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Fretting hand okay(ish) what about the other hand?

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Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 225
Topic starter  

When I bought my first guitar the guy in the store said "everyone (new players) thinks guitar is in the fretting hand, its not, its in the strumming/picking hand". Lately this has become frighteningly clear to me.

The number of songs I have looked at where I think I can pretty much do the chords but can't get anywere near the strumming/picking. Jack Johnsons Sitting, Wishing, Waiting is a good example.

Anyway, this short video* highlights what I mean:

Thats just G, C & D chords.

So much to learn, so little free time!


*I get these guitar minute things emailed to me, but here's the list if anyone is interested: - Sticky fingers - Warm up exercise - Buying the right guitar for you - Practise without your guitar - Simple lead guitar riffs - Picking exercise - Inspiration - Have an audience - Creating and using dynamics - Rhythm - Choosing a pick - Making G, C & D interesting - How to learn lots of songs - How to play a 4 chord beach groove - Two hand tapping - Counting triplets - Jamming with other guitarists - Basics

Dan T.
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5044

Yep, it's all about the rhythm Rich! :wink: I only watched the 1st vid so far, but looks like he's giving some good info there. Just keep practicing. Pick some easy songs that you know all the chords too, but that have different rhythm "feels" to them, and then practice playing along to them. You'll start getting the feel of the rhythm. Listen to what the bass & drums are doing too. Helps get in the groove. Good luck. 8)


"The only way I know that guarantees no mistakes is not to play and that's simply not an option". David Hodge

Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1024

Wow.. what a resource.

That's why those "exercises" are so important. One set is designed to get the Fret(left) hand in shape, the other the Picking (Right) hand in shape. Then both hands together.

No your not learning "Music" per-se when doing them and they do get boring really quick after a few weeks, but at the end of the day, they all help out. More than most beginners tend to think.

The guy in the store is right.. especially with Electric Guitar. Its about controlling the "Noise". I've learned most of that 'control' comes from the picking hand. (Picking hard/soft, Palm muting...etc).

Keep doing the drills... it'll come. :)

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. - Wernher Von Braun (1912-1977)

Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 557

Hi rich

first of all don't be discouraged: we've all passed your same trouble at the beginning. I had needed almost a full year of directionless playing before I started to have a grasp on rhythms and this happened whne I finally decided to get an istructional book with cd. My advice is simple: since rhythm is everything, devote most of your guitar time to learn rhythms until you build a solid foundation on them. There are quite a tools you could use but my suggestion is to get a tutorial cd with some strummin patterns and learn them playing along the cd. After a while try to apply those patterns to some songs you know and, very important, when you listen to a song, even causally on radio, try to guess which pattern could be suitable to play it. For several months, I decided to play all the songs whose rhythm I had been able to recognize (well, not all of them :-) )! As you progress you can learn more complex rhythms and start use mteronomes to boost your rhythmic abilities.

I can tell you that after a year or so of doing those excercises, now I can play most of of the rhythms I listen to and if I still cannnot play them (i.e. metal galloping rhyhthms at 200 bpm), at least i can recognize them.