I'm fairly new to guitar and i need some help.

First off, i'm playing an acoustic guitar. I'm not a beginner yet not a master. I've been playing for a few months, i know a few scales, a dozen of riffs, a dozen of chords, i'd say i'm still starting out on guitar.

But recently i've came across a problem. When i focus on strumming, i screw up on fingering and generally fast playing. But, i'm strumming in an usual pattern. Only down, not up. I've came to this conclusion the following way:

I am learning the main riff of AC/DC's Thunderstruck. I'm currently using a metronome and playing at 90 BMP. I'm still building up speed. I'm learning it by picking and then doing a pull off, I'm picking one fret then the next note is a pull off. (I basically play it on the B string, frets (pt 1) 4-0-2-0 - (pt 2) 5-0-2-0; and every open string is a pull off). I know that in the original recording the player uses hammer-ons and pull-offs, but currently such fast combination of hammer-ons is too difficult for me.

So, let's get back to the strumming. I've noticed that i start hitting the wrong notes sometimes, and also at times i'm not doing the pull-off correctly.

My hammer-ons don't sound the best, but just to improvise, i used hammer-ons and pull-offs. I could play at a much faster rate than when i was picking. When picking i can go up to maybe 100BPM and be comfortable with it, but i think i was playing with hammer-ons and pull-offs at around 120 maybe. I noticed that it's quite a lot faster than when i pick. As i said, the only problem with this one is that i can't do hammer-ons that sound proper, they sound quieter than they should.

In conclusion, even the most basic picking pattern can distract me from proper fingering. How should i resolve this issue?

  • 1
    If coordination between the left and right hand is off, I'd take it as a sign that you should practice at a slower tempo. Slow down to a tempo where coordination does work. Do not increase tempo before you get it right on the slower speed. Dec 20, 2018 at 8:05
  • I think it's not the coordination, but you may be right.. I'll practice some more and try to find out if that's the issue. If so, i'll edit the thread again. Thanks.
    – Nikad
    Dec 20, 2018 at 8:50
  • 1
    There's nothing unusual in downstrokes only (one Chuck Berry solos book recommends downstrokes for some solos in Jonhy B.Good, arguably to make it sound like Chuck). But it's not a must. A piece of advice could be to learn slowly, bit by bit (as one site for piano players put it 'Eat the cake bit by bit, not the whole cake at once' ).
    – alexsms
    Dec 20, 2018 at 13:50

1 Answer 1


You need to realize that you are essentially multitasking which is impossible.

Guitarists need to train each hand independently then merge the two. This takes decades to master and can still cause problems in professional musicians when they attempt to learn a new piece or a new technique.

You don't learn to always strum and finger gracefully. What you learn is the correct method to train yourself to do new things.

If both hands are doing intricate things out of sync with each other you can help yourself by (1) practicing the right hand pattern on the open strings, muted strings, or on a single chord, until it is smooth and relaxed, then (2) practice the left hand pattern by tapping it on the fingerboard w/o strumming or with a simplified strumming pattern. Once each hand knows what it's doing you put them together.

In time the process will get easier and easier. The first time it may take weeks to master something, later it will take minutes. The issue is coordination. And you can help your self by slowing the pattern down and drilling it for a week or two before speeding up. The "trick" if you can call it that is to get the pattern in your muscle memory. When that happens you will be able to play it fast without thinking about it. If you try to push the tempo before you are ready you'll just train yourself to be stressed and accept sloppy mistakes.

This is the standard approach and has been for 100s of years. Train each hand separately then get them to work together.

On another note, don't just practice the songs you want to learn. Get your hands of some basic technique building resources or take lessons.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.