amateur band.

Take it slowly and find your groove...
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  #6  
Old 07-22-2021, 02:49 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antvas1963 View Post
Iím working on more heavy strumming and I am having a real hard time with it. First problem is if I keep my fingers out that arenít holding the pick I find myself scrapping the top and that noise bugsthe hell out of me. If I keep my fingers curled up under my palm it feels like Iím swinging a club and I canít keep my wrist loose causing me to hit the strings way too hard.
Second issue. Most of the time when Iím strumming the middle of my forearm is at the corner of the top of the guitar. Iím finding that my strumming is very jerky and I canít canít keep my wrist loose. Should I try to keep my elbow joint closer to the corner?
I know everybody plays the guitar differently Iím just wondering if I am picking up some bad habits that are going to prevent me from strumming quickly and cleanly.
Hi, it's about technique, and you would benefit best from face to face assistance.

Please see me details beneath, and PM me if interested,

Andy
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Old 07-22-2021, 08:44 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silly Moustache View Post
Hi, it's about technique, and you would benefit best from face to face assistance.

Please see me details beneath, and PM me if interested,

Andy
I'll second that thought. While I agree that effective playing postures and styles differ (that is: what looks wrong to one person works for another), a good observing teacher will likely have suggestions, and they could help.

And if Andy/SM suggests you try a larger, rounded equilateral triangle pick I have to say that his suggestion to try those has helped my acoustic strumming. The greater surface area is easier to hold onto without a "death grip"
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  #8  
Old 07-22-2021, 08:07 PM
antvas1963 antvas1963 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rllink View Post
Are you tipping the guitar so you I can see the fret board? I was doing that and my fingers were hitting the top. It didn't bother me but my teacher pointed it out so now I've adjusted accordingly. I hold my pick with the thumb and forefinger, the other fingers sticking out but relaxed. I too feel like I'm swinging a hammer if I curl them. Anyway, not tipping it helped in more ways than just striking the top with my fingers.
I canít seem to play with the guitar on my lap so I hold it classical style with a strap. Yes the fret board does face me most of the time. Part of the problem is my beer belly I hate to say.
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Old 07-24-2021, 10:26 AM
nightchef nightchef is offline
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Originally Posted by antvas1963 View Post
I canít seem to play with the guitar on my lap so I hold it classical style with a strap. Yes the fret board does face me most of the time. Part of the problem is my beer belly I hate to say.
Iíve always played with the guitar tilted back toward me a bit so I can see the fretboard. Itís never caused me any problemsóit just feels natural to me. (The only real downside is that playing standing up requires a mental/physical adjustment as the guitar is no longer tilted, but once youíve done it a lot, it becomes automatic.) The tilt doesnít result in my fingers hitting the top, although I just experimented and found that if I tilt the guitar further than usualónearer to 45 degreesóthen that does start to become an issue. So itís possible youíre just tilting it a bit too far; you might try playing it halfway and seeing if that helps.

As far as where my extra fingers go when Iím strumming, Iím like jseth: tucked in lightly, neither splayed out nor clenched. (I sometimes recruit my middle finger to join my index finger in holding the back side of the pick for extra stability, so it needs to be close by. I know this is unconventional, but it works for me.)

Iím a little puzzled about the middle of the forearm being at the corner of the guitar top. Do you have very long arms? When I put my arm in that position I can barely reach the strings with my pick, and only right by the bridge at that. The part of my arm thatís touching the corner of the guitar is usually just above the crook of the elbow. This allows me to pick over the soundhole where the guitar is most resonant, and it also allows my arm to pivot freely at the elbow so that the whole forearm can support the strum as needed.
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  #10  
Old 08-01-2021, 09:52 AM
Bushleague Bushleague is offline
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I keep my fingers in kind of a loose grip, not really clenched but as if I'm holding something like a hockey stick in it. The key is, you dont let any of your other fingers dangle lower than your index finger, which puts the pick way closer to the guitar than any of your fingers.

If I get sloppy I do sometimes find myself tagging the top of the guitar, usually doing reggea/ ska type chops.

Some of the heavyest, most percussive strumming I've seen done on an acoustic guitar is by a band called Days n Daze, and that guy keeps his free fingers pointed stiffly downwards, flat with the back of his hand and paralell to the top of the guitar which keeps his fingers about as far away from the guitar as possible. I wont post a link as their lyrics tend to be pretty explicit, but you can check them out on youtube if you like.
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  #11  
Old 08-01-2021, 07:29 PM
antvas1963 antvas1963 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushleague View Post
I keep my fingers in kind of a loose grip, not really clenched but as if I'm holding something like a hockey stick in it. The key is, you dont let any of your other fingers dangle lower than your index finger, which puts the pick way closer to the guitar than any of your fingers.

If I get sloppy I do sometimes find myself tagging the top of the guitar, usually doing reggea/ ska type chops.

Some of the heavyest, most percussive strumming I've seen done on an acoustic guitar is by a band called Days n Daze, and that guy keeps his free fingers pointed stiffly downwards, flat with the back of his hand and paralell to the top of the guitar which keeps his fingers about as far away from the guitar as possible. I wont post a link as their lyrics tend to be pretty explicit, but you can check them out on youtube if you like.
I will check them out
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Old 08-01-2021, 09:19 PM
Bushleague Bushleague is offline
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Originally Posted by antvas1963 View Post
I will check them out
Be forewarned, Days n Daze is pretty "Unique" to say the least. While its not music I want to play, or really borrow anything from, I appreciate the creativity and do enjoy listening to it.

The Bridge City Sessions set is a good example of what to expect from them, and a good example of how to beat the living tar out of a guitar without touching the top. You only rarely get to listen to something this weird for the first time, so try to enjoy the experience, I believe they call their sound "Thrash Grass".

Last edited by Bushleague; 08-01-2021 at 10:06 PM.
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  #13  
Old 08-02-2021, 05:51 PM
antvas1963 antvas1963 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushleague View Post
I keep my fingers in kind of a loose grip, not really clenched but as if I'm holding something like a hockey stick in it. The key is, you dont let any of your other fingers dangle lower than your index finger, which puts the pick way closer to the guitar than any of your fingers.

If I get sloppy I do sometimes find myself tagging the top of the guitar, usually doing reggea/ ska type chops.

Some of the heavyest, most percussive strumming I've seen done on an acoustic guitar is by a band called Days n Daze, and that guy keeps his free fingers pointed stiffly downwards, flat with the back of his hand and paralell to the top of the guitar which keeps his fingers about as far away from the guitar as possible. I wont post a link as their lyrics tend to be pretty explicit, but you can check them out on youtube if you like.
**** ,that Guy can sure as hell strum.
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  #14  
Old 08-02-2021, 08:16 PM
Bushleague Bushleague is offline
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Originally Posted by antvas1963 View Post
**** ,that Guy can sure as hell strum.
Yeah, its funny cause most of how he he plays is a style that I would consider to sound like crap on an acoustic, however he just rocks it so wholeheartedly that it somehow sounds ok. I think not bathing, living behind a 7-11, and using bale twine for a strap are key ... I'd stay away from whatever that washboard player is on though.

Last edited by Bushleague; 08-02-2021 at 08:25 PM.
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