Up strumming

I am in the consolidation phase of grade 1. I am getting super comfortable with old faithful and can even change chords while playing it (never thought it would happen! Thanks Justin!). The problem is that it sounds harsh on the 2 upstrums. I am also doing the strumming courses and I’m getting smoother with adjustment of the pick angle but I noticed that I am gliding over the strings on the down strum but getting really low as compared to the pick ups or the fret board on the up strum. I have actually hit the fretboard and the pic ups on the ups. I hope this makes sense lol :joy:. Any advice? Thanks.

play it slow.

either hold the pick looser or angle your wrist so the pick points downwards along the strings so its dragged up over them not through them

If I go slow I see the angle is good, I’m not hitting the strings flat with the pick but just way to low. I have probably been doing this for weeks and just now noticed it. Thanks.

Hello Richard,

Try moving your hand on a bit more of an arc on the downstrum, so it moves away from the guitar on passing the high e string.
I’d liken it to a plane landing, then taking off. Some liken to to flicking water off your hands. You can make it a bit exaggerated at first to get the motion down, and it’ll settle down as the motion becomes more natural. Its more of a subtle arc. Also, you dont really have to hit alot of strings on the upstrum.
The other benefit down the track is you can more easily train yourself to miss the lower strings on chords that require it.

Cheers, Shane


I get the flicking motion on the down strum, it’s hitting the high E string on the way back up. It sounds and feels like it’s catching even though I’m at the angle with the pick that is not flat against the string. Thanks and I hope that makes sense.

Hi Richard, what size pick are you using? Whilst you’re still working on technique might it be worth going a little thinner as you hone yourself?

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0.38, 0.46, 0.50 and occasionally a 0.60 Dunlop and Cats Tongue. Thanks.

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Richard, check the angle of the guitar body. It is common for folk to angle the top of the body towards themselves to enable them to see the neck and their fingers. This can cause some problems at the bottom end of the strumming arc,

Also check how your hand moves when strumming, the pick angle needs to change for the up strum to also glide over the strings as you do for the down strum. It is a slight rotation of the wrist to achieve that.


Lots of good advice already.

I had similar issues. I try to think of being as light as possible on the up strum, almost missing the strings completely. See how light an up strum you can get, just barely touching the strings with your pick.

Also, I only aim for strings 1 and 2 or 1, 2 and 3 on the up strum.

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I do tend to angle the guitar to help see my hands even though I can now play open chords without having to look but I still angle it towards me but that’s now mostly due to my beer :beer: gut lol :joy:.

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