Do you suffer too from strumming hand stress when changing chords

Hello all guitar voodoos

I noticed that when strumming at reasonbable pace (80 bmp) , i suffer from strumming hand stress. (lol)

What is it :
When I see a hard chord change coming next ( Example from Big G to C ), i’m kind of anxious that i’m going to screw it up - again ( though my life dont depends on it :slight_smile: ), so my strumming hand hit the new chord 1st beat harder, or not all the strings, or with a bad mediator position that bangs the strings, or any kind of "strumming accident " - though I keep the pace.

Is that something you are experiencing too ? :slight_smile:

Boomer 61 started 12-2020 beginer Grade 2

Yeah, I think this kind of thing is perfectly normal. I still get this quite often when an F chord involving a fast or difficult change comes along. Silly thing is that if my mind is elsewhere then all goes well, but the very fact I’m thinking about it and determined to get it “right” is what causes the tension resulting in buggering it up. :roll_eyes:

Assuming you know the chord well and have practiced the change frequently, it seems the trick is to just try not to think about it when it crops up in a song. Just let it happen on it’s own. Easier said than done though, of course. If anyone has any tips on distracting yourself, I’m all ears!

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Seems weird but if you just relax, you’re more likely to get it right.

I don’t get strumming hand stress… but if I’m focusing on a chord change, DON’T STUFF IT UP - I inevitably stuff it up. Seems the worry causes tension which causes more mistakes.

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My take is that it is very hard, if not impossible, for our brains to actually do two things at once. We can change gears quickly, but playing guitar requires (often) two of more things to be happening at the same time.

That is why we have to practice things so much that it takes the thinking brain out of it.

So, practice the strumming more, lots more, with muted strings or holding one cord only. Once the strumming pattern is better ingrained, you can strum away and use your brain for the cords.

Eventually, all these things, I hope, come together as the movements can happen with feel and intent rather than conscious thought.


With my exceedingly limited knowledge of the brain, I think this instructions NOT to do something often have the opposite effect. Brain seems latch on to the main point, skip the NOT and it then does what it heard ie stuffs it up.

Perhaps try a different message to self when you see a chord change coming up, something like YOU GOT THIS

Or in my case KEEP IT GOING cause I used to tell myself not to stuff it up towards the end of a clean take and sure as nuts, the stuff up followed shortly thereafter.

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Or “Hmm, what’s for dinner tonight?”. :wink: I also find that reading the lyrics (I can’t yet sing and play) can help not to focus too much on that upcoming chord change, so it just flows.

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Haha yes. I play golf and the negative thoughts are what you end up doing. The brain and then the muscles latch onto the Don’t bit.
Don’t slice at this hole as it’s out of bounds on the right. What happens? A slice.
Don’t under-hit this shot or you’ll end up in the hazard. What happens? Yes you’ve got the picture.


Thanks, love it.
I’ll try to strum with a golf club in a club then :slight_smile:

you 're absolutely right i need to fight off my anxiety of “watch out don’t screw up”.

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Ah but you can also concentrate of the positives when playing. A tree is only 80% air, as the ball finds some of the 20% wood and rebounds 50 yards behind you or pings OOB. :rofl:

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@TheMadman_tobyjenner Don’t forget to ease the tension… relax… go to your happy place