Question about strumming

Registered User
Joined: 11/03/16
Posts: 10

So I have progressed through beginner 1 no problem until I get to the strumming section and my brain is having issues. I don't seem to have a problem with the complicated (D-DU-UDUD) pattern when I play with my fingers, but every time I try to use a pick,the upstrokes throw me off. I learned this pattern initially doing the Runaway Train for beginners song with Caren and picked it up pretty fast--but she (and I) used fingers for strumming. So I don't think it's because of the complexity of the patterns as much as something maybe mechanical with how I'm hitting the strings.

I feel like the pick twists funny in my hands or something on upstrokes. It seems to happen no matter how simple the rhythm. Is it just something that takes getting used to? Or are there some common pick holding/up stroking errors I may be making? I think I'm holding it firm, but not overly so--with my 3rd-5th fingers out as described in earlier lessons.

Any advice? Thanks.

# 1
Registered User
Joined: 04/02/13
Posts: 555

it may be an idea to try out a few types of picks, makes and thickness to see if you find one that is easier to use.

# 2
Full Access
Joined: 03/18/16
Posts: 41
Originally Posted by: fuzzb0x

it may be an idea to try out a few types of picks, makes and thickness to see if you find one that is easier to use.

This worked for me when I started. I had a preference for finger strumming, and when I mildly cut my index finger I had to let the pick take over. I used a light one at first and now a medium.

You might just need to relax your hand a little........and get used to it :-)

# 3
Registered User
Joined: 01/05/16
Posts: 239

docash, I have one suggestion for you regarding the picking. Try making sure that your pick is not hitting the strings at a 90 degree angle, but turn it and see if it helps if you have your pick at 45 degrees to the strings. I hold my pick with my thumb and the side of my first finger. Give it a shot. By the way, I don't understand that picking pattern either, and I actually dont use it. I simplify it by using DD U D U and thats all. Also something similar is D U D U D change chord D U D U D. As long as you have the tempo of the song correct, it works. Thanks. Hope this helps.

# 4
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Joined: 02/21/18
Posts: 2

I have a question about the strumming patter DDUUDU. When you play a chord on the last upstroke and are about to switch to another cord, do you play the whole chord or cheat by playing just a few strings while transitioning to the next chord. I'm having a little trouble with switching chords while keeping the timing. Maybe it's me and I haven't developed enough muscle memory to change chords seemlessly while keeping the proper timing. Thanks in advance.

# 5
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 11/02/06
Posts: 3,840

An elegant little cheat is just fine, in my humble opinion. What you want to do is LISTEN to your transition, and see if it sounds nice and smooth - even as you are strategizing to get to the next chord within the parameters of the rhythm pattern.

We guitarists do it all the time - it's a matter of honing your technique so that, to the listener, the transition is perceived as smooth, clear, and seamless.

Hope this helps! - Lisa

Lisa McCormick, GT Instructor
Acoustic, Folk, Pop, Blues

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# 6