The Strum Keys Layout
- FingerpickPro includes a set of finger strums. These can be used in upfront ways such as a 'thumb-and-strum' style of playing, like pick-and-strum, but with fingers; or it can be used more unobtrusively as part of a picking pattern. It is not uncommon when picking chord patterns to replace some notes with strums on the top strings.
- In FingerpickPro you don't have to create the strums from multiple notes, but each strum is triggered by a single key. This is to make it easy to use strums in the context of the String Keys and Hammer-On/Pull-Off Keys. The Strum Keys simply become part of that whole chord based approach.
- When you trigger a chord select keyswitch the Strum Keys are included. So the whole set of String Key notes, HOPO notes, Auto-Bass notes and Strums all change with the change of keyswitch.
- The strum types and the keyboard layout is pictured below:
- All the Strum Keys are located in the octave starting at C4 (though the C4 key itself is one of the Auto-Bass keys). They are laid out as follows:
B4 - An 'arpeggio strum'* going down the top 5 strings
A#4 - An up strum on strings 2 and 3
A4 - A down strum on strings 2 and 3
G#4 - An up strum on the top 2 strings
G4 - A down strum on the top 2 strings
F#4 - An up strum on the top 3 strings
F4 - A down strum on the top 3 strings
E4 - A down strum on the top 5 strings
D#4 - An up strum on the top 4 strings
D4 - A down strum on the top 4 strings
C#4 - An 'arpeggio strum' going up the top 5 strings
*An 'arpeggio strum' is faster than an arpeggio but slower than a strum. It is a 'flourish' such as might be used at the end of a song, or a section.
- To make it easier to remember, where there are paired down/up strums these are on the adjacent white/black keys, such as F and F#.
Some Advice on Strums
- In general it will sound better only strumming the top three strings, and often using a down-stroke on the top three and an up-stroke on the top two. This is especially so with faster strumming, since when strumming a real guitar, the faster you strum the less time you have, so an up-strum on the top two strings will generally sound more realistic.
- Use the four string or full strum sparingly for best results. They are intended more for slower playing. The full strum is there mainly to play at the end of the song, or the end of a section, where you want to stop strumming for a period and let the last chord ring on.
- Most acoustic guitar playing involves a fairly continuous sound, with each note or strum allowed to ring on until cut off by a chord change. Not only that, on a real guitar, if you are strumming down on three or four strings and up on two, the lower strings keep sounding as well. So it is recommended that you extend the strum midi notes of both the down and up strokes till cut off by a strum of the same kind, or till the end of the bar.
- The illustration below shows a typical strumming pattern if you are doing a 'thumb-and-strum' style, playing a bass note with the thumb and strumming with the fingers on the top strings. See how the F4 and G#4 notes are both extended. If you are strumming the same chord in the next bar, extend the strum through till the next strum in that bar.
- Note that in this example the Auto-Bass Keys are playing Option #1 on G3/G#3, and combined with the strum notes this makes an all-chord midi file that will play a typical 'thumb-and-strum' pattern in any chord.
- Of course there are some styles when you want to cut the strums short to create a more rhythmic, punchy sort of sound. This is especially likely to be the case when using muted notes in the bass.
- If you are simply interspersing some strums in a picking pattern, just extend the strums as much as seems indicated by the pattern and the overall sound.
- Try experimenting with top 2 strums and string 2/3 strums to get the sound to fit in better with the picking pattern. A top 2/3 string strum will often be better when you don't want the strum sound competing with a previous picked note that is lower in pitch than the 1st string note in the chord.
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