How to strum a guitar WITHOUT a pick!

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Hey youre doing justin here. Today. Were going to be talking about strumming.
Strumming. Without a pick. Its something i get asked about a whole lot it kind of a big subject really for most beginners.
I think they tend to turn to it because they cant use a pick and i dont think thats the kind of the right option if youre struggling to use a pick. I think you want to try using a very thin pick and struggle with it a little bit longer because i think for real beginners. Its a bit easier and better in the long term to be able to strum with a pick.
However when im strumming the guitar more than 50 of the time i choose to strum without a pick now. Theres a lot more options when you choose to strum without a pick as well as in the ways that you do it when you strum with a pick you tend most people tend to hold the pick the same way they move the arm. The same way.
Theres kind of a lot more its not limited. But there seems to be one way that works for most people most of the time whereas when you take that away and youre using your hand. Theres a lot more options as to how you angle your fingers on the strings.
With you use your thumb or your finger or a combination of those things. How much you move your arm. How much you move your thumb or your fingers independently of the arm.
Theres a lot more options and i think thats one of the reasons. Why i kind of prefer it because you can get a lot more tonal variations as a bit more to think about so this video is for beginners to explore playing without a pick. If you dont want to play without a pick for whatever reason.
And for more intermediate and advanced guitar players to get some ideas on ways of exploring playing without a pick. So its got on multiple levels here and hopefully. Beginners will find it kind of interesting and itll give you hopefully the right idea of finding a way that works well for you because i think thats one of the key things here is finding the way that works best for you so im going to start by talking about using your thumb now when youre strumming with your thumb.
If you just strum down with your thumb you get the kind of the fleshy part of the thumb quite obviously right a round sound compared to if i use a pick. Its kind of loud and a bit wiser two vs my thumb. Its a little bit round a little bit fuller not sure that the the brightness is sometimes good when youre recording.
But not all the time so i dont think that thats necessarily an advantage just a bit different when you do an up strum. If youre just going to use your thumb. Theres a couple of things couple of options and things that you need to be aware of depending on how you angle your hand.
So if you keep your thumb kind of the palm flat with the guitar. When you use your thumb. It can kind of hook up under the strings and get caught and get a little bit uncomfortable.
So its worth realizing that when you strum up you want the thumb to be a little bit more kind of facing it needs to be at an angle. Where its not hooking so you need to explore a bit how that works and how that feels with your thumb so that its not hooking under the strings. That the angle of your thumb isnt going to cause it to get trail and go all kind of weird when youre when youre strumming up with the thumb.
So thats the first thing is just to think about it now generally. I think rather than the thumb kind of pointing up like that it wants to be kind of thinking that way a little bit for the up strum. Okay just a little bit doesnt have to be a lot thats the first thing to think about is just be aware when youre strumming with your thumb how is it angled against the strings.

how to strum a guitar without a pick-0
how to strum a guitar without a pick-0

And is it going to hook in this is either the bit of the the flesh where it meets the nail can hook in or the whole angle of the thumb could kind of throw you in i mean you wouldnt be you shouldnt be like that you want to keep that your wrist nice and close to the strings. I think for the thumb things. But again theres some different options.
Ill talk about in a second so thats the first thing just to be aware of is trying to find a way that it doesnt hook into the strings. Now because youve got a nail on the top of your thumb. Its possible to get a fleshie sound on the down.
And an a lease ound on the up. Which is obviously brightens her flesh. Bright fresh.
Now that feels a little bit weird for me. Like that im having to consciously find it drag my nail on the strings. I find that if i keep my hand a little flatter that i can still get the fleshy part.
Its kind of this little the fleshy part underneath my thumb. Thats doing the strum. Not the nail like that the fleshy part now because generally you dont probably want the up strum to be bright and the down strums to be music to sound a little bit kind of wonky to well to my ear.
I think to most people probably so if youre gonna strongly just your thumb. Id recommend just mainly working on that fleshy part and trying to get it so its even like that so theres not really a big accent. There on the up strums with the nail.
I can do it. But it sounds a bit makes it sound a little bit wonky so id recommend just thinking about the flesh. Now when it comes to the motion of the arm.
There you can use just keeping all your fingers kind of nice and open and relaxed you can move your whole arm just like you would if you were doing strumming with a plectrum. But you could also there are some guys that can put their fingers on the actual guitar and just strum with the thumb motion itself now neither of those ones is particularly more valid than the other one its just what feels comfortable for you theres no way that you should feel one way is superior other than whats working for the song. And whats working for the person playing and i think this is where it gets into slightly more complicated for beginners because i think for a beginner.
Its a bit easier to know whats right and with you using a pick as i said this tends to be more one way to do it so theres the right way of doing it mostly of course. Its not quite that black and white. But theres mostly the right way to do it and then ways that it may be not so good.
But with this fingers thing. Theres a few more options and therefore. It can get a little bit more complicated and beginners might feel a little bit well.
Im not sure im doing it right and the test. I guess to see if youre doing it right for you is if it feels nice to you if it sounds nice because thats the two most important things it needs to sound. Nice to you and to other people and wants to feel nice and comfortable and relaxed you dont want it to feel all complicated and difficult that thats not the point.
It should feel comfortable. So you need to explore a little bit first of all the angle of your thumb how youre gonna play whether you want it to be all fleshy or fleshy and nail unlikely youre going to want that but you might do and then think about whether you want to try and keep the whole arm moving or whether you just want to think about using your thumb or a mixture. So.
Maybe your arm. Moves. A little bit.

