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How To Strum The Guitar – Beginner Guitar Lesson #7

October 21, 2019

Welcome to video seven of the Beginner Guitar
Quick-Start Series. In this lesson we’re going to learn how to use your picking hand to strum
properly on the guitar. This is going to make sure that your practice and playing time is
efficient, it’s going to reduce the risk of injury, and it’s going to help your progress
be a lot faster in future lessons. I’m going to be using a pick for the strumming
in this lesson, but you don’t have to use one. If you don’t have one or if you don’t
want to that’s totally fine. It’s up to you. You can just use your thumb and your index
finger to kind of strum the strings. Now I would recommend at least trying to use a pick.
And some of the stuff that I’m going to cover in this lesson is a bit subjective as far
as how to grip the pick and the angle that you’re going to be strumming. So it’s really
up to you. So the best way to start trying to hold a
pick is to just stick the pick out in front of you like this if you’re right handed, point
it that way, put your thumb on it as naturally as you can, and then just come down on that
pick with your index finger. Now as far as the grip on the pick, like I said try to do
what’s natural. Your finger may be curved around like that, it may be more parallel
to the pick, or it may be the complete other way. You may even want to try using to fingers
to hold the pick. That gives you some control. Experiment and just see what feels comfortable
and natural for you. Alright, the second little subjective thing that I wanted to go over is the angle that you’re going to be picking at. Most people have the pick angled
downward like this kind of towards the floor when they strum. Some people have the pick
angled more parallel to the strings, and some people, like I said, if you use the two finger method for holding the pick, the angle is more upward like this. It really doesn’t matter. The important
thing is that you experiment with the angle that you like best and find out what works
for you. The next tip that I want to give you when
you’re strumming is to relax. If you tense up you’re going to be really inefficient and
you’re going to open the door from some injuries. So if you feel any tension creeping into your
strumming at any time just stop, relax, and then start over again. One thing that I see a lot of newer players
do, I see them lock their wrist and just strum from their elbow. What that does, that can
create a lot of tension. That can be a source for a lot of tension, so don’t do that. One
of the best analogies that I’ve ever heard for strumming, and I use it all the time,
is to pretend like you have some honey on your finger and then a feather is stuck to
it and you’re just trying to flick it off. If you look at that, most of the motion is
coming from my wrist. My elbow is moving too, but my wrist isn’t lock and just using my
elbow, right. So keep that in mind. Keep that little analogy in mind as we go through this. And we’re going to start with just some downstrokes
for strumming, and if you don’t know any chords yet that’s totally fine. You can just mute
the strings or you can make a chord if you know one. And just take the pick in your hand
in your preferred grip that you’ve been kind of messing with, and then preferred angle
that feels most comfortable for you. And remember that analogy. Don’t lock your wrist and just
use your elbow. Just go strum through all six strings using downstrokes. Keep doing
that over and over again until you get comfortable with it. If you need to stop the video that’s
totally fine. Once you get comfortable with your downstrokes
you need to get comfortable with some upstrokes too. So do the exact same thing. Make sure
you’re not locking your wrist and just using your elbow. Just strum through the strings
using upstrokes. And a lot of people, a lot of newer guitar players, think if they are
playing a full chord, like a chord that uses all six strings, that they have to upstroke
through all six strings, and that’s not the case. Let me show you this real quick. I’m
going to play a G chord. It’s a six string chord. And if I do upstrokes I generally only
hit the top three to five strings with my upstrokes. With my downstrokes I generally
hit all six, but with my upstrokes I’m only hitting about the top four strings there. So once your comfortable with your downstrokes
and your upstrokes individually you’re going to want to try to put them together. Just
do that over and over again. And like I said, if you don’t know a chord yet that’s fine.
Just mute the strings. A lot of newer guitar players have trouble
holding on to the pick when they strum. It ends up flying out of their hands. You as
a new guitar player are going to have to experiment with how tightly you hold on to the pick.
You want to hold on to it tightly enough to where it doesn’t go flying out of your hands,
but you don’t want to hold on to it so tightly that you tense up. One thing you’re going to have to do is kind
of develop a technique to where you’re kind of constantly adjusting the pick. Because
if you’re strumming a lot that pick is going to move around a little, and you’re going
to need to adjust your grip. So if I’m strumming a G chord, I’m always making little micro
adjustments just to make sure I’m holding onto the pick to where it doesn’t fly out
of my hands. Keep all of the tips that you’ve learned in
this lesson in mind as we move forward in the Beginner Guitar Quick-Start Series. And
for right now just practice your downstroke strumming, your upstroke strumming, and putting
them together. Don’t even worry about your fretting hand right now. Just work on your
strumming hand. In the next lesson we’re going to go over
your first two chords, and I’m also going to give you some tips on how to keep your
clean and buzz free. If you have any questions about strumming you can leave them here in the comments or email me [email protected] Later.


