In today’s lesson, I’m going to show you how to strum without a pick. A lot of people have noticed that I go between using a pick and not using a pick without really putting too much thought into it, and I’d like to share with you some strategies for using your bare hands to strum.
If you’re interested, these resources are designed to help you do it better and faster.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
0:44 – METHOD 1: THE “PINCH”
5:41 – METHOD 2: “SOFT” STYLE
9:37 – METHOD 3: “NAILS” STYLE
I’m going to show you three ways that I’ve discovered work very well. We’re also going to discuss some general strumming tips that will help you keep a steady rhythm and do more than just down strokes and up strokes. We’re also going to talk a little bit about dynamics and all these other things that will make your strumming sound more like the real thing.
The first method I call the “pinch”. We basically pinch our index and thumb together as if we’re holding a pick. This method is very easy to do and if you’re already familiar with using a pick it’ll be really easy for you to apply it to guitar right away. My favorite thing about this is that we can use it for palm muting.
The second method I want to show you is I call the “soft” style. That’s where we just use the fleshy part of our thumb and fingers to strum the guitar. This way is very very quiet, delicate, tender and is excellent for an intimate setting (or if you can plug into an amplifier, that’ll make it loud regardless). Now if you’re going to a party, this probably isn’t the best because the dynamic range is quite small, you can maybe go quiet and medium and that’s about it.
Now, the third method I want to show you is my favorite. I call it “fingernails” method because it involves using your fingernails to hit the guitar and using a loose hand. This ties in really well to finger picking – it kind of bridges the gap between finger picking and strumming and allows you to do a hybrid of those styles. Very, very cool. Whenever you’re seeing someone do crazy finger style stuff, and it involves a tiny bit of strumming, this is how they’re incorporating that strumming. Also, the dynamic range is massive with this style, just as much as using a pick if not greater because you can go a bit softer as well. Overall, it’s very relaxing and allows for a very loose smooth strumming sound.
I hope all of these methods and tips help you learn to strum guitar better. If you have any questions or comments please let me know. Otherwise, I look forward to see you next lesson!
All the best!