If you want to learn how to strum a guitar while finger picking, get ready for lots of practice. Strumming while picking a guitar sounds beautiful and will amaze your audience by making one guitar sound like two. You can use metal finger clasps or you can simply use well-played fingertips.
To strum a guitar while fingerpicking, you will need:
- Guitar (acoustic or electric)
- Your fingers (including your thumb)
- Hold your guitar as you would while playing. Practice strumming chords with just your thumb. Do this for a few days until you are comfortable with using your thumb as your main picking implement.
- Once you feel comfortable strumming with your thumb, work on your finger picking. Fingerpick out some chords without using your thumb. Practice this on your higher-pitched strings. Do this for a few days or until you feel comfortable fingerpicking without your thumb.
- You are now ready to put the two together. As a first step to integrating this, play only bass notes on your guitar with your thumb while fingerpicking the higher strings with your other fingers. For example, if you are holding a G chord, use your thumb to play the G note on the first beat of every four beats in 4/4 time. With your other fingers, pluck out the remaining chord during the next three beats. Practice this until you are comfortable with the method.
- Try doing step three while changing chords. For example, go from G to C to D, then back to G. It may seem like you are repeating learning to fingerpick, but these exercises will get your mind and hands used to the movement when the time comes to strum.
- Once comfortable with this, start strumming with your thumb. Brush your thumb over the first two strings of the chord you are playing while picking out notes with your fingers. The coordination may seem awkward at first, but if you have practiced the above steps, your hands will quickly adapt and you can begin to change chords while keeping the strumming and picking beat.