When I first started learning how to play the guitar I started off playing classical music. As I got better at playing the guitar I switched styles and started learning country, blues, pop and rock music. I always found using a guitar pick to be awkward and uncomfortable, so even though I was playing different styles of music I still preferred to stick with the classical finger picking style of playing the guitar and using my fingers. There were a few songs that required me to strum but I never really liked using a guitar pick, so I found a way to strum using only my fingers. Eventually I learned how to play the guitar with a pick (which I recommend), but I found that the finger strumming method I used worked just as well.
So if you want to learn how to strum without a guitar pick and using only your fingers, this is how you do it.
How to strum without a guitar pick
There are several different ways to learn how to finger strum without a guitar pick, but the method I like best is using my thumb and middle fingers. When I strum down I use my middle finger, when I strum up I use my thumb. In order to do this you will need to grow your fingernails a bit long because your long nails will work as your guitar pick and will help produce a loud clear sound from your guitar.
So keeping those tips in mind, this is how you will need to position your hand-
Step 1. Stand up straight and relax so that your arms fall straight down to your sides.
Step 2. Bend your right elbow (or left if you are left handed) and let your hand relax, then rotate your hand and turn your palm up towards the sky. Notice the natural position of your fingers.
Step 3. Place your thumb near the crease of your middle finger, the part closest to your fingernail and rest it on your middle finger. The exact position isn’t important, wherever your thumb is most comfortable is fine.
Step 4. Now position your hand near the guitar strings. Using only your thumb and middle finger, start strumming your guitar while keeping your hand in this position.
Note: All of your other fingers should not move from their relaxed position, meaning that your ring and baby fingers should be slightly bent towards the palm of your hand, while your index finger should be slightly extended and away from the strings. This position will allow you to strum without your other fingers interfering and hitting unwanted strings.
As named above, other guitarists have found all kinds of ways to strum with their fingers, but for me this way works the best because my hand stays relaxed while my other fingers are out of the way so that they don’t hit unwanted strings. As you get better at strumming you will learn how to adjust your thumb for the upstrokes and placing your fingers back into position for the down strokes of strumming.
Hopefully this guide was helpful in teaching you how to strum without using a guitar pick. Good luck!
If you have more pointers on how to finger strum, comment below and share your thoughts.