Skip to main content

Enhance your picking with this great thumb upstroke guitar lesson

It's easy to overlook how much your picking hand can change your guitar playing; especially when it comes to breaking out of comfort zones with fingerstyle to try a new picking style. Thumb upstrokes are an effective and accessible way to bring percussive dynamics to your chords and here, gifted Canadian solo artist Calum Graham teaches the perfect introductory lesson to get you started.

Elixir® Strings fingerstyle instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Calum learned the technique from French-Canadian virtuoso Antoine Dufour and he demonstrates to us how upstroke thumb playing can be done with or without a thumb pick - the choice is yours. 

View and download the tab for the lesson

In this guitar lesson, Calum takes us through the technique step-by-step at a manageable pace,  adding upstrokes to a simple chord progression. He then demonstrates how to integrate arpeggiated parts in your guitar playing for even greater effect.  

Calum Graham

(Image credit: Calum Graham )

Still in his twenties, Calum Graham has released five solo albums to date and has won fans around the world, including praise from Andy McKee. He plays in a wide variety of alternate tunings and relies on Elixir®  Phosphor Bronze strings with NANOWEB Coating. "Elixir are the only strings I've found to date that consistently stay in tune and sound great even after multiple live concerts and frequent tuning changes," says Calum.   


(Image credit: Elixir)

For more information on the full Elixir® range visit Elixir® Strings and to find out more about Calum Graham visit