EPDM Coatings
rvupgradestore.com Composet Products Custom Yacht Interiors

Author Topic: Campfire Strummers - Moving Beyond Basic Strumming  (Read 261 times)

steelmooch

  • ---
  • Posts: 155
Campfire Strummers - Moving Beyond Basic Strumming
« on: January 08, 2018, 01:46:31 PM »
Hello, all...and thanks for your time and consideration. 

It's difficult asking a question like this one on a "guitar" message board - lots of negativity and snark...not a lot of help. 

Since I know there are some basic strummers on here, I thought I'd ask the question in a more friendly environment.  Please be kind.  :)

I've been strumming and singing country, bluegrass, folk, and classic rock-type songs for probably 15 years.  Basic 3-5 chord arrangements in standard position on the guitar, and my singing carries the melody and "makes" the songs.  My wife & kids have fun with it at home, in the travel trailer, and around the campfire...and that's what I really care about. 

I've not gotten any better as a player in that time...but in honestly, I don't really aspire to become a technically proficient player.  (Is that strange to say?)  I don't have the time or the inclination at this point in my life...I just want to enjoy some music with my family from time to time when we can. 

I'd like to add in a few basic things that make my playing sound 25% better...so that maybe I'm more comfortable playing rhythm with other people or in front of other people. 

I've tried "alternating bass" and "bass runs", but found them to be unsustainable with my infrequent practice.  Having a few social beverages around the campfire also leads to those techniques getting "scrapped", if you know what I mean. 

I've had a little bit of success with some hammer-ons...especially hammering on the pinky in the "D" chord in certain songs that merit it. 

Touching the bass string first instead of hitting the entire chord...trying to sweep in with the pick hand and "randomize" the played strings of a chord instead of droning on with every string every time...etc. 

Still not hearing quite what I'd like to.  When I watch basic, stripped-down acoustic performances on YouTube (especially by singers who aren't really great guitar players), I think to myself..."he/she isn't really doing anything that different than I do...it's subtle...but it sounds so much better than what I'm doing!". 

Are some of the campfire strummers out there able to recommend specific skills that I'd be able to see on YouTube and practice on my own?  Or even to recommend a print/online resource for "people who just want to strum/sing a little bit better without investing the time to complete an instructional series?"

Thanks a lot and happy travels, everyone...hope everyone up north with me is staying warm. 

Tom

  • Administrator
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 44923
    • RV Forum web site
Re: Campfire Strummers - Moving Beyond Basic Strumming
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2018, 02:00:06 PM »
I'm pretty much in the same mode as you, except primarily on ukulele. I'll occasionally pick up a guitar or banjo, but find I have to focus on re-gaining muscle memory if I haven't played them for a while.

Can't offer much for guitar, but one thing I've found that provides some pleasing alternative to regular strumming on a uke is to thumb strum, where my thumb 'rolls' over the notes of the chord. I'm selective about which numbers I do this on, but it works especially well on ballads.

Other ways I 'enhance' the sound of the strumming is to play either my 8-string uke (like playing a 12-string guitar) or playing my 4-string banjo ukulele (tuned like my other ukes, so the same fingering). The 8-string 'fills out' the sound, and the banjo uke produces a brighter/louder sound. Of course, I have to be very selective which numbers I play the banjo on (definitely not Hawaiian or ballads). 'Lifting' the fingers of my left hand on some chords also introduces some interesting color, in a similar way to what your 'hammering' does.

Haven't tried this on guitar, but sliding up one fret with the left hand and sliding back again produces some variation. I do this on a G7 chord on uke, which is the same fingering as D7 on guitar.

Hopefully, some of our guitar players will jump in with suggestions, and I can learn from their replies.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 05:00:56 PM by Tom »
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

Larry N.

  • ---
  • Posts: 4593
  • Westminster, CO
Re: Campfire Strummers - Moving Beyond Basic Strumming
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2018, 03:37:50 PM »
I'm no great shakes either, but strumming variations can add a lot to your songs. A Carter-family type or Flamenco-type strum can add a nice variety, as can varying finger pressure on the frets (ease pressure-add pressure in time to the beat)- they do take a while to learn (or did for me), but I'm still using some of that 40 years later, even though I may go months between sessions with the guitar.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL, Bounder, Beaver
  de N8GGG

SeilerBird

  • ---
  • Posts: 11163
  • Everything I state is my opinion.
Re: Campfire Strummers - Moving Beyond Basic Strumming
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2018, 03:47:17 PM »
First off Mooch I doubt there is very many musicians who do not think everyone is much better than they are. Most people think they suck no matter how good they are. The truth of the matter is that if you want to get to the next level it would require practicing at least three preferably five hours a day, every day. It takes at least an hour a day just to tread water and stay at the level you are at. The best thing to do is to not worry about getting better and just play and enjoy yourself. No matter how bad you think you are just about anyone who would listen to you will think you are great. Non-musicians think musicians are some kind of magicians. Really all it is is repetition. You gotta keep on keeping on until you can do it in your sleep.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
Favorite 2017 shots:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/y0HbMU5KYa2hx02E3
My portfolio:
https://goo.gl/photos/Cx4SaYhGfYFShSty7
My Grand Canyon shots:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Nc1AT8tQp25wJwfm1

steelmooch

  • ---
  • Posts: 155
Re: Campfire Strummers - Moving Beyond Basic Strumming
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2018, 08:53:25 PM »
great comments...thank you all. Tom - super nice.  :). Great perspective. 


