How to Strum Guitar with Fingers: A Beginner's Guide

If you're learning to play the guitar, you may have started out using a pick to strum the strings. While picks can be a great tool for playing certain styles of music, strumming with your fingers can give you greater control and variety in your playing. In this article, we'll explore how to strum guitar with fingers, the benefits of finger strumming and provide tips for proper hand positioning, technique, and exercises to help you improve your finger strumming skills.

Benefits of Strumming with Fingers

There are several benefits to strumming with your fingers instead of a pick. For one, you have more control over the volume and tone of the strings. With a pick, you're limited to a certain range of sounds, but using your fingers allows you to produce a wider variety of tones and textures. Additionally, finger strumming can help you achieve a more natural, organic sound that's perfect for certain styles of music, such as folk or acoustic rock.

Proper Hand Positioning

Before you start strumming with your fingers, it's important to get your hand positioning right. The thumb should be positioned behind the neck of the guitar, while the other fingers should be placed on the strings. Make sure your hand is relaxed and not tense, as tension can make it harder to strum smoothly.

Technique for Strumming with Fingers

To get started with finger strumming, try the basic finger strumming pattern. Begin with your index finger and strum down the strings, then strum back up with your middle finger. Repeat this pattern, alternating between your index and middle fingers. This simple pattern is a great place to start, but you can experiment with different finger combinations and strumming patterns to create your own unique sound.

When practicing finger strumming, it's important to focus on accuracy and speed. Start slow and gradually increase your speed as you become more comfortable. You may also want to incorporate percussive elements into your playing, such as tapping on the guitar body or using your fingers to create a muted, rhythmic sound.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

One of the most common mistakes beginners make when finger strumming is to tense up their hand and wrist. This can make it harder to strum smoothly and can lead to pain or discomfort over time. To avoid this, make sure your hand is relaxed and your wrist is loose.

Another common mistake is overstrumming, or strumming too vigorously. This can cause the strings to buzz or produce an uneven sound. To avoid overstrumming, focus on keeping your strums smooth and even.

Exercises for Improving Finger Strumming

To improve your finger strumming skills, there are several exercises you can try. Finger dexterity exercises, such as playing scales or practicing fingerpicking patterns, can help you develop greater control and precision in your playing. You can also practice specific strumming patterns or drills to help you master different rhythms and techniques.


Strumming with your fingers can be a great way to add variety and depth to your guitar playing. By focusing on proper hand positioning and technique, and practicing regularly, you can improve your finger strumming skills and create your own unique sound. Keep practicing and experimenting with different strumming patterns and techniques, and you'll soon be on your way to becoming a skilled finger strummer.

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Harvey Fletcher
Harvey Fletcher
I am a singer/songwriter from California, US. Music has always been a huge part of my life and it is my dream to be able to share my music with the world and connect with people through my songs. I pour my entire heart into every song I write and I believe that each song has the ability to connect with someone on a personal level. I am currently working on my debut album and I can't wait to share it with all of you. In the meantime, you can check out my videos on YouTube or follow me on social media to stay up to date on all the latest news. Thank you for supporting me and I hope you enjoy my music!