Are you struggling with your strumming hand and chord changes? Welcome to the club, you are not alone. Let me give you a tip on how to improve chord changes and improve your guitar strumming skills.
My advice is: stop looking at your strumming hand. It is as simple as that. If you are a beginner guitarist you may be tempted to constantly rotate your attention between the strumming hand and fretting hand. This is normal. I need to clarify that this advice applies to complete beginner guitarists or people who are very fresh with learning the guitar. It could be you studying with a local guitar teacher or doing online guitar lessons. At some same stage in your guitar development, it will be crucial to watch your strumming / picking hand, because it will become a weak link. But for now, focus on the fretting hand.
Here is a typical scenario, you look at your fretting hand trying to find the chord, once you have got it you switch your attention and look at your picking hand, then you are ready and start strumming. After you have finished the sequence you look again at your fretting hand, you try to find another guitar chord and you repeat the cycle.
By switching attention from one hand to the next, you lose a lot of time. The gaps between the chord changes and strumming get bigger – simply because every time you switch attention it takes some time to assess the situation. As a result, your strumming and song that you want to play will sound inconsistent.
For some reason you may feel like it is necessary to watch your strumming hand but maybe it is not. The guitar strumming you are performing are usually just simple repetitions of the same movement (a sequence of up and down strokes), so there is no need to constantly check what your strumming hand is doing.
You might be afraid that you will not hit the strings properly, or you will miss the strings. Don’t worry, guitar playing is always full of inconsistency, sometimes we may strum harder, sometimes we may miss some of the strings, this is what makes our guitar playing alive and dynamic.
You can always practice your strumming technique in isolation – without any chords at all, just by strumming empty guitar strings. That way it will prepare you to strum in a more relaxed way. But once you are integrating it with the chords and chord changes – force your full attention on your strumming hand.
So remember try not to look at your strumming hand. At least test if it works, let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.