Today’s tip is all about strumming.
This tip is especially useful if you find you speed up or slow down as you strum…
Or if you find your strumming lacks groove, feel, or a nice tone.
…And this exercise can even help with your chord changes too.
I call it the “1-Minute Strumming” exercise.
It works like this:
- Choose one strumming pattern you can play
- Set a timer for one minute
- Play the strumming pattern over and over until the timer ends
The idea is that you keep the strumming going for one whole minute, no matter what.
It’s really simple, but setting a timer can keep you focused, which means you get a lot of repetitions in and it will help you build up some good muscle memory.
…And that means you can get a lot done in a short space of time.
To make more of a game of it, and to gradually increase the difficulty, I get students to do it over three ‘levels’:
- Level 1 – use only one chord (e.g., E minor)
- Level 2 – two chords (e.g., G and E minor)
- Level 3 – four chords (e.g., G, D, Em, C)
Level 1 is all about you focusing on the rhythm and tone when strumming.
Level 2 adds in a fairly simple chord change and level 3 challenges you to keep the strumming going while playing one of the most useful chord progressions around (G, D, Em, C).
You can do this on your own and it will be super useful.
…But over the years, my students have found this to be super useful when doing it along with me.
In the Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy, one of the lessons goes through this.
You simply press play on the video and do this exact exercise along with me.
In this lesson, I not only show you how to play the three most useful strumming patterns I know, but there are some supplemental lessons on how to play them with good tone, improve specific chord changes, and plenty of simple advice you can apply right away to make your strumming sound great.
Plus, you can easily speed up or slow down the videos so you can practise at a tempo that feels right for you.
It’s called the “1-Minute Strumming” exercise and you can find it as part of this below…
Strumming can be awkward at first, but an exercise like this can really help. Just like Martin said:
“Can’t believe the difference in just a couple of days trying these patterns – made a complete mess to start with but playing along it is beginning to become more automatic – great, thank you!”
Enjoy your Friday
P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.