Supercharge your strumming skills
Make your strumming feel easy and natural (and sound great)
The advice sounds simple: “Just play what you feel!”
Unfortunately, the way my gut told me to strum a guitar felt really, really awkward.
And judging from the slightly horrified look on my teacher’s face, it must’ve looked awkward too. (It was 2003 though, so he might’ve been thinking about how disappointing The Matrix 2 and 3 were.)
Long story short: for me correct strumming technique did not come naturally. And after teaching guitar for over a decade, I know that’s true almost everyone.
But I totally understand why experienced players say ‘play what you feel’ or ‘don’t overthink it!’
Once you get your basic technique right, strumming should feel easy, automatic and effortless.
The question is: how do you get there?
I created this course to answer that question. It will help you:
1. Understand how to strum a guitar and to get the proper technique in your system. You’ll build your strumming technique from the ground up, using over 40 songs to put in the focused practice that will make strumming feel natural and easy.
2. Tap into your innate sense of rhythm. If you're thinking of a strum rhythm as a series of up and downstrums, it will sound mechanic and robotic. But if you think of it as a rhythm that you can nod your head or tap your foot to, it will sound more natural and simply better. So I've set up the course to connect to your 'inner' rhythm skills.
3. You'll also learn the theory you need to know how rhythm works, and learn to recognize strum patterns by ear, so you can just listen to a song and play it by ear.
How does the course work?
For this course, I chose a bunch of different formats to help you learn. Here’s a quick overview.
Animated Explainer Videos
To learn the (little) theory you need to know, I’ve made a couple of simple animated explainer videos for you. I believe effective courses should be 10% explanation and 90% practice though, so really this is only a small part of the course.
One Chord Songs
It’s hard to focus on more than one thing at a time. (Perhaps even impossible.) So I’ve created a dozen or so songs that use just one chord. This allows you to focus completely on your strumming hand while you learn new techniques and practice new rhythms. If you ever lose track of the rhythm, the arrows on screen will pop up to show you what you need to do.
Practicing with real music is so, so important. That’s why the course includes exactly 30 songs from a range of different artists. Practicing with these songs will help you cement everything you’ve learned and help you understand how strumming works in the real world of music. I’ve done two things to make this as easy as possible.
Thing 1: You can play each song with beginner guitar chords (i.e. open guitar chords) if you have a capo. There’s a toggle that allows you to switch between a capo and non-capo version of each chord progression.
Thing 2: As you play each video, the chord scheme ‘listens’ to the music and will highlight the chord you need to play.
Songs + Ear Exercises
Two of the six sections in the course are all about learning to listen to a song and figuring out the strum rhythm by ear. This might be tricky at first, but we’ll build it up slowly. I’ll help you with each song with an interactive tool I built for this course. (If you’ve taken my other ear training courses you’ll get the idea). It will check your answer and tell you if you got it right.
Either get just this course or get the All Access Pass, which includes all courses on StringKick!
As always, I want to make 100% sure you're happy, so if you change your mind later for literally any reason (Decided to become a DJ instead / Guitar was stolen by mole people), you'll get a full refund within 30 days.
Section 1: Strumming Foundation
Strumming starts with a solid foundation. After learning how you can think of rhythm as a heartbeat, we’ll get right to practicing strumming along with three songs. The first is only on one chord, so you can focus completely on your strumming hand. You’ll then learn why you should never stop moving your strumming hand. Ever. (Seriously.) Next, we’ll take a closer look at strumming technique, some important rhythmic theory and see all of this in action in a couple of songs. We’ll end with a song that serves as both a technical as well as an ear training exercise.
Section 2: The Grid
You might’ve wondered about this before. When should you strum up and when should you strum down? In this section you’ll learn about what I call ‘the strumming grid’, which is the absolute easiest and simplest way to understand the logic behind strumming. With that in mind, you’ll learn three new strumming rhythms and test-drive them in eight songs.
Section 3: Play it by Ear
After completing the first two section, you’ll have learned five different strumming rhyhtms. In this section, you’ll learn to recognise these strumming rhythms by ear. I’ll first explain how to do this and then you’ll get right to practicing with an interactive tool I built for this course.
Section 4: Skipping Downstrums
In this section, you’ll learn the most popular strumming rhythm there is. Once you learn it, you’ll start to recognize it everywhere. It comes with a tricky technical hurdle you need to jump: you need to ‘skip a downstrum’. If that sounds vague, don’t worry. You’ll understand by the time you get here and we’ll make sure you know exactly how to do this.
Section 5: Shuffle and Swing
You’ve heard thousands and thousands of songs with a so-called ‘swing feel’. Songs have been written about how great swing is. (“It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing.”) But what exactly is swing? And how do you play a song with a swing feel? This section will answer these questions. Of course, you’ll also practice playing with a swing feel with a bunch of songs.
Section 6: Mixing it up
First of all, this section recognizes how awesome you are for making it all the way here! Once the festivities have ended, we’ll test-drive all the skills you’ve picked up so far. You’ll figure out the strumming rhythm of 10 songs by ear, again using the special interactive tool I built for you. The songs will slowly become faster and more challenging. But I know you can do it!