Accents In Strumming

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Hey strummers, it’s Nate Savage here again. This lesson is going to take a look at adding accents to your strumming patterns. To do this we will take a look at a simple strumming pattern that uses some basic accents. Throwing accents into your strumming patterns can help make your rhythm guitar playing much more expressive, dynamic and interesting.

When you accent a strum you are basically just playing that particular down or upstroke a bit harder than all of the other strums in the pattern. Accented notes are usually indicated by a little arrowhead symbol right below the notes. This may seem like an overly simple topic, but I think that a lot of players underestimate the creative power of using accents in their playing.

Let’s take a look at a simple example to get the idea of how to start using accents in our strumming patterns. Play a simple sixteenth note strumming pattern with the “and” of each beat accented. You would count the strumming pattern like this “1 y and a 2 y and a 3 y and a 4 y and a.” When you strum the “and” of each beat, just dig in a little more and hit the strings harder in order to accent those strums. Make sure to use alternating down and upstrokes.

This example is pretty simple, but it does a good job of getting the idea of using accents across nicely. When you are coming up with your own strumming patterns, or learning new ones from your favorite songs, don’t forget that you can kick your self-expression up a serious notch simply by using a few accents here and there. If you are playing with other musicians make sure to keep an ear out for what they are playing. The accents that other players use will often dictate the accents that you should use in your playing. Next time we will take another simple but often overlooked way to make your strumming more expressive.

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