how to strum a guitar without a pick-1
how to strum a guitar without a pick-1

And your thumbs moving as well. Its not one or the other theres combinations here that you can explore and you dont feel you shouldnt feel like you have to do one or the other okay so thatll be playing with the thumb. Its one of my favorite personally i like playing with the thumb a lot particularly with the fleshy thing if im doing a little ballad or something thats a bit you know mellower it and it feels i like the feeling of the strings on the flesh of my fingers as well.
I just i like that and its its nice strumming with a pick of course is something i do a lot as well. And theres definitely advantages to that the crispness and the brightness and decay. If youre playing with a band it can be a big advantage.
But theres lots of other advantage hits you know with the fingers thing as well which were going to get into now so thats talking about the thumb by on its own now the other option is quite a common one is using your first finger on its own now if youre going to strum with your first finger. If you strum down youre most likely to get this use the nail part of your first finger and then on the up pick you tend to use the fleshy part of the finger. So you get nail flesh.
Now music. Now. Its kind of more musical than to have the nail on the one two three and the four and the the fleshy part on the end so that would be normally one and if youre strumming in every beat.
Now if youre gonna do that youre gonna find with the up strum. Again you need to be aware of the the position. So that your finger doesnt kind of hook into the strings right so it needs to be kind of pointing up so down and then up its gonna be you know pointing at the ground for the upstroke and then youre gonna curl your finger a little bit further down its kind of if i try and slow it right down.
Now this approach doing it like this with my first finger. But this one im not tending to make a big motion motion with my arm. I can do weve talked about another option for that intersect.
But the fingers strumming sort of thing is very much kind of up and down. And its nailed on the way down and finger on the way up now if you dont want that that the difference in dynamic between the nail and the finger you can also use the flesh of your first finger. So this way youre kind of youre keeping your hand a lot flatter instead of it this way up and down this.
Way you think of it a bit more that way now. This is very soft and delicate. So i would only ever use this as kind of a ballad ii kind of thing.
Its lost all of the top end. Its not very bright its soft. Its hard to get like a big dynamic range like the range between loud and how soft you can be but its quite nice and delicate as well so there might be times.
Where that kind of thing music. I see i still want to occasionally. I want to be hitting the the nail to get a little bit more crunchy.
But definitely there have been occasions where ive been using mainly the little fleshy using the finger pointing thing now the other option. Thats very common for just playing with fingers is to hold your finger together like youre holding a pig. So you actually you pretend that youre holding a pig.
But the pig becomes your first thing music okay so that ways. Its quite a nice one again for beginners. If you are playing or you dropped your pick you youre used to the technique.
You should practice a little bit just putting your fingers together like youre holding a pig straightaway. Im more into moving my arm like i would when im playing with a pig. Okay so pivoting from the elbow trying to move the whole forearm up and down together.

