There are a number of different ways how to strum a guitar. In the guitar video tutorial below I will demonstrate three different approaches. There are certainly even a few more alternatives to what we discuss here today, but in general I guess it’s fair to say that we cover the most commonly used ones. Also, the purpose of this article and the video clip is not to go into too much technical sophistication. A stickler might argue that depended on the chord you want to play, you will need to adjust your strumming, because you may not be supposed to strum across all strings. That is absolutely correct, but then again, if somebody asks me how to strum a guitar, I will assume he is not necessarily interested in me giving him detailed instructions as to what strings to play for each chord.
In my Beginners Guitar Course I insist that my students learn to strum their guitar with their thumb first, before they pick up a plectrum. I want them to get a feel for the strings. Also, later on, as we look into finger-picking, this comes in handy because the thumb plays a very important role when you use that technique.
Using your fingertips and fingernails is yet another popular way to hit the strings. You’ll get a completely different sound in comparison to using your thumb. I personally don’t really like that technique, but I know many guitarists you are masters in playing that way. You will have to find out for yourself if it works for you and if you like that type of sound.
Lastly, there is the good old plectrum or guitar pick. In a first step you need to learn how to hold a guitar pick. Once you got that covered, you can look into the different guitar strumming methods. For starters I would focus on regular downstrokes as demonstrated in the video. As you hit across the strings in a downward motion, make sure that the tip of the pick points upwards. And vice versa. It’s important that you keep your wrist relaxed at all times, otherwise it starts to hurt or your arm just gets tired. It will take a little while to get used to it, but try to get in a few minutes every day and it will become easier every time you pick up the instrument.