Guitar strumming is really confusing for me :(?

I have ZERO idea how the “nail hits both the UP (like how in the world on the UP) and down strums”??? Wouldn’t it be FLESHY on the up strums??????????

This is what I’m being told:

If you’re after that brighter sound you typically get with a pick, but you still don’t want to use one, you can put your thumb and 1st finger together as if you’re holding a pick between them. When you strum this way, your nail hits both the up and down strums, mimicking the sound of the pick. You’d also strum from the elbow, just as you would if you were actually holding a pick. This is a great option to use in a pinch, too, say if you accidentally drop your pick mid-song, which definitely happens from time to time!

5 Answers

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  • 1 month ago

    You can also use just your thumb, I know a lot of professional pickers that do  this and it sounds alright, it's just a matter of getting used to it !

    I also have seen some musicians that use all four fingers together to strum up or down, it's just a matter of getting used to it !

    I myself use a pick, but have dropped my pick before, and I had to learn to pick with just my index finger, up and down! it's just a matter of getting used to it !

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Time for you to get lessons with a professional guitar teacher. Also, I highly recommend that you learn to use a pick. 

    Source(s): Playing guitar for 58 years
  • 1 month ago

    As TonyB described..... if you hold your thumb and index finger "as if*  you were holding a pick, your FINGER-nail will brush the strings on the down-strum and your THUMB-nail will strike them on the up-strum. This is one of the common methods of strumming ukulele (rather than guitar), so you may find some good examples if you explore uke sites.

    The part I disagree with is  strumming from the elbow.  Who is giving you this advice? Most of the up and down movement should be in your wrist. Your forearm will rotate a little to accommodate the wrist movement, but there should be little or no up and down movement from the elbow.  That would be a waste of energy and make it hard form a point of reference for your hand with regard to the strings.  Most guitarists like to develop some sort of "anchor" for their picking hand. Some place their pinky on the pick-guard. Others lightly rest the heel of their hand on the bridge.  Having a point of reference makes it easier to accurately pick individual strings.  Obviously, strumming from the elbow would prevent you from using these anchors.

    Unless you're learning on a nylon stringed guitar, I strongly recommend you get used to playing both with and without a pick. There is a time and place for both.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Go take some lessons with a live teacher. Also try using a guitar pick.

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  • 1 month ago

    The nail would strike the strings on both up and down strokes unless your thumb is on the wrong way around.

    It sounds like you're strumming with only your finger. You need to have your finger and thumb as if you were holding a pick. Your finger nail strikes the string going down and your thumb nail strikes the strings coming up.

    Added, I've just read Tommymc’s answer - I missed the part in your question that mentioned strumming from the elbow. I agree with what Tommy said, the strumming action comes mainly from the wrist, not the elbow.

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