  • Reply RAJESH MOHITE April 7, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Sir, I have to strum all the strings down and up or vice versa while playing any chord….

  • Reply Alifya Cyclewala May 6, 2016 at 9:09 am

    does the size of the pick matter ?

  • Reply Bm Morin May 9, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    This is working I love it

  • Reply Bm Morin May 9, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    Nate my fingers are hurting

  • Reply Bm Morin May 9, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    Bowie don't got a pic or whatever is called

  • Reply Arnuld Gallardo May 24, 2016 at 8:48 am


  • Reply Tayla Clayton June 1, 2016 at 12:00 am

    I lost my pik

  • Reply Akhilesh Chitnis June 6, 2016 at 4:21 am

    i have problem in upstrokes πŸ™

  • Reply John Hanley June 11, 2016 at 5:06 pm


  • Reply JustBeJB June 12, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    How do I know if I should use upstrokes or down strokes?

  • Reply Lana V June 14, 2016 at 3:23 am

    What app could I use to help me ??

  • Reply Buzzer Epic June 15, 2016 at 4:13 pm


  • Reply R S June 20, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    hi.. I am from Syria and ur guitar lessons are very helpful to me.. thank you sooo much ☺☺

  • Reply Ray R July 8, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    is it okay to make micro adjustments to the pick using middle finger of picking hand?

  • Reply Farnaz Ravari July 10, 2016 at 7:21 am

    is it alright if i pick with a coin? i feel the sound is not right

  • Reply Timothy Rogers July 25, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    what do you use to clean the body of the guitar of dust wood part a clean

  • Reply MrReitorTV July 27, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    I love your channel

  • Reply Emma Rose - Guitar Girl 4 Life July 28, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    What kind of Taylor guitar is that?

  • Reply Jaymark Obispo September 1, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    sir I'm having a problem picking strings. for example: in C I'm OK with single strum, but when I do it in beat I accendentally hit the 6th strings? need some advice with that. thanks you!

  • Reply AdnanSafaraz September 15, 2016 at 2:31 am

    Is there a tips for knowing string position when picking ?

  • Reply Yannis Madu September 22, 2016 at 6:08 am

    Is this the guitar version of drumeo or something? I recognize the room somwhere

  • Reply Sicilia Camarillo September 28, 2016 at 7:42 am

    what is a good guitar to buy for beginners

  • Reply shaheed Hussain October 3, 2016 at 6:23 am

    Thank you so much, your lesson have really helped me. Cheers πŸ˜€

  • Reply Shireen Aslam October 8, 2016 at 11:03 am

    hie sir could you please suggest something for my lil problem which i have been suffering from the very first day when i started playing guitar. i find your lessons to be very effective and i have been following dem since days. but the issue is like my hands are realllly small and too soft.. wenever i push the strings to touch the frets for the chords. the tip of my fingers get bruised and starts to bleed.. furthermore my other fingers touch the rest of the strings .which makes it very difficult to play … please helpp …. how can i fix this! … pleaseeeeeee …

  • Reply S Fouche October 10, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    stupid question: if i play a D chord is it the same note(sound) as an open D string just on a higher or lower pitch? i am new so.

  • Reply Shawn Jeejo October 11, 2016 at 4:22 am

    Thx a lot this video helped me a lot I mean all ur videos

  • Reply Aamir Ahmad Ansari October 16, 2016 at 8:39 am

    I dont have a sound hole in my guitar! Would it affect the tune coming from the strings?

  • Reply Matthew Marinelli December 1, 2016 at 1:31 am


  • Reply Franco Ricci December 14, 2016 at 3:08 am

    Which finger do i use if i dont have a pick to strum?

  • Reply FunkyKanz December 18, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Hello sir, how do i perform up strock when i dont have a pick to strum?

  • Reply Anish Sarangi December 25, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Hello sir,what should be done not to make the peak slippery?Just i asked bcoz i am a begineer.

  • Reply Mariah Viramontes December 26, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    hi my name is mariah and i was wondering what if you use a some type of coin. you cant get a guitar pick?