8Muddypaws

  • ---
  • Posts: 2316
Re: Campfire Strummers - Moving Beyond Basic Strumming
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2018, 09:14:02 PM »
Yup, it takes practice.  But I think 5 hours a day might be overkill and would probably demotivate anybody.  There are hundreds, maybe thousands of free tutors online and on YouTube.
Retired computer professional
Musician, songwriter and music director
2006 Bounder 34H, 2008 CR-V Toad

SeilerBird

  • ---
  • Posts: 11163
  • Everything I state is my opinion.
Re: Campfire Strummers - Moving Beyond Basic Strumming
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2018, 09:27:42 PM »
I have been a musician all my life and I have had periods where I was practicing six to eight hours a day and the increase in my skills was amazing. I have also had periods where I was lucky to play one hour a week and my skills rapidly deteriorated. I have read of many guitarists who basically spent their entire teenage years in their bedroom practicing (wood-shedding) such as Eric Clapton, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani. They have mad guitar skills but end up with horrible social skills due to lack of interaction with humans.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
Favorite 2017 shots:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/y0HbMU5KYa2hx02E3
My portfolio:
https://goo.gl/photos/Cx4SaYhGfYFShSty7
My Grand Canyon shots:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Nc1AT8tQp25wJwfm1

Tom

  • Administrator
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 44923
    • RV Forum web site
Re: Campfire Strummers - Moving Beyond Basic Strumming
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2018, 02:26:39 AM »
Quote from: 8Muddypaws
There are hundreds, maybe thousands of free tutors online and on YouTube.

I'm humbled when, for example, I watch a YouTube video to learn a complex/compound strum and it's 'taught' by a 12 year old  :-[
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

SeilerBird

  • ---
  • Posts: 11163
  • Everything I state is my opinion.
Re: Campfire Strummers - Moving Beyond Basic Strumming
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2018, 05:14:02 AM »
There are so many videos on YouTube of things like a four year old girl playing the drums like a professional. Or really young guitarist playing Eruption. The kids now a days have so much going for them to learn. When I took up the guitar in 1965 there was not one guitar teacher in my town. There was no Internet and YouTube full of videos, web sites full of amazing instructions, guitar magazines, guitar books and all the other teaching aids that available now. In fact I went to a high school of 2500 kids and there was only one other guy in the entire school that played guitar. I am nothing but jealous of all the options kids have today. I would love to have been able to participate in a program like this one:

https://youtu.be/JPBrA3sV90A
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
Favorite 2017 shots:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/y0HbMU5KYa2hx02E3
My portfolio:
https://goo.gl/photos/Cx4SaYhGfYFShSty7
My Grand Canyon shots:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Nc1AT8tQp25wJwfm1

8Muddypaws

  • ---
  • Posts: 2316
Re: Campfire Strummers - Moving Beyond Basic Strumming
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2018, 05:33:26 PM »
Take a look at this site:  http://www.guitarcontrol.com/main.php?gl=5a551f04595c979461da0b2e

They have courses in pretty much all styles.  I think it costs a paltry $20 a month for unlimited streaming.  You can cancel anytime.  Because this wasn't around 50 years ago doesn't mean you shouldn't use it today.  And maybe it's part of the reason there are so many young prodigys around.

I figured out how to download them to a local disk so I didn't have to burn the bandwidth twice.

BTW - I got my first guitar in 1964 and got to watch & analyze the likes of Carlos Santana, Paul Ziegler, Jorma Kalkunon, Bill Mundy and a bunch of others who played in the Bay Area.  In person and up close.  it makes a big difference when you can see their hands.

Retired computer professional
Musician, songwriter and music director
2006 Bounder 34H, 2008 CR-V Toad

Tom

  • Administrator
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 44923
    • RV Forum web site
Re: Campfire Strummers - Moving Beyond Basic Strumming
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2018, 06:57:38 PM »
Quote
it makes a big difference when you can see their hands.

Aye Russ. Chris was struggling to play and, when we attended a concert by William Florian (ex New Christy Minstrels), I told her to watch his fingers.
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

 

Hosted by Over The Network