Acoustic Guitar: 3 Tips for Fast Strumming

When it comes to acoustic guitar playing (strumming in particular), it's easy to play clean and slow or fast and sloppy. To keep your strumming both fast and clean can be quite a challenge.

Over the years I've been in many a situation that required fast acoustic strumming parts, but it wasn't until I got into recording that my playing got an overhaul.

I noticed that my strumming on fast songs often sounded out of control, tense, and unmusical. Over the past few years I've worked to correct those problems, and hopefully will help you do the same with these 3 tips.

  • 1. Aim for 2-3 strings, not all 6. This tip alone will eliminate lots of excess string noise. Lots of chords only require 4-5 strings anyways, and accidentally including the others makes for a big ugly mess. Plus, the smaller strumming motion makes it easier to maintain complete control on fast songs.
  • 2. Loosen your grip on the pick (or drop the pick altogether). A tight grip makes it nearly impossible to produce a consistent and even strumming sound. You'll also wear yourself out. You could also try dropping the pick and strumming with the backs of your fingernails. It's a unique and useful sound.
  • 3. Play with a light touch. Most acoustic guitars sound sweetest when you don't play them too hard. This is especially true when strumming. Playing too hard results in the "thwacking" of the strings against the fretboard. To keep clarity and definition in your strumming, lighten up your touch.

    Give these 3 tips a try next time you're faced with a tune that requires fast strumming.

    Question: What other tips or ideas do you have for fast acoustic guitar strumming? Join the discussion below!


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