Tag: strumming Archives - Jim Bowley

August 11, 2014

The Obstacle Course Approach to Changing Chords

obstacle course approach to changing chordsStrumming and changing chords is at the heart of all guitar playing.  And experienced players make it look so easy. 

But changing chords in rhythm is one of the most difficult things for beginner guitarists to do.

After all, there are multiple “moving parts” in every chord change. Fingers move in various combinations with different strings and different placements to figure out. The thumb changes its position. The wrist relaxes or bends.

It’s easy to see why a rookie guitar player would struggle with this: there’s an awful lot to process! 

And we’re only talking about the left hand. :)

While I employ a few different strategies for helping my beginners through the technical difficulties of playing chords, one of the simplest methods to deal with chord changes is more a matter of attitude than technical ability. (more…)

July 15, 2014

Money Guitar Tip #8: “Flicking Water”

One of my favorite verbal cues for strumming the guitar is based on a simple task that we perform every day: we wash our hands.

And what do we do automatically after washing our hands?

We flick the excess water off.

That, my friends, is perfect strumming technique.

“Flicking water” is a highly effective cue that will help you stay loose and relaxed while getting your strum on.

How great – and easy – is that? (more…)

July 2, 2011

Gettin’ Groovy, Part 2: The Bo Diddley Beat

Bo Diddley
It’s time to get groovy once again! In our last installment, I’m Bringing Groovy Back, we talked about the three essential elements to making your strumming as groovy-licious as possible. Those elements were:

    1. Follow JB’s Golden Rule of Strumming and never stop your hand.
    2. Tap your foot to the quarter note pulse of the song to fully connect with the rhythm.
    3. Keep a loose wrist, as if you were flicking water from your hand.

Let’s go ahead and put these elements to work by playing one of the all-time classic rhythms in rock music history: the Bo Diddley beat. (more…)

June 28, 2011

I’m Bringing Groovy Back

Strumming is at the heart of all guitar playing.

So we have to learn to play our chords and make ’em groovy – it’s that simple.

Or is it?

In my experience, there seems to be two types of guitarists: the type who learn to strum with almost zero coaching, and the type who require some strum coaching for quite a long time before nailing it on their own.

If you find yourself in the first group, I congratulate you on being a natural born groovemeister. You are in the top 5% or so and can go to the head of the class. Unfortunately for the rest of us mere mortals, strumming needs to be coached. And coached. And sometimes coached some more.

And lest you think this post is designed for only the guitar newbies, let me assure you that I’ve witnessed many an “intermediate” guitarist whose strumming technique was nightmarish, and that’s being kind.

Here are three essential tips guaranteed to crank up any guitarist’s strumming technique! (more…)

Jim Bowley is a professional guitarist, teacher and blogger. A native of Baltimore, he has over 30 years of playing experience and an advanced degree in Music Education from Towson University. Jim lives in Bel Air, MD where he maintains a thriving private lesson studio and performs with his band, Remains of Radio.

© 2012 Jim Bowley All rights reserved.
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