House of the Rising Sun – Modulation Question

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    Hey there!

    I just started learning House of the Rising Sun and have a small issue. The strumming part is taking form in my rîght hand but I have some difficulties modulating the volume of the different Strums. Matt is playing the whole thing in a quite mellow way despite it’s speed and maintains a more or less level volume during the whole strumming sequence. I on the other hand play much louder on the Index down strokes over the whole chords, which kind off messes with the appeal of the Ghost Notes.

    A (big?) bart of the Issue might be that I heavily groomed my Nails for fingerpicking (in an angled, ramp like fashion) and that I don’t have much skin / flesh contact on down strokes which would probably produce a more mellow sound on these.

    TLDR: Question is, is there a way to better modulate the sound / volume of index down strums without changing the Shape of my Nails (I attached a Pic of the current shape, in case that helps)

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    This is a tricky one, but the answer lies in how your finger strikes the string – your nails shouldn’t be a problem. Try to allow your finger tips to have some “give by” to them as they go along the strings. Think of it like a stiff pick vs a flexible pick. You want your finger to be like the flexible pick and have bend to it in your first knuckle as you go across the strings. The zen way of looking at it is to think that you aren’t as much moving your strings with your finger as much as you are moving your finger with the strings.

    Oh, and practice! 😉

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by mattukulele.

    Hi Matt!

    That is quite the relief. If it can be done with dedication and practice I’ll get there for sure 🙂

    Practice alone might have brought me there further down the road but I wanted to avoid cementing a bad habit while leanrning something new rhythm wise. Thanks for the valuable tip and the neat Zen Wisdom bit – I might quote you on that 😉



    In the Rising Sun strum part the modulation is a problem so thanks for tips. Also I a problem striking the entire chord on down strokes as I up tempo. Silly question I suppose, but is the solution simply to square up the stroke? Or maybe it is not that important?


    It’s most important to focus on the melody notes, which are on the A string. It’s ok to directionalize (is that a word? :D) your fingers motion so it focuses more on the A and E strings to help pronounce the melody.

    Remember, the ultimate golden rule of playing is, “Does it sound good?”. If it sounds great, don’t worry if you aren’t squared up on the up strum. 🙂

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