dragnet99
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2012
80 IQ
#1
Sorry for the all-caps in the title, but I can't believe how hard it's been to get a straight answer on this.

I've read countless articles and watched countless videos on triads. I know the positions and inversions, I know how they're used and when they're useful. But the one thing that no one seems to ever explain is how exactly one strums the three specific strings without hitting the rest.

I can only imagine either selectively strumming the three strings (which seems error-prone, especially when playing in a performance setting), or somehow muting around the three strings, which seems like it'd require a very complex set of techniques. In fact, I'd imagine each string group would have its own muting strategy, and possibly each shape within each string group.

People mention triads all the time and I'd love to start using them, but it doesn't seem like anyone can tell me a straight forward, reliable way to just play the three strings in a given string group.

Thanks in advance!
Guitarra_acores
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2011
20 IQ
#2
You should have the accuracy to only hit 3 strings if that's what you want... I like to mute anyway just to be extra safe.

If you are playing adjacent strings you only need to mute one string above. I usually do this with the tip of my ring finger.

If they are on non adjacent string there will have to be some muting involved.
dragnet99
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2012
80 IQ
#3
You should have the accuracy to only hit 3 strings if that's what you want...


Interesting. I've been playing on and off for a couple years now and have actually never heard anyone say that. Do you have any references on where I could learn a bit more about how exactly to develop that technique? Being able to reliably hit just three strings honestly seems extremely difficult to me, so I clearly have some studying to do. But if there are any good articles/videos that explore this more depth and give some practice suggestions, that'd be great.

Thanks!
Kevin Saale
Talks to empty chairs
Join date: Dec 2007
140 IQ
#4
I agree, you should be able to hit just three. I usually still mute adjacent strings, especially with faster strumming
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ProphetToJables
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150 IQ
#6
You just hit three strings... it's not rocket science.
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Guitarra_acores
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2011
20 IQ
#7
Quote by dragnet99
Interesting. I've been playing on and off for a couple years now and have actually never heard anyone say that. Do you have any references on where I could learn a bit more about how exactly to develop that technique? Being able to reliably hit just three strings honestly seems extremely difficult to me, so I clearly have some studying to do. But if there are any good articles/videos that explore this more depth and give some practice suggestions, that'd be great.

Thanks!


I'm talking from personal experience.
It's not really a technique in itself it just comes from a more accurate picking hand.

It won't happen overnight, it will happen as you develop as a player.
If you can't hit just three you can try to mute...If you're playing 6th,5th and 4th strings mute with the tip of one of the available fingers, if I'm playing the 5th,4th and 3rd I also mute the top string by playing the hendrix grip and leaving out the bass note.


The hendrix grip is something like this, if you are not familiar:

Gmajor
x
3-pointer
4-middle
5-ring
x
3-thumb
Withorwithout
Registered User
Join date: May 2012
20 IQ
#8
I mute the rest with the whatever free finger i have on my left hand left from the triad shape.
steven seagull
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Join date: Oct 2006
180 IQ
#9
Quote by dragnet99
Interesting. I've been playing on and off for a couple years now and have actually never heard anyone say that. Do you have any references on where I could learn a bit more about how exactly to develop that technique? Being able to reliably hit just three strings honestly seems extremely difficult to me, so I clearly have some studying to do. But if there are any good articles/videos that explore this more depth and give some practice suggestions, that'd be great.

Thanks!

Being able to hit the strings you want to hit and not hitting the ones you don't is a pretty basic, fundamental element in learning to play the guitar.
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bondmorkret
Registered User
Join date: Apr 2012
20 IQ
#10
Try using hybrid picking, that way you can single out specific strings that you want to play. Also, you could try arranging your triads on the top 3 strings only, and strumming them whilst avoiding the other strings with your pick. Depends on the style and context!
dragnet99
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2012
80 IQ
#11
Sounds like the consensus is about selectively strumming, with muting being a backup approach at best, if at all.

One more addition to my original question with this in mind; if the trick is to simply hit the right strings to begin with (say, strings 4, 3, 2) does that go for traditional strumming patterns as well? In other words, is it a common skill among players to being able to strum down those strings, then strum back up, the same way one would strum all six for say, an E-major open chord? I somehow missed this technique from being mostly self-taught so this is pretty new to me.

Thanks!
Last edited by dragnet99 at Mar 19, 2013,
cdgraves
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2013
10 IQ
#12
You need to mute, too, to eliminate sympathetic vibration and the inevitable striking of an adjacent string.

And yes, you should be able to apply your technique to anything you play.
Kevin Saale
Talks to empty chairs
Join date: Dec 2007
140 IQ
#13
Quote by dragnet99
Sounds like the consensus is about selectively strumming, with muting being a backup approach at best, if at all.

One more addition to my original question with this in mind; if the trick is to simply hit the right strings to begin with (say, strings 4, 3, 2) does that go for traditional strumming patterns as well? In other words, is it a common skill among players to being able to strum down those strings, then strum back up, the same way one would strum all six for say, an E-major open chord? I somehow missed this technique from being mostly self-taught so this is pretty new to me.

Thanks!


Basically, yes. You should be able to maintain the strumming pattern you want no matter what strings you're strumming.

