I've become a bit curious about what I'm doing when playing a normal song with simple chords.

At the moment it seems like I have a few 'dummy' strums between changing chords - i.e. the strums that occur, mostly involving all of the open strings unfretted, while I'm swapping my left hand position to a new chord. (note: when using a proper/complicated strumming pattern)

I've noticed that between open chords I'm strumming at least twice while swapping chords, and when barre chords are involved sometimes theres three 'dummy' strums involved. When I watch people on youtube etc it seems they use one of these dummy strums maximum, so is this something I need to practice? I know the chord shapes well enough, I'm just worried I'm in a bad habit to make it easier for myself (..obviously playing the proper chord for more of the strums makes it sound better!)

Thanks in advance!
Last edited by nick-33 at Feb 14, 2012,
Yes it is bad if that sound isn't in the songs you're trying to play. Most songs I'm aware of don't have anything between the chords so you need to get better at changing between them so there's no delay at all.

Really you just need to concentrate on making the changes cleanly and not trying to play anything faster than you're definitely able to. If you have to slow a song down to play it well then that doesn't matter as long as you do play it well.
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It's a bad habit, especially if you're hitting the strings.

Granted with some songs it's supposed to happen and that's how the song was originalyl played. A lot of players will keeping the strumming motion going but not hit the strings to maintain the rhythm. However it shouldn't be something that happens automatically because with a lot of songs there isn't time and chucking in additional strokes will actually mess the rhythm up. You need to be getting yourself into the habit of changing chords cleanly without those dummy strokes, there's nothing wrong with using them where appropriate but you need to be using them out of choice, not because you can't play without them.
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it is a bad habit. the most important thing you can do is practice your chord shapes so you can't switch fluidly between them.

in other words; finger a chord, and when you've got it just take your entire hand away from the guitar and place it on your lap. then bring your hand back up to form the chord again. what this is doing is training your brain to be able to unconsciously create a chord position.

and do this with each one, so that you can form any chord form muscle memory alone. another thing you should is to take the song very slowly, with a metronome. and gradually speed up.