  • Reply Nathan C. December 30, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    basically a good way to think of strumming when using your fingers is your really using your index nail to strum down and your thumbs nail to strum up

  • Reply Ashley Burnette December 30, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    What is a good way to strum for really slow and calm songs?

  • Reply Ethan Chia January 4, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Hi nate, may I ask, how do I strum the guitar, like with my nails or with my knuckles

  • Reply Alyssa leigh January 8, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Why does my strings buzz its soooo frustrating

  • Reply Jane Barrett January 21, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Thanks so much Nate you are a great teacher! Jane from the UK!

  • Reply YoungQueen Courage February 1, 2017 at 12:03 am

    does anyone know any cheap guitars in walmart in canada or something

  • Reply Larry Hoggatt February 7, 2017 at 3:59 am

    does a penny work

  • Reply Oscar Salcido February 16, 2017 at 2:50 am

    i have a pick

  • Reply Ashley Leyva March 1, 2017 at 1:34 am

    I have a thumb pick but I hate the sound it makes when it's lifting off so I use my thumb itself but the sound is more quiet

  • Reply zakariah awesome March 5, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    I'm from Bangladesh you vids are so awesome

  • Reply ebenezer pradeep March 26, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    i came all the way out here to subscribe ! Good boss keep it up

  • Reply Emilia Tivernomal April 6, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    How do I know if my guitar needs to be tuned? 'Mine doesn't sound like yours

  • Reply raaghav arya April 7, 2017 at 11:56 am

    Thank you sir. I had been trying to find free beginners' lessons for so long and you have excelled at doing so. This helps a lot.

  • Reply CheyPie April 12, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    This helped me achieve a better sex life. Thank you!

  • Reply Emily Kibbler April 12, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    The feather visual/metaphor really helped me!! Thank you πŸ™‚

  • Reply Killer Meme Star April 28, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    Does it help if you have a buttchin? For this guy it does.

  • Reply Himanshu Hatwar May 5, 2017 at 3:58 am

    sir we have to strum.all the six strings in down stroke and only 2 to 5 in up stroke is it so

  • Reply ray hernandez May 12, 2017 at 1:23 am

    Manuel Neur teaches guitar? Dope

  • Reply Skyz Playz May 29, 2017 at 6:08 am

    Your guitar lesson are very helpful to m thank you very much😊

  • Reply Ankit yadav June 9, 2017 at 3:36 am

    sir, how many hrs we need to do practise.

  • Reply Ivan Ruiz Lastra June 14, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    thank you so much. iΒ΄m following my dreams to play guitar again-

  • Reply Justin Lee June 17, 2017 at 1:14 am

    How do you strum without a pick? Especially because I'm not sure where to use my nails or which finger is for which stroke. I mostly use my index fingernail for down and thumbnail for up; should i do the opposite to avodi using my nails?

  • Reply AzraelPercussionNEO July 9, 2017 at 12:34 am

    HOW DO YOU mute the string to prevent notes from being played when you are strumming the guitar 🎸?

  • Reply HAN Skylar August 9, 2017 at 10:40 am

    These series are usefullll

  • Reply Vaporwave Soul August 12, 2017 at 10:00 am

    I can't afford guitar lessons but I always had an itch to play one. I've finally got a guitar for myself and man, they're way beyond helpful. Thanks.

  • Reply J KK August 24, 2017 at 7:16 am

    I love ur guitar lessons but I'm having trouble with frets

  • Reply Jim Johnson September 1, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    what app did you use to tune your guitar

  • Reply Chaitanya Dandekar September 3, 2017 at 9:30 am

    When I strum down, I am not able to hit the string no. 1. What should I do to avoid this?
    PS: Your guitar lessons are great. Thank you so much for helping us beginners. 😊

  • Reply River Hart September 17, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    Sos one others who have a lot of

  • Reply Robin Phal September 27, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    When strumming (upstroke or downstroke), do we need to hit all the 6 strings? Pls be patient to reply. I'm trying to learn from all your lessons step by step.

  • Reply Mary Thomas September 29, 2017 at 10:14 am

    My hands are small to hold on an acoustic Guitar which I have… But I desperately want to learn guitar….. Please help me with this

  • Reply Teng Hong Ang October 17, 2017 at 9:39 am


  • Reply Kate October 28, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Thank youuu really helped a lot❀

  • Reply Shaheer Ali November 12, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    you are the best

  • Reply Arlo Waisman November 20, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    so so help full.

  • Reply Jhumpa Das November 24, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    When I strum,my wrist & sometimes my fingers come in contact with the strings & thus the sound doesn't get produced smoothly.How can I avoid this mistake?

