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Thumb Strum – Chordal Picking Technique

This is one of my favorite picking techniques, and is wondrous on the C6 neck. Its main function is to use the thumb to quickly strum multiple notes and provide a thicker chordal sound. When done correctly, the group of notes should sound similar to a guitar player strumming a chord with their pick.

This technique is best utilized with a note played on top with the middle finger, or the middle and index fingers. The combination of the thumb and other fingers allows a large chord voicing that can really expand a player’s chord arsenal.

The thumb will begin on the lowest string, and then will pick the group of notes simultaneously by strumming forward. At the same time this done, the other finger(s) will pluck its appropriate note.

Here is a diagram that displays a few chord voicings on the C6 neck with this technique:

ThumbStrumChordPickingTechnique
CLICK ON DIAGRAM FOR LARGER/PRINTABLE VIEW

Further enjoy the benefits of this picking style by letting the thumb’s notes sustain, and using the middle finger and knee levers to add melodic texture for higher notes above this, in the same position. This concept can be a gateway into the world of chord-melodies on the pedal steel!


For more on picking and blocking, visit these pages…

How to Practice Right Hand Blocking on Pedal Steel Guitar

What is Right Hand Blocking on Pedal Steel Guitar?

Picking (or Right Hand Blocking) for Six-String Guitar Players