Dynamics. Or basically, loud and quiet. Why is it important? It adds interest to your compositions or playing. It’s another tool to help you express yourself or tell a story. Want to emphasize something important at that point in the song? Play the opposite of what comes right before that and right after that in the song. Bands like The Pixies or Nirvana are famous for this type of back and forth.

There are many ways to do this, but as a guitar player the one you have the most control over is how to create dynamics with your picking hand. Yeah, there’s a volume knob on your guitar, amp and whatever effects you are using- but you can do this much more easily with your hand. Want to play louder? Strum harder. Want to create a slightly heavier tone? Strum harder. Want to emphasize a particular lyric- strum harder- or softer. Want to match that high-note the singer is holding? Pick harder.

Sounds easy- and it can be with practice. To start, strum a chord. As you strum with your right hand, start to gradually strum softer. The trick here is to keep the same pressure on every string and not to shorten your strumming motion and miss strings. Keep your strumming pattern even, hitting each string evenly- just do it softer. Practice this until you are able to cover each string evenly without thinking about it.

Now do the same thing but strum harder. Make sure you are covering each string evenly without digging into the top or bottom strings harder and missing the middle strings.

You’ll have it down pretty soon, but you’ll want to practice this everyday until it’s just a part of your subconscious. Until you don’t even have to think about it and it just becomes an extension of your brain.

Easy? Yeah. Now practice the same technique with picking- whether it’s finger picking or alternate picking with a plectrum- this will allow you to create dynamics note for note. Much harder, but with practice everything is possible.

While you’re practicing your strumming and picking dynamics you may as well add to your chord, scale and arpeggio library at the same time. FretWorx™ can help by showing you any chord, scale or arpeggio you want or need to know. Find a chord or scale you didn’t know previously and use that as your practice bed for dynamic strumming and picking. Do this everyday and not only will be a master of dynamic picking and strumming, but your internal chord library will grow to the point where you can have instant recall.