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Thread: Any tips on fast strumming?

  1. #1
    Registered User TheBently's Avatar
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    Default Any tips on fast strumming?

    When i watch bluegrass musicians, they're strumming is insanely fast. Does anyone have any tips on strumming fast and accurately?

  2. #2
    Chu Dat Frawg Eric C.'s Avatar
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    Metronome.
    Kentucky KM950 and loving it.

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    Registered User TheBently's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on fast strumming?

    Yes that! but is there anything else that would help too?

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    Registered User John Gardinsky's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on fast strumming?

    Speed comes with familiarity, so...lots and lots of practice. Going over some basic rhythm patterns daily with a metronome will help. Use one, two, three or four strings. Try: All down strokes, or down, down-up, down, down-up, repeat , or straight alternating down-up, down-up, repeat. A web search on strumming patterns will turn up plenty of info to work on. Acoustic guitar strumming patterns are adaptable for the mandolin.

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    Default Re: Any tips on fast strumming?

    Loosen up your wrist, hold the pick loosely. And work it like you're flinging water off your hand.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on fast strumming?

    Drink lots of coffee.

    Its what I do.
    As much as I post, I pick a whole lot more. Just sayin'
    We cannot put off living until we are ready. -- Jose Ortega Y Gasset

    The entire staff
    funny....

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    Default Re: Any tips on fast strumming?

    Deaden the strings with your left hand and strum along with recorded music, preferably tunes that you love. Every song is a good 3-4min workout.

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    Default Re: Any tips on fast strumming?

    A few beers and a hot atmosphere doesn't hurt either haha

    Metronome definitely though! Start at something very slow like 90bpm and work up, going through progressions two beats per metronome click - getting up as fast as you can! Go up very gradually by 20bpm on the metronome though, get the feel of it and fall in the groove so that if someone muted it and you kept playing, you'd be right there!
    ~Henry Clark

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    Registered User TheBently's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on fast strumming?

    Thanks for the help guys! I'll be sure to work on what you all said! Oh and zeeku77 i cant drink beer yet..:P nor do i like coffee JeffD..:P

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    Proud Mandolin Owner BeginnerMandolinistTyler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on fast strumming?

    Practice. As mentioned before, a metronome is your best friend, most of the time. For me, I can move my wrist fairly fast and easily (thanks to 9 years of percussion and 10 years of guitar experience) but the accuracy of the notes I am hitting is absolutely horrible. I only strum that fast after I watch some of the greats play. I am usually extremely re-motivated and I attempt to play fast like Thile, Marshall, Steffay, Hull and so on.....but my write wrist is at the correct speed but my fingers are slowly missing a lot of notes. Overall, play things slow until you feel comfortable playing. When I say comfortable, I mean like you could play it with your eyes close and it sounds clear and has a nice tone. Then move up the tempo a little, I'm talking like 5 clicks if that. Keep doing that until you get it. I need to follow my own advice....and the advice of all the other people above me...Though I can't drink alcohol either and I don't like coffee.
    Tyler Romeu, 1 of very few Korean Mandolin players

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    Default Re: Any tips on fast strumming?

    One counterintuitive thing to do is practice fast. Set the metronome to, like, 120 or 130 or 140 or something and just try. It will sound bad at first, but you have to get used to the feeling of your hand moving fast. Once you can just 'hang on' without getting tired, you can start refining for tone and accuracy.

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    Michael Greenberg lukmanohnz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on fast strumming?

    Another counterintuitive practice technique for achieving speed: set the metronome to a slow tempo - 80 or so - and really concentrate on relaxing that right hand and wrist. Tension will get in the way of playing fast. You need to release as much tension as possible throughout your upper body. Loosen the grip on your pick until it almost falls out of your fingers. Mike Marshall's basic technique DVD (NFI) has a brief but excellent discussion about speed. I also agree with SincereCorgi's suggestion to just crank up the metronome and do your best. You will get there - keep a positive attitude and always focus on musicality.
    "Well, I don't know much about bands but I do know you can't make a living selling big trombones, no sir. Mandolin picks, perhaps..."

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    Registered User Chris Rizos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any tips on fast strumming?

    Yet another counter-intuitive practice technique for achieving speed: play alternatively slow and fast. I use this technique for both the mandolin and the guitar and it works.

    For example, I play open strings (unfretted) as following e.g. on the E string:
    - 2x4 notes slow (E-E-E-E, E-E-E-E), up-down with the pick
    - then at double speed, so each E now becomes 2xE and I play a total of 16 notes.
    - then at triple speed, so each E now becomes 3xE (triad) and I play a total of 24 notes.

    I repeat this exercise 2 or 3 times, and then I increase the speed of the 2x4 slow notes of the exercise, and start over again.

    I don't even need a metronome to do this, it works. Do not forget, try this on all strings (G-D-A-E).

    Hope it helps, it sure works for me!
    "No, improvising is wonderful. But, the thing is that you cannot improvise unless you know exactly what you’re doing." Christopher Walken

    http://www.themandolintuner.com/

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    Default Re: Any tips on fast strumming?

    Probably the best way is to set your goal of how fast you want to play and then practice for 15 to 20 years... You will get there. That is what they did.
    Bart McNeil

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