Basic Strumming Patterns
In this guitar lesson we are going to cover some basic guitar strumming patterns. Strumming patterns are something that most beginners struggle with until they have learned a few. Once they get a few in their head, a light bulb usually comes on and they can begin to figure out other strumming patterns and even make up their own. The five strumming patterns that we have chosen are all in the key of G and move from very simple to more complex. We have provided you with the tab and notation for the five strumming patterns that we will be learning as well as the chord diagrams for the chords that we will be using. Be sure to pay attention to the up and down stoke indicators for your left hand located at the bottom of each line of tab. Learn how to read guitar tabs and notation here!
The first strumming pattern that we will be learning is a straight quarter note pattern. Your right hand is using all down strokes.
The second strumming pattern is very similar to the first one. Instead of playing all quarter notes we will be using all eighth notes. This means that you will have twice as many notes to strum. Instead of using all down stokes, try alternating up and down strokes to make your strumming more efficient.
Our third strumming pattern is a combination of eighth notes and quarter notes. Think of this strumming pattern as playing a group of three eighth notes, one quarter note and another group of three eighth notes. This strumming pattern would be great in a ballad.
You may have heard something like this fourth pattern if you listen to Three Doors Down or other alternative pop bands. This strumming pattern is made up of groups of four sixteenth notes. If you look at the strumming pattern for your right hand, you will see that it is just four alternating down and up strokes. This is indicated at the bottom of each line of tab. You will probably notice that there are some rests between the groups of sixteenth notes. When a rest is indicated, make sure that you mute the strings and do not let them ring out.
The last strumming pattern that we are going to learn may look a bit intimidating on the sheet music, but it really is not that hard. I suggest that you watch this pattern several times to get it into your head before trying to read the rhythms on the sheet music.
Take these basic strumming patterns and use them as a stepping stone to start figuring out some strumming patterns in your favorite songs.