  • Reply Adrian Parvez December 1, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    How much time do you need to learn a guiter generally?

  • Reply Nolan Love December 8, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    would a dog tag work for a pick?

  • Reply Christian Castro December 27, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    I love the g chord

  • Reply Christian Castro December 27, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    I'm a kid my name is Jaden

  • Reply Christian Castro December 27, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    Hi I'm a fan

  • Reply OcΓ©ane Le Ny January 4, 2018 at 10:16 am

    I want to take private guitar lessons with you but I live in France. Why!? Why!? Why did I move here?!

  • Reply 49Stoners January 5, 2018 at 11:27 pm

    Don’t know if it’s the same for my electric

  • Reply Juli January 27, 2018 at 9:03 pm


  • Reply Ellizabeth Leach March 31, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    do i have to use a pick?

  • Reply Don DAmato April 21, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    injury? What a weak culture we've become. Good Video though

  • Reply Askrika senpaii neko April 28, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    Thanks so much for this lessons its helped me out so much

  • Reply Beetle draws April 30, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    I'm dying to get a guitar😧,hope I get one this month(praying to god)πŸ˜‚really I wanna play it so bad🀘πŸ”₯πŸ˜‚

  • Reply Askrika senpaii neko May 3, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    Thanks so much for these videos it helps me alot

  • Reply nick walther June 22, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Thank you for this video! I literally didn't even know that you didn't hit all 6 strings on the upstroke… so much to learn!

  • Reply az darksonal July 27, 2018 at 9:43 am

    do guitarists have massive forearms or is it just an illusion when they rest it on the guitar?

  • Reply Nikhil Vamsi August 17, 2018 at 6:26 am

    Hey nate, when i'm strumming the A minor or the C major i'm strumming all the 6 strings, I'm not able to leave the string that is supposed to be left. what do I do…?

  • Reply Atanu Paul August 17, 2018 at 11:40 am

    what is the technique of strumming if i dont have a pick?

  • Reply Arhana Saikia August 30, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    I love your lessons !!

  • Reply Gl.78 YT September 17, 2018 at 1:23 am

    what if i pick with my fingers on my classical guitar

  • Reply [] AL [] November 9, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    strange how I've always heard people saying it's the elbow that should do all the work and NOT the wrist… I guess it's up to personal preference.

  • Reply dimitris948 November 11, 2018 at 10:42 am

    I am playing for about 7 months and you are the first person that actually learned me how to hold the pick and strum . Holding the pick natural with an angle as you said HELPED me allot . My pick is NOW not slipping thank you !!!!

  • Reply Derrick Basoah November 15, 2018 at 9:55 pm

    Is t better to play with a pick or with your fingers as a beginner??

  • Reply gaming fun December 18, 2018 at 11:25 am


  • Reply joe doe December 20, 2018 at 9:51 am

    Why do you not hit all relevant strings with your upstrokes? I could use some good exercise tips on how to practice both downstrokes and upstrokes where all relevant strings are struck, without hitting any of the strings that aren't suppose to be struck. i.e. Both upstroke and downstroke of an open D chord where you must avoid the E and A strings. I have yet to find such a lesson anywhere.

  • Reply joe doe December 20, 2018 at 9:53 am

    If I mute the strings while practicing strumming, I can't hear which strings I hit vs. which strings I avoided. So if I'm not holding down a chord, I just let the open strings ring and try to listen to which of the 6 notes sounded properly based on which strings I was trying to include. I hope that sounds like a proper strategy.

  • Reply Minal Joshika December 30, 2018 at 11:59 am

    I juz luv the way you speak

  • Reply dacosta0656 January 18, 2019 at 12:03 am

    My picks have the flexibility of a nickel

  • Reply Nicholas Rodriguez March 26, 2019 at 12:43 am

    New guitar player here and I got a quick question.
    When you strum a chord like the D chord do you strum every single chord or every chord after the D chord?

  • Reply Isabel Abuhin April 12, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    So it doesn’t really matter where you strum just if you’re correct when playing a chord/note?

  • Reply Vibha yadav June 20, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    Sir iam facing problems with upstrokes please guide me

  • Reply Surasak Chuenprayoon July 5, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    I got an ad that said why you shouldn’t use YouTube to learn guitar

    I subscribed

  • Reply Ashley Jackson July 13, 2019 at 2:26 am

    I am facing problems with downstrokes and upstrokes altogether on my guitar. I also am facing problems with playing strumming faster.

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