If you’re just starting out on the guitar, one of the first things you’ll need to learn is how to strum. Strumming is essential for playing songs, and there are many different strumming patterns that you can use. Let’s discuss beginner strumming patterns that are easy to learn and will help you start playing your favorite songs!
What you should know about strumming patterns
Learning how to strum is a great skill for any musician. It’s easy, and you can do it right on the spot!
It’s important for guitarists to have an understanding of how different strums will affect their sound, and what kind might be best suited in certain situations or types music genres like folk vs rock n’ roll.
With the guitar in your hands, it’s time to start learning how. The process of strumming patterns will teach you all about rhythm and timing which are crucial for music performance.
Here are 7 easy steps to strumming patterns:
1. The basics of strumming
Before we get into the different strumming patterns, let’s first go over the basics of strumming. There are a few things you need to know in order to start strumming:
- Find the right spot on the strings to place your fingers.
First, you need to find the right spot on the strings to place your fingers. This is called finding “the sweet spot.” The sweet spot is the spot on the string that gives you the clearest, most consistent sound. You can find it by playing a note and gently touching different parts of the string until you find the one that sounds best.
- Make sure that your strumming hand is in the correct position.
Second, you need to make sure that your strumming hand is in the correct position. You’ll want to make sure that your strumming arm is relaxed. Don’t tense up as you’re playing – let the motion of your arm flow naturally from your shoulder and glide over the strings.
- Make sure that your strumming motion is smooth.
Third, you need to make sure that your strumming motion is smooth. You don’t want to be hitting the strings too hard or too softly. Instead, try to find a middle ground where you are gently brushing the strings with each stroke.
- Make sure that your strumming is consistent.
Finally, you need to make sure that your strumming is consistent. This means that you should always use the same motion and stroke the strings in the same place each time.
Once you have mastered these basics, you are ready to start learning some different strumming patterns!
2. Learn how to count the beats.
When strumming, you will want to make sure that your strokes are consistent and fall on the beat. You can count out loud or in your head to help keep time as you play.
The basic beat for most music is “four/four time.” This means that there are four beats in each measure and that each quarter note gets one beat. When you count out loud, say “one-two-three-four” as you strum.
If the song has a different time signature, you will need to adjust your counting. For example, if a song is in “three/four time,” you would count “one-two-three” as you strum.
It’s important to be familiar with the different time signatures so that you can keep time properly while strumming.
Once you have mastered counting the beats, it’s time to start learning some beginner strumming patterns!
3. Downstrokes and upstrokes
This is the most basic strumming pattern and it’s a good place to start if you are just beginning to learn how to strum. It will help you get used to using the correct strumming motion and hand position.
You can also play this pattern with a metronome to help you keep time. Start by playing the downstroke and upstroke using an 8th note strumming pattern.
For example, if you are playing in eighth notes, your strumming pattern would look like this:
- 1+ 2+ 3+ 4+ or 1n 2n 3n 4n
- DU – DU – DU – DU
4. Strumming in time with a metronome
Once you have mastered the basics, you can start practicing strumming in time with a metronome. This will help you to develop better timing and rhythm.
To practice strumming with a metronome, start by setting the metronome to 60 beats per minute (bpm). You can also try playing other rhythms with a metronome. Experiment with different combinations to find ones that you like.
Once you have mastered strumming in time with a metronome, you can start adding some more complex strumming patterns to your repertoire.
5. Adding variety to your strums.
The basic strumming pattern is a great place to start, but it can get a little boring after a while. You can add some variety to your strums by adding in some accents.
Experiment with strumming dynamics by giving different accents using the same pattern. DU – DU – DU – DU (1+ 2+ 3+ 4+)
- Accent on 2 and 4: DU – DU – DU – DU
- Accent on 3 only: DU – DU – DU – DU
- Accent on 1 (full strum) and strum on strings 1 to 3 for the rest of the beats. DU – DU – DU – DU
6. Some basic strumming patterns to get you started in 4 beats
- D – D – DU – DU (1 2 3+ 4+ or 1 2 3n 4n)
- DUD – U – U – UDU
- D – DU – D —
- D-DU-DU-D (1 -2n- 3n- 4)
- D-DU-*U-D (down, down-up, up-down) the most common pattern of all time
7. Tips for practicing your strums:
- Start with a slow tempo and gradually increase the speed.
- Practice in different rhythms, including alternating downstrokes and upstrokes.
- Use a metronome to help you stay on time.
- Experiment with different strumming patterns to find what works best for you.
- Be patient and keep practicing
Some factors to consider when strumming:
When strumming your guitar, there are a number of things to consider. Here are some basic pointers to get you started:
- The type of guitar you’re playing.
The kind of guitar, acoustic or electric, will affect the kind of strumming pattern you use. Different guitars have different sounds and this will be a big factor in what kind of music you want to play.
- The genre of music you’re playing.
The genre of music will also dictate the type of strumming pattern you use. For instance, rock uses a different strumming pattern than country or classical.
- How hard or soft you’re strumming.
Light strumming will create a softer sound, while hard strumming will be louder and more aggressive. You’ll want to match the strumming to the mood of the song.
- The type of pick you’re using.
There are many different types of guitar picks available on the market including plastic, metal, and so on. Each pick will create a different sound. You’ll want to experiment with different picks to find the one that you like best or one that suits your style of play.
The sound of your strum is also affected by how fast, strong and steeply you hold the pick.
- The speed of your strum.
The speed of your strumming will also affect the sound. Faster strumming will create a more energetic sound, while slower strumming will be more relaxed.
- Which hand, right or left, is doing the majority of the work?
It’s not only a consequence of one hand working hard; it’s also about how well each hand executes its function. Without the left hand’s adequate fretting ability, your strumming hand will not succeed.
You can use a pick, your thumb, or a combination of both.
As you become more comfortable with the guitar, you’ll develop your own unique strumming style. This is a combination of the other factors, as well as what feels natural to you.
Once you’ve considered all of these factors, it’s time to choose a strumming pattern. There are countless strumming patterns out there, so don’t feel like you have to learn them all at once. Start with a few basic patterns and build from there.
How to create your own strumming patterns
Now that you know some basic strumming patterns, it’s time to start creating your own. Always identify the time signature, or the number of beats in a bar or measure, first if you’re starting from scratch. Then, you may use quarter notes, eighth or sixteenth notes, or a mix of these notes.
One of the best ways to create your own strumming patterns is to take a simple pattern and change it. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination. Try combining different strumming patterns and chords to create something completely new.
The possibilities are endless!
Once you have the basic strumming patterns down, start listening to some songs that you like and try to figure out the strumming pattern.
When you’re strumming a song, always think of the rhythm more than anything else. It’s the rhythm that gives a song its groove and makes it feel alive. You may strum various strumming patterns from that rhythm, you’ve got endless possibilities.
There are many different strumming patterns to choose from, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t know how to play them all yet. Just keep practicing and you’ll get there eventually!
Practice, practice, practice! The more you practice, the better you will get. And don’t forget to have fun!