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Thread: Strumming technique

  1. #1
    BarnOwl Barn Owl's Avatar
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    Default Strumming technique

    So my transition to the mandolin was from a violin, so learning new fiddle tunes and that type of thing has been a lot of fun and have picked it up quite quickly...

    The problem I'm having is being able to strum to specific songs. I know I need to work on changing chords more quickly.. but the strumming pattern seems a bit difficult for me too. I can do the easy chops and the only pattern I seem to have down is the bum buuuuummm, badada .. and I can do that pretty fast.. but any other style is a bit difficult.

    I've tried looking up videos on youtube and stuff but I'm having a hard time actually seeing what they're doing and a they mainly jump right in when I kind of need it broken down like you would to a 5 year old. Anyone got any ideas or good references?
    "Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun."

  2. #2
    Registered User mommythrice's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strumming technique

    What type of music are you wanting to play? Irish? Bluegrass? Jazz? Polkas?

  3. #3
    BarnOwl Barn Owl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strumming technique

    I like all kinds of music... so I'm interested in any techniques.. though these days I'm mainly playing bluegrass and a few irish tunes..
    "Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun."

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    Registered User maudlin mandolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strumming technique

    Bob Grant's book Rocking Mandolin has strumming patterns you can play along to.

  5. #5
    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strumming technique

    There are DVDs about Rhythm Mandolin available from both John McGann and Sam Bush. I have the McGann one. It really covers the waterfront, but at a pretty basic level, so it might be great. I have no experience with the Bush one, although I would expect it is skewed to bluegrass. Also, my experience with his other instructional materials is that he tends to target the intermediate player, not the rank beginner. There are samples of both to be found online.

    Beyond that, though this has been my methodology in the past, both with guitar and mandolin:
    1. Develop a short playlist of tunes that represent the kind of stuff you want to play, that you can find two resources for, a recording you can play along with, and the chords.

    2. For each tune, practice two things: The first is the chord changes. Set the tune aside for the exercise and just practice each chord change over and over. If there is a change from C major to D major, just start doing C-D,C-D,C-D,C-D. Get it to where the change is in muscle memory. This is one of those things you can even do with quiet strums when you are watching TV. Get it "mindlessly perfect" for each change in the tune.

    The second thing is the strums. Now forget about the chords for the exercise, mute the strings and play along with a recording of the tune just strumming with your right hand along with the music. Start with just single strums on the the down beats and then start hearing and copying what the rhythm player on the recording is doing in between. Don't try to get it too quickly. Keep that down beat going and let the stuff in between happen at the rate you can get it to happen. Be forewarned there are tunes where you do something different on the downbeat, like a rest or a bass note in old-time and bluegrass, but that is a bit more advanced. Save the exceptions for later.

    3. Then put it all together!

  6. #6
    BarnOwl Barn Owl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strumming technique

    Good to know.. appreciate the input guys.
    "Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun."

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