How to get Good at Strumming Guitar

Strumming can be one of the more challenging areas of skill development for most Beginner and Intermediate players. I've even worked with a number of more advanced players who also struggle with having good strumming and who cannot play in proper time. There's no question that it's tough to do while maintaining quality playing dynamics. And, although for some players rhythm is a fairly natural skill, for many others it's an issue to overcome...

Although strumming can be frustrating for a lot of guitar players, (who want to have rhythmic skill improve), the good news is that luckily this technique isn't as difficult to get good at, as you might think.

On this episode of the "Guitar Blog Insider," I'm going to help you with getting a better understanding of how to use note duration as a way to improve your sense of strumming and to help with getting a lot better at playing rhythm guitar.


For a lot of musicians, having the ability to know the beat and perfectly /exactly track the beat can be a series challenge. All too often a guitar player will consider something like this as being, "too simple to practice."

In fact it can seem so simplistic, that players will think - why bother even trying it. But, this is a big mistake. Think of this another way, there are a lot of guitarists out there who play drums, and I'm sure that they will agree with me when I say that, they would never imagine not working on their drumming rudiments.

Unfortunately, this attitude (of studying rhythmic rudiments on guitar), is almost non-existent when it comes to guitar students. As a practice topic for starting to develop better rhythm, you'll want to be sure to work on finding the beat and "Locking Down" on the time.

Try starting with an example that moves through quarter-notes and eighth-notes. After you practice this for a while, make the move onto more complex duration of time.

Finding the beat in time and locking down on it so that the feel is solid on each count will take some practice. But, once you start to have success there, you'll want to move onward to paying attention to where the count is missing.

In counting we call these areas of time, "Rests." These are points across the beat where we do not play and these areas of silence need to be addressed with just as much scrutiny as when we do play.

In my next example, I have a beat structure that includes 'points within time' where you'll need to be waiting (silent) and not performing any attack. Pay attention to the feel and the count. And, keep in mind that clapping and counting will always play a big role with initially developing a solid understanding for the groove that needs to be established.

After the feel for quarter and eighth-note duration in straight time begins to become better understood, and the ability to perform rests around the beat begins to come under better control, the next step is for you to perfect the feel of the triple meter.

This feel is slightly faster, (since we are performing three notes within the span of two), but the triplet is not as quick as the sixteenth-notes. And, the ability for most guitar players to understand this feel tends to come along rather quickly since it's the basis of both Blues and Jazz.

Let's practice an eighth-note triplet groove to help you better understanding this popular feel.

The final area of rhythmic feel, (that every guitarist who is working on getting better at developing their sense of time must eventually address), is the feel and the count of the 16th note duration.

The 16th-note feel can be challenging for most guitar players. But, the important thing to remember is that you can start developing this groove a lot easier if you're already skilled with the note durations that come before this.

So, learn those; quarter, eighth and triplet concepts and be sure to understand the idea of rests (the silent parts of the beat where you're not supposed play). Once you can listen and strum those foundational beats, start into studying the sixteenth-note rhythms, but keep it slow, and keep it simple.

Let's try out a very basic 16th-note groove in a 2-bar phrase that you get going with right away.

This general idea of how to get better at strumming (and just becoming a lot better with your rhythm guitar skills overall), will obviously involve some work. You'll need to dedicate a lot of hours to the practice of rhythm guitar.

Another thing, is that the examples I've introduced here are only just the beginning. On the Creative Guitar Studio web-site I've organized a course in the members area that's called "Rhythm Guitar." And, if you 're a member of the web site, you'll also have access to the Intermediate Guitar course.

Both of these guitar courses offer guitar players an opportunity to become much better at playing in all of these various rhythm duration that I've discussed here.

However, what is most important, is how you spend your time practicing these rhythms. The courses I've created on the members web-site go a lot further by offering a number of good practice tools that'll really help you along in this department.

The study area of rhythm is really important, because once you have a good feel for rhythm, every other area of your playing will see a substantial improvement right along with it.

Thanks for joining me... If you want to learn more about what I do as an online guitar teacher, then head over to my website at and sign up your FREE lifetime membership.

When you want more, you can always upgrade to either a Basic, or a Premium lesson package and start studying the guitar courses I've organized for the members of my website.

Also, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on all of this in the comment section below... if you enjoyed this video on YouTube, give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more. Thanks again and we'll catch up next week , for another episode of the, "Guitar Blog Insider."



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