If there’s one thing on guitar that I really struggle with, it’s 16th note strumming. It’s been my nemesis for a long time now but I’ll keep on plugging away. In theory it’s not tough at all – it’s essentially the same as playing 2 bars of 8th note strumming, albeit twice as fast.
There are quite a few things that happen when I attempt 16th note strumming, firstly the way I play it sounds incredibly tight and ordered, it doesn’t have that loose, free sound that I hear when other people do it. I think this is largely because I overthink it – I’m focusing so hard on which notes/strums to miss that I end up with something very rigid sounding. The other thing that tends to happen is that my pick goes all over the shop. I don’t drop it but it ends up in all kinds of weird positions – this is something I thought I would have gotten past by now but it still plagues me.
The song that I’m using to practice is Lucky Man by The Verve – it’s a really simple chord progression – G, D Asus4 for the bulk of the song which makes it a good song to practice with, there’s no thinking about the chords at all. I should point out that I can play this song with 16th note strumming but I play the same pattern throughout. What I’m striving for is the ability to mix it up with my 16th note strumming. I think half the problem is that I’m practising when the kids are in bed and it’s difficult to play at full volume, I need to get myself another feedback buster but as I recall from the last one that I lost – they don’t actually kill that much volume.
Finally, I’m kind of tempted to set up an account with SoundCloud to record my progress as I try and improve my playing, that said, I’m not sure that people want to hear me getting things wrong – for now maybe I’ll just stick with using my iPhone’s Voice Memo app.
Here’s the brilliant Justin Sandercoe’s Lucky Man guitar lesson…