How To Strum A Guitar & Sound Good!

Learning how to strum a guitar is one of the fundamental skills every aspiring guitarist should master. Whether you're a complete beginner or someone looking to improve their strumming technique, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the essentials.

From holding the guitar pick correctly for the best sound to how to play your up strums without losing time or rhythm.

Even if you are brand new to strumming a guitar, we've got you covered.

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How To Strum A guitar With A Pick?

If you are like me, you prefer to strum your guitar with a pick. I like using a guitar pick when strumming because I can get a lot more dynamics (soft VS loud) out of my playing and I feel it really helps to make the guitar come to life.


A huge mistake I see a lot of beginner guitar players make when it comes to strumming is using a pick that is too thick. I usually recommend a 0.50mm or a 0.43mm pick for beginners as they are very flexible and have a lot of give.


Most beginners have very stiff strumming. The flexibility of the pick helps take a little bit of the curse off the strumming and helps the strings sing better.

As your hand relaxes, you can graduate to a thicker pick. I tend to like 0.73mm-0.88mm for strumming.

You can watch the video below for more tips on how to make your strumming sound better.

Play Video

How To Strum A Guitar Without a Pick

This is not very different from strumming with a pick other than you will be using either the flesh part of your fingers and/or the nails.

I personally do not like using my nails to strum a guitar. It just feels weird to me.

Instead, I prefer using:

  • the fleshy part of my thumb to strum DOWN
  • the fleshy part of my index pad to strum UP

This produced a nice warm sound and it already mimics what I'm doing when I strum with a pick. So there really isn't a huge difference technique wise.

How To Strum Up On a Guitar

Whether or not you use a pick to strum your guitar, the most important thing to do is to remember to relax as you are strumming.

As I mentioned ealier, many students have trouble with relaxing their hand, wrist and forearms are first and this can make for some really chopping up strums.

If you suffer from the starts and stops while strumming, you're not alone.

In the video below, I discuss some tips on how to master the up strum on your guitar. The key is going slow and really working on relaxing the arm.

The good news is, if you do a down strum, you are already do and up strum.

Watch the video below for some great pointers.

If you are looking to work on improving your strumming on guitar, I highly recommend that you check out my Expressive Rhythm Strumming Course.

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