Terrible Aim When Strumming

Hey all!

I’m about 100 days into my guitar journey. This isy first attempt at anything music or instrument related. I truly am starting from scratch! :grinning:

One thing that is becoming extremely frustrating is strumming evenly. It’s like I can’t move my arm in a straight line. I find myself either grazing the strings, or digging in, or plain missing all together when strumming. I can get a decent feel on the rhythm, but my aim is horrendous!

Does anyone have any tips or exercise to help my strumming become more consistent? Would taking a step back and slowing it down help? At this point I’m hesitant to move on to the next lesson.



you are probably trying too hard!

ignore the fretboard. anchor your elbow on the upper corner of the guitar and just gently wave your hand up and down over the strings , dont go too far past either side

hold the pick gently

then slowly move your hand closer to the strings until you are making light contact

people seem to think strumming should be easy and its all down to the other hand, it isnt, its a skill you need to work on hard

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Hi Chris , @Cbourret
Welcome here and there is a perfect cure for your problems…
Many lessons can be found here on the website,do the course from the beginning and you will come across them automatically…and if you want a flying start right away, check this out…I’ve heard that this is inimitable on the net…


I wish you a lot of fun :sunglasses:

Clean and mean strumming machine :smiley:


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In addition to suggestions made above I’d also recommend starting with a very thin pick, something like a Dunlop Tortex , 0.5mm.
You’ll find it a lot easier to strum without digging in.:slightly_smiling_face:

Even better than a thin Tortex pick is a thin nylon pick. Nylon is much more flexible.

I know what ou mean but, 100 days in nothing so stop being so crucial. Strumming accuracy will come in time but, you do need to let that time actually pass lol.

I do quite a bit of strumming and even after 7 months the accuracy of strumming D is either not enough strings or more than needed lol.

Give yourself a break, all will come in the end. :slight_smile:

I think your idea of slowing down is useful.

Concentrate on strumming only, no left hand action, mute strings if needed.

Use a metronome or the new strumming gizmo on the website.

Strum very slowly and evenly, hear each string ring out one at a time and try to make them sound even.

Be gentle and measured.

Speed up slowly.

Practice strumming motions with the right arm and a metronome even when you aren’t with the guitar. Walk down the street listening to the metronome on your earbuds and strum away without a care what other think.

Hi Chris,

I had the same trouble you describe in the first several months. This is one of those things that just worked one day and has been generally fine since. Unless your accuracy is extremely horrible, don’t let it stop you from moving on.

Some comments on the suggestions above that I found useful:

  • Just practice
    • I hate saying that, but it is the best thing to do!
    • Try just keeping time strumming to a song you like with strings muted using the fretting hand. this lets your mind concentrate on just the strumming and not chord changes too.
  • Hold the pick gently
    • When you strum, you should be holding the pick at an angle to let it glide without catching. This means that you will need to be rotating your wrist a bit to transition between down and up strums. Right now your pick is probably rotating in your hand which is a good indication you need to get the angle better as well as the height. Once you get that right, then you can lighten up on the grip and things will work much smoother.
  • Flexible pick
    • Justin initially suggests a super flexible pick so your strums won’t dig so deep while you get the motion figured out. These are nylon about 0.35mm and I think they sound bad, but worth using until you get the control. Slowly graduate to a stiffer pick. I recommend buying a sampler pack. I used the Dunlop Acoustic Variety Pack to get this assortment. This is a great starter set no matter electric or acoustic.
  • String accuracy will come. I am no expert there as I am still hitting the wrong strings 2 years after starting with the same lack of experience you mentioned. Justin will have lessons on string muting later. I need to use the muting method when aiming at the A or D strings.

I choose different picks now depending on what I am doing. It is possible to strum with a 2mm brittle-hard pick, but it isn’t comfortable. I can pick individual notes with an orange Tortex 0.6mm, but the notes are not as distinct.

I hope some folks will comment on their strumming course experience. You may be able to search a bit and get a feel if that is right for you.


Hi Chris. Are you following Justin’s beginner course? The reason I ask is that everything you need is in there if you follow it methodically.