Basic Strumming Patterns

 
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Here are a number of basic strumming patterns to use as you learn the chords and chord progression taught on the site such as the ones in the open chord section. I plan to develop a section of the site that goes into strumming in quite a bit more detail however I believe it’s important to have a few basic strumming patterns your comfortable with to be able to use to get a bit of variety on any given chord progression you learn. These are presented here.

Firstly, all these patterns are in 4/4 time. That is there are 4 beats per bar and the majority of rock and pop songs are in 4/4.

In each of these patterns you might strum the string on any of the 4 beats and you may also strum on the off beat, which is half way between two beats. To get an idea of the beat, count “1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, …” along to most popular music songs and you will be counting on the beat. Then count out loud “1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and …”. Each “and” will be half way between one of the counts in the first count. Each of these “ands” is an off beat.

Strums can either be down strokes or up strokes. Typically a down stroke will be on the beat and an up stroke will be on the off beat.

We will notate a pattern as follows:

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
v     ^     v   v     ^     v

This example would have a down strike placed on beats 1 and 4 and an upstroke on the off beat of beat 2. You would then keep repeating the pattern as long as desired.

We will also include the rhythmic notation of the patterns in case your familiar with this notation.

Strumming Pattern 1.

The first introductory strumming pattern simply places a down stroke on each beat:

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
v   v   v   v   v   v   v   v 

The rhythmic notation is simply:

Strumming Pattern 2:

Another pattern that simply uses down strokes on the beat is:

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
v   v       v   v   v       v 

Strumming Pattern 3:

This pattern introduces an upward strum on an off beat.

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
v     ^     v   v     ^     v

Strumming Pattern 4:

We can now start to add more strums to our patterns:

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
v ^ v   v   v ^ v ^ v   v   v ^

Strumming Pattern 5:

Now we can start to place an emphasis on the off beat. A practice called syncopation:

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
v   v ^   ^ v ^ v   v ^   ^ v ^

Strumming Pattern 6:

Here’s a more advanced pattern that repeats every 8 beats rather than every 4 beats:

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
v   v   v ^ v ^   ^   ^ v ^ v ^

As you learn these patterns also try coming up with some of your own. Strumming patterns are an easy way to add your own unique sound to a chord progression in the earlier stages of learning the instrument.

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  One Response to “Basic Strumming Patterns”

  1. Wow so much strumming to learn with the different chord progression……thank you

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