Feel Good Strumming

When playing music, the technical side is often less important than the way it makes people feel. Learn to get into the vibe!

View the full lesson at Feel Good Strumming | JustinGuitar

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I listened to David Grohl’s audiobook and I remember him talking about faking it until you make it.

wise words right there. And Justin is right. Music can be felt. Thus play so they feel what u feel.

I thought about strumming in the same way I learned juggling - one day you move from left brain to right brain and you just can. Keep the faith one day it just moves across. You almost have to stop thinking and start feeling.


Hello @Cogstar and welcome to the community.
Stop thinking and start feeling. Yeah, I can see how that mental approach can break through the strumming barrier.
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide

That is beautifully put and totally applicable in all manners of playing music :metal:

Hello Paul,
Welcome to the community.

Your observation is not just a good tip, it is the ULTIMATE tip for playing the guitar.

I remembered Stevie Ray Vaughan (still my favorite guitarist) talking about that on his first major album Texas Flood (Bonus Track 11 on the CD release) and I listened again to make sure. To paraphrase he said when he focuses on where his fingers are on the neck and what he is doing he gets in trouble, but when he plays from the heart and not from the head and lets the music come out he is OK {or what the average guitarist would consider insanely great)…

Like you said, if you practice enough, at some point it becomes automatic. I think thats part of what Justin means when he says practice makes permanent. Once the music becomes permanently ingrained it can be automatic and can flow from your heart to your fingers. That is something that can happen at each level of playing the guitar.


Have played guitar for a long time and sometimes we forgot about such a simple yet fundamental thing.

I was just starting to feel more relaxed after four months on my electric guitar, and have just bought an acoustic. Ack! I feel so awkward strumming it because I’m not used to the instrument. The acoustic has thicker bronze strings than my electric (steel strings) and plays differently of course. Plus there’s the whole thing of either using a pick or strumming with your thumb and fingers. I’m trying both, but using my hands the volume seems so low. Using a pick sounds loud and brash. So I’m working on strumming more softly with a pick. It’s back to square one and practice practice practice. I’ll get it.

I still get that feeling after a few years of playing! Mine’s a dreadnought and I think it’s always going to be loud when played in a small room.

Thinner strings help I feel (I have 10 guage on my acoustic). A thinner pick is a must initially. I use an orange Jim Dunlop nylon RIFFS 0.6mm.

Thanks for your feedback.
I’m using a .6mm grey Dunlop pick and sometimes a .46mm. Using Justin’s video again on Strumming Mechanics, the angling of the pick at a 20 to 30 degree angle is helpful but I’m still getting caught in the strings at times.
I watched another video on YouTube by Relax and Learn Guitar on Strumming Softly. He recommends angling the wrist motion so the pick glides over the strings at a 45 degree angle one way on the downstrums and turning the wrist to 45 degrees in the opposite direction for the upstrums. This makes sense but I’m having a hard time actually putting it into practice, so I’m back to Justin’s advice of angling the pick for now. The YouTube guy’s suggestion makes sense but I think it would take me a long time to adapt to it. I might try to get used to it over the long run.
My guitar came with 12 gauge strings and I was thinking of switching down to 11s when I start learning the barred F chord. Your reply is the first I’ve heard of using 10s. Obviously it would be easier on the fretting hand. How’s that working out for you on your acoustic? How does it affect the sound and feel as opposed to heavier strings?

I watched that vid too and it didn’t work for me either.

The 10s work well. They are D’Addario EJ15 phosphor bronze. They don’t have as much ‘presence’ as the thicker strings. In fact, they sounded odd at first, but the sound quickly becomes the new normal. And on my dread they are still very loud. Give them a try. It’s a cheap experiment.

Thanks Chris! Good to know that strumming method didn’t work for you either, I thought maybe I just wasn’t giving it enough of a chance. With the strings I will probably go down to lighter 11s if you’ve found the 10s have a different ‘presence’, although I might try out the D’Addario’s. Thanks for the recommendation. Best regards to you.

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Wow, that’s an important topic and a stellar lesson. :smiley:

This course really is the most comprehensive one I could ever wish for.
It covers each and every aspect, not just skills and techniques (which are indispensable, of course), but feelings and emotions as well.
I had to try this relaxing- and feel-good-approach instantly. It took a while, but then it worked - and it was a great experience :blush:
From now on I’m going to add some happy thoughts and a lot more heart and soul to my practice routine. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


The perfect mug for this lesson has just arrived today :smiley:

I love it! :heart_eyes: