How To Strum The Correct Strings

Strumming only the right chords can be tricky! Learn how to handle it.

View the full lesson at How To Strum The Correct Strings | JustinGuitar

Lol Justin, the video is called how to strum the correct strings and in it you just say “actually it’s not important to get it right now”
I mean, you’re a great dude and I appreciate the encouragement, but couldn’t you give at least a hint on how to do it? (((=

I’m finally getting somewhat comfortable with the fret hand on OMC’s, but one of the next modules was playing the correct strings. Justin spends a bit of time talking about how at the end of it all it’s very important to play the correct strings (while saying it’s not THAT important while learning), but he doesn’t mention any techniques on HOW to actually play the right ones. Does anyone have any tips for a complete beginner?

@Dean1974 when learning your chords you should pluck the
lowest note in the chord then strum the chord. The D chord the
lowest note is the D string.
The A chord lowest note is the A string
The E chord lowest noteis the E string.
This will help with accuracy

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Stitch’s suggestion is really best there is to offer. You can try to play songs in the future that use this sort of pattern where you start with the root note of the chord on a low side and arpeggiate remaining strings, good example is House of the Rising House however it contains the dreaded F chord. You sort of hit the bass string of the chord with the root, hit very quickly remaining strings, something in between arpeggiating and strumming, and then string by string arpeggiating up 3 strings in normal fashion.

You can also play songs like Everybody hurst by REM with a pick where you just hit one string after another, that way your pick accuracy becomes better which will help in the future with strumming only chords strings. All the best and good luck :slight_smile:

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so there really isn’t a technique other than repetition

im nowhere near ready to start anything even remotely in the realm of fingerstyle. I can barely get one hand in the right place right now lol. it doesn’t help that I’ve had multiple broken fingers and some nerve damage in my right hand. it’s a struggle but I refuse to give up

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Justin always repeats in his lessons during Grade 1 - don’t beat yourself up if you hit a wrong string while playing a chord, it’s too early to be overly obsessed with it. Do what you can, be aware of it but the more things you learn the better you will be at it, I play for a while and I still hit sometimes a wrong string. No biggie especially for a beginner :v:

I honestly think that one of my biggest problems is that I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist in everything that I do

Well perfection only comes after a lot of mistake and practice.
Nobody is perfect the first time. So relax and enjoy the journey


Repetition and playing lots makes a huge difference. Initially as others have said, concentrate on the fingering and aiming for the correct root note.

Eventually you will become more aware of your fingers, now I’m aware of whether my fingers are muting strings correctly etc. But it takes time.

Yes, it’s indeed futile to bash yourself on this. Just repeat the strums as explained in the lesson, however slow you may need be to get them right. There’s no need to hurry - after all, you’re not a pro session player who is expected to record a new song in 1 or 2 takes.

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Do this slowly and methodically, do not rush. Your brain will start to say, when my left hand is fretting this shape, E, A or D etc my right hand needs to pick this string and go to the right bass string automatically. Both hands and your head need to learn all this but with patient slow practice, you will get it to the point you are no longer thinking about it. :sunglasses:

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So you do NOT simply strum the chord starting at the lowest note? It is a two part thing sort of: pluck one string and then strum the other strings in the chord?

To practice your accuracy this is the best exercise.
It is also a common strumming technique.

Hello @gialam and welcome to the Community.

The text also states:

The time to focus on hitting the right strings is when you’re working on your Chord Perfect Exercise … It’ll all come together with time and practice, so there’s no need to worry about it right now.

Hope that helps.
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide

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For stand alone practice of fretting, playing and hearing a chord this is a reasonable way of doing it.
At this stage, for strumming, for chord changes, for playing along with songs, do not do this. Your first and most important priority at this stage for when you are using the chord is to get your fretting hand into shape on the strings in time for the first beat / count of 1.
Quite a lot further down the line you will learn a technique of playing when beat 1 is a plucked note rather than a strum. Do not go there this early in your learning. Just keep it to strums, trying to be aware of the correct strings but not getting anxious if you make small mistakes and definitely not stopping mid-song if you hit too many strings.
Hope that helps.

Cheers :smiley:

| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide

Can’t manage to miss the 2 E & A strings on D or Dm chords; that drives me nuts.

So I saw a video from a guitar player who said anyway it’s impossible to miss the strings when strumming and that it’s easier to muffle the strings with the Thumb or Any finger from an adjacent string.

What do you think?


It is possible, it just takes slow practice. You are unlikely to be perfect 100% of the time, and the odd accidental downstrum of the open A is to be expected. Upstrums regardless of the chord should nearly always be the top few strings anyway.

Muting the low E with your thumb is a desireable skill to have but not taught at this stage. That will follow later.

Good luck

Slow and deliberate practice helps teach your strumming hand to just hit the 4 strings on D. As to the video, sorry it is possible but depends how you are strumming. To me there is some way the brain connects holding a chord on the 4 thinner strings and only hitting them. But its all about building muscle memory and that takes practice and time. Hitting the A playing D is ok as a chord tone, so works, The E = Mewh, avoid.