If you are a fan of bluegrass music then you will love this lesson because you will be learning THE basic bluegrass strumming pattern. I learned this pattern a long time ago when my dad taught it to me after he came back from a bluegrass jam session. You can find bluegrass jam sessions all over the place. Check out the Internet to see if there are any in your area. Don’t worry if you are not the greatest bluegrass guitar player because these jam sessions usually have groups for beginner, intermediate and advanced players. Just show up and join a circle. You don’t have to know a lot. In fact you can get through a whole night of playing with just the strumming pattern that we will be learning in this lesson and a capo.
This strumming pattern isn’t really that difficult but it can get difficult depending on the tempo of the song that you are playing. We will be in the key of G major for this lesson and the chords that we will be using are the open G, C and D chords.
Make a regular open G chord. Play the 6th string with a downstroke. Strum the top four strings twice with a downstoke and then an upstroke. Now play the 5th string with a down stroke and strum the top four strings again using a downstroke and an upstroke. That is the whole strumming pattern. If you look at the TAB you will see that you repeat the strumming pattern four times for the G chord before moving to the C chord.
Now we need to apply the strumming patter to a C chord. Make an open C and play the strumming pattern. This time the bass notes will be on the 5th and 4th strings instead of the 6th and 5th strings. Start on the 5th string with a downstroke and then strum the top three strings twice with a downstoke and then an upstroke. Play the 4th string with a down stroke and then strum two more times. Play this pattern four times for the C chord before moving to the D chord.
Get a regular open D chord in place and play the 4th string with a downstroke and then strum the top three strings twice with a down up. Play the 5th string with a downstroke and then strum the top three strings twice with a down up. Play the pattern for the D chord four times.
Finish off the progression by playing the strumming pattern on the G chord four more times. Repeat the progression until you feel comfortable with the strumming pattern
The hardest part about this strumming pattern is probably hitting the correct strings for the bass notes in between the strumming parts. Take it slowly and your picking hand will start to remember where the bass notes are and which ones go with each chord.