Strumming 5

Animated Strumming 5 tab by ActionTab on guitar. So easy you'll be playing in minutes.

This exercise is from the Core Skills section on Strumming.

You may remember from our core skills exercises on picking (lesson 13) that you can 'vary' a chord just by adding or removing just one note (remember that each open string and each fret is an individual note). Rather than repeat ourselves, or get into chord theory, let's just learn how to strum through a couple of popular chord variations in this exercise and the next.

The aim of this exercise is to be able to keep a regular strumming rhythm with one hand, whilst you vary a chord with your other hand on the fretboard. Learning to co-ordinate your hands together is often the hardest thing for many guitarists, so exercises like this will help you a great deal.

Adding and subtracting notes to a chord whilst strumming is very common. It isn't the same thing as switching to a completely different chord because all you are doing is slightly changing the flavour of the current chord you are playing.

Look at the fretboard hand in the ActionTab. Here we mostly strum a C major chord, but, for some of the strums remove a finger from the fretboard to play a C major 7th chord, before adding it again to return to the C major chord.

Notice in the ActionTab that although the chords sound similar, there is still a pleasant difference between the two. All you need to do is add and remove your first finger from the 1st fret on the B string to do this - but remember to keep strumming! You can see and hear in the ActionTab when the chord variations occur. The red dot disappears and the open B string dot appears in its place when you are to remove your first finger from the fretboard.

Notice that you will not be playing the Low E string at all in this exercise. Use the "Light Strings" option in the Settings menu to help you see which strings are being strummed. If you wish to mute out the Low E using your thumb (like we saw in the previous exercise), feel free to do so. But this may be too tricky just yet. Curling the thumb over the top can cause your fingers to come too shallow onto the strings, causing fret unwanted buzz and muted notes.

Listen to the ActionTab a few times to get a feel for the music. Remember that familiarity helps your musical ear develop over time. Once you are confident you know the music, have a practice at it. If you have problems remember that a good thing to do is concentrate on your fretboard hand first - don't strum anything, just get your fretboard fingers to move along in time with the dots / music in the ActionTab. Once you can do this, then start working on strumming with your other hand. Practice is all about building up skill slowly. It is more important to get things right at a slow pace and then build up speed than practice too fast with mistakes.

There are variations of all chords. Each variation gives a different feel or flavour. You can learn more about this in our Theory section. When you get confident and regular with this (and can have a reasonable go at the Normal Speed audio pace), then move on to the next exercise...

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