Strumming sounds clunky

Who else dislikes listening to themselves back ? My strumming always sounds clunky. I’ve tried everything but still sounds the same.

What do you mean by clunky? Is your timekeeping not good enough, or is your pick too loud when touching the strings? If the latter, try to experiment with the microphone placement and see how it picks up the least amount of “extra” sounds.


Post a link to a few mins Strumming, it’ll give people some idea of any possible problems and or solutions



It sounds ok until I listen to it back. Not done much on timing.

I found this as well, and after trying different picks, I found that I needed a more flexible pick. I now use a Dunlop .60 nylon. I nolonger have to hold it so tight and the sounds are better for me. This pick might not work for you, but worth trying different picks. Our local guitar shop has a box of free picks where you can try different ones

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This shouts for a …

Greetings, Rogier


It depends on where I’m at for learning whatever tune.
I for sure listen back to myself after recording.
If ‘I’ don’t like what I’ve done, I figure no one else will either.
If ‘I’ do like to listen back to what I’ve done. Perhaps others will too. But I decide if I like to listen back to whatever tune I’ve done.
Generally, whatever I post up here, I like to listen to and will even go back to listen to myself for my own enjoyment.
This is barring when I post up for feedback as to how I may play something better or change how I’m playing but I don’t know what to change. Other might have a clue as to my deficiencies.
Perhaps, post up your playing. Someone may have some feedback for you.

To me, that’s the right idea. Listen back to see if it does sound ok. Especially to you. If you don’t like you, you likely have work to do. This can take much time for improvement too. At least for me it can.

As for timing.
imho, work on that. I for sure have to work on that. I use a metronome or a click track from a DAW if I’m recording. Playing in time is most important.
Especially if you want to play with others. Then it’s paramount. But even for playing by yourself, which is mostly what I do, It’s still important. I can hear out of time, others can too. Granted, there are some songs that do change timing, but generally, I feel I need to learn to be in time. It’s most important.

As for the clunky. Perhaps change picks, go with no pick, finger pick. Or. Practice some of the links others have posted.
imho, strumming is a learned skill. How it sounds, how it feels, how to change picking for different tones.
Try playing the strings at different points along the string. Where you pick will change tone, change feel, change ‘how’ you pick or pluck wherever on the string.

Good luck George.
Practice, practice, practice. In time, much time. We all get better.
Listening back to you may give you ideas on where you think you may need improvement. Then, work on that part you don’t like.

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How long have you been at it? I think it took me 2 years to feel that I strum reasonably well.

Pull up a metronome, mute the strings, and strum, strum, strum!

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I’ve been playing on and off for 2 years and can play many chords but guess I’ve neglected my strumming and have never used a metronome

Have used a few picks and at the moment using a very thin one but still sounds clunky

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Thanks for that. I’m going to try a variety of picks and definitely spend many hours using a metronome.

Hi thanks for the info. A metronome is the way forward I think along with a variety of different picks.

Thankyou I will do that excellent idea.

Will take a look at this thanks

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I resemble that as well. I am not a metronome lover, but I am learning it’s value.

In order to keep consistent time and rhythm we need to start slowly, start simply and have a rhythm reference to learn from. The metronome is a very straightforward way to do this, however dull. It is probably good to get the basics with it before moving to less dull timing aids like drum tracks and backing tracks.

I felt as you do and went back to look at Justin’s metronome videos and his strumming SOS course. Very helpful and I can’t overstate its importance even if in many ways it seems remedial.

I have also been reluctant to put my songs to a metronome, but I am unlearning that bad hint and using it more and more. Without a reference, it is easy to get lost.

Start the metronome slow, don’t try to do anything with your fretting hand for a while, start with all down strums and make them on time and smooth. Be attentive to tension, how you hold your pick (or fingers, I am not a pick user), how far do you swing your arm, is it nice and even? I also took the metronome and increased the speed to time both up and down strums, I found that helpful. Feel how hard you struck the strings and experiment with dynamics. First get to a place where you can be smooth and consistent, then work on other aspects like more complex strumming patterns, dynamics and unusual timing.