Volume Control – Why is it important? 4 Strumming Exercises

Jan 13, 2024 | Learning Guitar, Online Guitar Lessons | 0 comments

Today we’re diving into the finer points of guitar strumming by exploring how you can enhance your technique and the impact of your playing by experimenting with volume control

Firstly, What is volume? Volume is the loudness and quietness of a sound. In music this comes under the banner of ‘dynamics’

The importance of Volume Control – why is it important?

Before we jump into the exercises, let’s understand why volume control is crucial for guitar strumming. By mastering volume dynamics, you can add depth, emotion, and variation to your playing. It allows you to create soft, delicate passages, as well as powerful, energetic strums. It’s a skill that can truly elevate your guitar playing.  



Pick a strumming pattern – D DU D DU (D = down | U = up) and Chords G C Em D  (I IV VI V in Key of G)

Part 1 – Dynamic Strumming

To begin, let’s work on dynamic strumming. 

Start by playing the chord sequence and strumming pattern above.  Begin playing with what you would consider to be an average volume (the volume here is dictated by how hard/soft you strike the strings with your strumming hand). 

  1. Once you’ve played the chord sequence twice, have a go at playing as quietly as you can. Now try and play even quieter. Once you’ve got a feel for how to hold the pick lighter and a softer strum, play the sequence round twice.
  2. Next we  play loud. You’ll need to hold the pick a bit firmer and put more pressure into your strum to create the volume. Don’t be shy, strum those strings hard, they can take it. Again, play the chord sequence twice.
  3. Next,  gradually increase the volume across all 4 chords – very quiet on G, a tiny bit louder on C, medium volume on D and LOUD on Em.  Do this twice. Focus on maintaining a consistent rhythm while gradually building up the intensity.
  4. Finally, reverse the process, starting loud and gradually decrease the volume. This exercise will help you develop control over your strumming dynamics.


Tips- often people slow down when they play quiet and speed up when they play loud, we need to maintain the same tempo throughout. Once you’re comfortable with the above rhythm, chord sequence and volume changes try playing along with a metronome to help keep your speed consistent.


  • Final exercise – play through the above 4 exercises back to back. Play 2 times round the chord progression for each one. 


Part 2 – Swells and Fades

This technique involves gradually increasing or decreasing the volume while strumming a chord. Start softly, gradually increase the volume, and then fade it out again. This technique is commonly used to create dramatic effects within a song. 

Today we’ll stick to the strumming pattern we’ve played above but to really play with the feel of the fade/swell we’re just going to stay on the G chord. 

Practise this technique with different chords and progressions to master the art of swells and fades. 

Extra tips:

  • Things that affect volume that you have control over – the pressure you strum the strings with, whether you use a pick or your fingers to strum with, the material and gauge of the pick – experiment with these.
  • The things that affect volume you don’t have control over – Size of guitar body, string gauge. Note: I’m referring to acoustic guitars – once you plug in to a pa or amp you have a volume dial too) the strumming exercises above will also create variation on electric guitars.


By incorporating volume control into your guitar strumming, you can take your playing to new heights. Remember to practise these exercises regularly, gradually increasing the difficulty as you progress. With time and dedication, you’ll notice a significant improvement in your guitar ability. 





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