Master Your Strumming with One Exercise | Guitar Strumming Freedom



There are more guitar strumming patterns applied in songs than can be taught. So, the guitarist needs to understand how to control their strumming in a way where they can create any strum pattern they hear. 

This is the "trick" to learning how to strum. The good news is that this is a technique and it can be mastered over time...



Being able to control your strumming up to a level where you can duplicate what you either hear on an album, or what you hear in your head is vital. This skill comes down to gaining true mastery over rhythm guitar. Unfortunately, it is easier said than done. Strum patterns can be complex and without absolute control over the strum hand, you'll find it very difficult to play the endless amount of strumming patterns used in music.

However, if you can master the exercise I'm about to show you in this guitar blog post, your strumming will drastically improve. The idea centers around hearing ideas in your head and working at duplicating them. So, this makes the exercise very autonomous. You will self-govern how the exercise operates and you will be in control over what happens with the way you interpret the exercise.

Because you will be making decisions about the feel of the strumming (to a significant degree), you will also need to perform constant self-checks to make sure that the ideas you are developing make sense as to what you hear in your head.



CONNECT TO YOUR HEAD:
As musicians, we all hear and feel patterns and grooves in our minds. This is a strong connection for almost all musicians because musical people all naturally enjoy feeling and expressing music.

Since we all like to sing songs in our head and we naturally hear groove in our mind, we already have access to many different patterns for rhythm and strumming. We just need to understand how to get them out.

THE CONNECT EXERCISE:
Grab your guitar and tap your finger on the sound board. Play around with creating a simple recurring meter as you tap. Nothing too crazy, keep it simple. Just be sure that you're developing a recurring groove.

Once you've firmly established a beat through tapping your finger on the guitars sound-hole, begin visualizing what that beat would be like to strum.

Decide where you'd strum down and where you would have the strum move upward. Be clear about this by calling the moves out loud. call out; "Down" "Down" "Up" "Up" "Up" "Down." Notice what you imagine it is going to feel like to do this for real.



Next, grab the guitar and translate these moves to some live playing. When you execute the pattern of your strumming, continue calling out the strum directions. Notice where your body takes you. Do the strums feel accurate? Or, perhaps where you thought there should be a "Down" there really needs to be an "Up." Pay attention to what "Feels" correct.

The "Connect Exercise"  works great to take any rhythms and strumming feels that you have floating around in your mind and make them a reality. As you get better at the "Connect Exercise" move on to listening to strum patterns off of your favorite recordings and use the same process. You'll be able to match them us just like you did with those simple taps that you made on your guitar soundboard.

It will take a period for the exercise to create a good rhythm inside you that accurately matches recordings. But, with some effort, you'll begin getting much better at building the connections. And, as long as you strive for the best possible feel, your connection to performing any type of groove will simply get better and better over time.

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