Friday 4 May 2012
How To Quickly Master Your Guitar Strumming Patterns and Rhythms
Strumming the guitar can be frustrating if you are not shown the proper way to think and if you don’t allow yourself some time to master some basic guitar rhythm skills.
Here are some fundamental concepts that I want you to think about when practicing strumming.
- Mute the guitar strings with your fretting hand (if you are a “righty”, this would be your left hand). This will allow you to focus all of your attention on your strum.
- For the following exercises, the numbers will ALWAYS be “down strums” (strumming towards the floor), while the “+” symbol (also known as the “and” of the beat) will ALWAYS be an “up strum”. This is the KEY to good strumming. Be diligent with this basic principle.
- Each strum should be equal distance from the last. If you are counting 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +, the count should be smooth and even like a watch or clock ticking (unless you are “swinging the beat”, which is not recommended before learning a basic straight strum).
- Say the rhythm out loud, slowly. Once you get the idea, try to say that same rhythm in a seam less “loop”(meaning, don’t stop at the end of the 4+). Once you get the hang of this, it should stream together like 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
- Once you can count it smoothly like this, strum it slowly and steadily. If you are new to strumming, try to the very first strum, which is 4 down strums on the down beats.
- When the strum calls for a space or void like 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 or 1 + 2 + 3 4+ , your hand should STILL move as if it were going to hit the strings. This way your down strums will always be where your down beats are and your up strums will be where your up beats are. Get it?
For a video representation of this technique, check this video out:
Remember to TAKE IT SLOW and don’t get the fretting hand involved until you feel consistent about the strumming hand. With diligent time and practice you will get REALLY good at this.
Thanks for reading!
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Erich Andreas has been playing and teaching guitar for nearly 30 years. He has taught 100s of students for 1000s of hours, has authored several books on the subject, has over 40,000,000 video views on his collective YouTube channels and is passionate about creating guitar ninjas all over the world. His philosophy is, if you have the right instruction and do the practice there is NOTHING that you cannot accomplish!