Learn some Van Halen rhythm parts, he did tons of stuff with just 2 or 3 notes and mostly simple chord shapes. Should let you focus on the strumming. Running with the Devil, Somebody Get Me a Doctor, and You Really Got Me are all good example in my opinion.
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Freepower
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Join date: Feb 2004
479 IQ
#14
In my experience (and apparently everyone else here differs) -

Muting is far, far more important than accurate strumming.

Usually good string muting gives you an extra string in terms of margin of error (you can hit the strings either side of the triad and still get them clear).

Can you post some example of the ones you struggle with?

Obviously you should be accurate too, but imho that's less important than making sure you can't hear mistakes whether you are or not.
dragnet99
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2012
80 IQ
#15
There aren't any specific triads I'm having trouble with. I'm still really just having trouble adjusting to the way this kind of strumming works. For nearly two years now I've been strumming open chords and barre chords, all six strings at a time, and occasionally muting the low-E for certain exceptions (C major, 5th-string root barres, etc.) So I can strum slowly, quickly, or whatever, and it always "just works".

But the idea of precisely hitting the first string in a group of say, three, strumming down to the last string in the group, and somehow wrapping that into the traditional strumming motion itself, then reversing it for the upstroke, all without touching the wrong strings, etc. etc. It's just WAY more difficult than anything else I've learned on guitar.

Plus, it seems like a tricky thing to gauge in terms of progress. It seems way too easy to accidentally strum 2 or 4 strings, let's say, and not even realize I did it. And my goal is to do everything I can do standing up, presumably not staring down at my guitar, so that just seems like a hard thing to ever feel secure about, since it'd be so easy to make the mistake unknowingly.

Anyway, I'm rambling because for the first time in two years of steady-ish progress, I find myself really struggling. Plus it seems like this is coming way more naturally to other players, so I'm finding very little specific documentation on how best to develop this skill.

(Thanks very much for all the help so far, though!)
Last edited by dragnet99 at Mar 19, 2013,
Kevin Saale
Talks to empty chairs
Join date: Dec 2007
140 IQ
#16
If you're trying to stop your picking motion that may be the issue. My picking motion that stays the same I just don't hit all the strings.
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Freepower
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#17
Plus, it seems like a tricky thing to gauge in terms of progress. It seems way too easy to accidentally strum 2 or 4 strings, let's say, and not even realize I did it. And my goal is to do everything I can do standing up, presumably not staring down at my guitar, so that just seems like a hard thing to ever feel secure about, since it'd be so easy to make the mistake unknowingly.


Absolutely, that's why muting is really important. (more important imho, because muting works whether you strike the right strings or not.)
dragnet99
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2012
80 IQ
#20
Seriously man, this was EXACTLY the video I was looking for all this time. Thanks again, I not only hugely appreciate it myself, but I have no doubt this will answer a lot of other people's questions.
MissingSomethin
Registered User
Join date: Mar 2013
100 IQ
#21
It's not about muting, though it helps. You just need to learn how to strum exactly 3 strings. It becomes automatic after some time.
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Freepower
v It's Back! :D
Join date: Feb 2004
479 IQ
#22
Quote by dragnet99
Seriously man, this was EXACTLY the video I was looking for all this time. Thanks again, I not only hugely appreciate it myself, but I have no doubt this will answer a lot of other people's questions.


Sorry I missed your replies for some reason, thanks so much for the appreciation, just pay it forward when you can next help someone out. ^^
dragnet99
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2012
80 IQ
#23
Quote by MissingSomethin
It's not about muting, though it helps. You just need to learn how to strum exactly 3 strings. It becomes automatic after some time.


I'm torn on this. As a follow up to my original post, I've since gotten very comfortable with major/minor triads in the top two string groups (root position + inversions), and for each shape, I've now developed an automatic muting technique for whichever strings are adjacent. So if I'm playing strings 3-2-1, I mute string 4 with the closest finger. It doesn't get me off the hook entirely, but it gives me a string's worth of "buffer".

My biggest problem with relying 100% on strumming accuracy is that the mistakes are sometimes too subtle to even notice, so it's a hard thing to practice effectively. Is it really that clear if certain strums are missing a string? I can easily miss something like that. If I have that extra muted string buffering me, though, I can widen my strum just a bit to ensure that worst case scenario, I'm strumming an extra muted string, and in the best case I'm getting all three.

Also, I really like the idea of eventually using these on stage. So if I'm standing up, moving around, not looking at what my hands are doing and so on, I just can't see myself ever feeling confident enough to rely 100% on strumming accuracy, especially when there are strings to be avoided both above and below (middle string sets, like 4-3-2). With some strategic muting, I can really get into the performance and not worry.

Lastly, I'm learning 4-string jazz chords at the moment and have carried over this technique there as well, where it's paying off in the same way. I'm building up a rather versatile collection of 3- and 4-string chords all over the neck that I can strum almost as freely as barre/open chords, which is a very fun and flexible way to play.

Anyway, I just wanted to provide my own insight since I can definitely say from [brief] experience at this point that the muting strategy feels good. Hats off to players who don't need it, but I'm not too proud to acknowledge that it helps me out quite a bit.
Last edited by dragnet99 at Apr 7, 2013,
MissingSomethin
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#25
dragnet, did you see the video I PM'ed you?
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