how to strum a guitar without a pick-2
how to strum a guitar without a pick-2

Okay so its much more it feels like more of a strum if i go into just holding my first finger and my thumb together like its a bit. Its not actually any different to just using it for your first thing because youre not using your thumb. But theres something about gripping.
It together it makes it a little bit more solid. It gives it a little bit more volume again the things that you want to be aware of is just particularly for the up strum making. Sure that youre not cooking into the string.
So thatll just be experimenting with the angle of your first finger. You dont want it pointing kind of up into the strings. You want it like pointing directly in or or even a little bit kind of first finger pointing slightly toward the ground to avoid that kind of getting hooked up there so all of these things that are all a little bit different.
Theres not a right or a wrong you can use your thumb by itself you can use the thumb. And then a bit of the nail on the up strums or just the flesh of the thumb you can use just your first finger you can have it going up and down like that you can strum your whole hand and use the fleshy pad of the first finger you can hold your thumb and your first finger together. But theres even more options than that right so thats just a starting point another.
Really really common one is to use your thumb on the bass notes. So usually on beat. One and beat.
Three and then use your first finger for doing a little down and up strums. They have this one too and down up with the first finger thumb up down thumb down up. With the first finger thumb up down with the first finger 1 2.
3. One music for example. Theres lots of different plans that you could use.
But this is one theres thats infinite number of patterns that you can get into if you start exploring that as an option. But that again is a really really common kind of starting point. The idea of having the the base note with a nice round fleshy thumb sound.
And then that down strum with the first finger. Where youre using the the pick you know its called playing on the back feet. Which is the beat two and four when theyre accented a little bit this echo.
Its emulating. The snare drum from the drummer. So you there do ya do do gotta do two three and four one two so having that one its a really really nice little option something that again.
You dont have to you would likely pick a little harder on beats two and four. If you were playing with the pick. But if youre playing with your fingers.
You think about ways of dealing with that so youre using the thumb on the one and three and the fit that down hit with the first finger on beats. Two and four is quite a nice little option now last at the last thing. I want to talk about is the the mixing of all of that together and thats probably one of the things that i like most about playing with fingers as opposed to a pick is this being able to mix up the strumming part with a finger styling.
Part. You know one of my favorite guitar players in the world is neil young. And hes an expert at doing that the way he combines little melody elements within the strumming its kind of like strumming in finger style and you can get a bit percussive and all of that sort of stuff all at the same time.

how to strum a guitar without a pick-3
how to strum a guitar without a pick-3

And its did not for beginners. It i wouldnt recommend beginners go jump into trying to do this because its way more complicated. But just to give you a kind of a taste of whats going on the idea would be along the lines of what i was talking about before where youd have this bass note playing on beat 1.
And 3. Little strum music in between music. So you get into a kind of a bit.
Where you can kind of do finger style within the strumming and keep the strumming going at the same time thats the longer term goal. I think if youre going to pursue the finger stylee. You know finger strumming is to be able to incorporate those things if you feel you need to now more is not always better sometimes.
Its better just to keep the strumming real simple it depends on what the song needs not what you fancy doing okay. Thats a really important thing to realize is that you should be playing for the song not just for your you know to show off what techniques that youve got so it always kind of bear that in mind. Whats the song that youre playing how does it feel good is that a ballad is it a hot up tempo.
Thing. How should it feel whats the whats the best way to deliver a particular piece so to summarize for beginners. I would recommend if you dont want to use a pick for whatever reason you get into using your thumb.
The fleshy part of your thumb and just get into using a little bit of arm motion. A little bit of thumb try and get used to making sure that the thumb doesnt catch on anything so just that thinking about the angle. Just take it slowly and see if he can notice if somethings going wrong.
If it if youre getting a one of the strums is too loud or youre getting a bit of nail or its just poking out funny or for whatever reason. That doesnt feel right try. And become a an observer of yourself rather than trying to concentrate on getting it right try and watch yourself do it as an impartial observer.
Just out of curiosity. And then kind of try to make the mistake because then when you if youre watching like that as an observer and you do make the mistake. Youve got a good chance of figuring out what went wrong.
And if you can figure out whats gone wrong youve got a way of fixing it but remember that with this finger style thing. Theres not so many rules. I dont really get into this idea that theres one way to do it.
And thats the right way and this guy says that you should do this and another guy says you should do that i dont really think thats right for finger style. Ive seen a lot of different amazing artists and amazing musicians play all kinds of different ways. And i think thats a good thing to be able to explore and find your own way your own path on in the musical journey.
Because thats where youll find yourself and your most enjoyment and your expression. Now thats getting a bit arty farty for for beginners you just want to learn a strum right. So.
If you have that guy keep it simple. If youre a more advanced guitar player try exploring all of these different options try exploring different fingers different ways of doing it of course. Were not getting into the full on you know percussive finger style options because when we get into that theres like a hundred thousand different ways of doing it.
But this should give you kind of beginners. An intermediate guitar players at a taste of the different things that they might want to explore if they dont want to use a pick. I really hope you found this lesson.
Very helpful and if you did really appreciate you subscribing to my channel so hit that subscribe button remember theres lots of additional notes over on the website as well therell be a link in the description to go and check that out ill see if a funny more very soon you take care of yourselves thanks bye bye. .

how to strum a guitar without a pick-4
how to strum a guitar without a pick-4

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