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Jun 14, 2024 - 10:39:51 AM
67 posts since 7/9/2021

I've (finally) started recording myself playing. Should have been doing it ages ago. Other than the need to consistently hit the strings for individual notes clearly, accurately and evenly I haven't been too happy with the choppy sound I seem to be producing with the strum part of your good old bum ditty. It seems that maybe I'm really wacking the thing and it makes for a choppiness in my playing. At least that's how it sounds to me. Have others had this kind of problem and how did you fix it?

Jun 14, 2024 - 10:48:27 AM

80 posts since 6/22/2016

I always advise my students to develop a sense of "playing through" the strings for a more cohesive sound. This involves consciously contacting the string(s) with the back of the fingernail (or fingertip), and using gravity and momentum to move the contact point of the finger through the string(s). Practice with a metronome and attempt to maintain the actual rhythmic value of the notes. For instance, a typical clawhammer strum is one quarter note followed by two eighth notes.

Jun 15, 2024 - 7:34:30 AM



3115 posts since 8/30/2012

1) metronome

2) metronome

3) metronome

Jun 15, 2024 - 8:57:24 AM

51 posts since 12/9/2021

Also try playing slow with the advise above and maybe a bit softer than usual.

Jun 15, 2024 - 8:59:21 AM
like this

2482 posts since 2/9/2007

Yeah, metronome for sure! There's nothing more important than steady time, but.... you can play in quite passably good time and still sound choppy.
The key is listening to the best model you can find, and getting obsessive about imitating that sound. Learn that playing the right notes is not as important as playing the notes right, and that as simple as something may sound at first, there are subtleties in there you will hear for the first time, the next time you listen.

Edited by - Dan Gellert on 06/15/2024 08:59:43

Jun 15, 2024 - 11:10:24 AM

Bart Veerman


5744 posts since 1/5/2005

@dtstewart64 - please post your recording so we can listen to what you are talking about.
From the way you describe it, to me it means that you're not happy with the tone of the down-strum.
Maybe all you need to do is to back-off on the power that you smack your strings with.
Sounding "choppy" doesn't necessarily mean your rhythm/timing is off.

Jun 19, 2024 - 6:03:40 AM
likes this

67 posts since 7/9/2021

Hi, Thanks for your response. I did check it out with a metronome and you are right ... timing was okay, and strumming more softly seems way better.

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