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Essential Strumming Patterns – Rhythm Guitar Lesson #9

October 22, 2019

Hi! I’m Nate Savage and welcome to video
9 of the Rhythm Guitar Quick-Start Series. In this lesson, we’re going to go over some
of the most fundamental strumming patterns that you’re going to need to know as a rhythm
guitar player. These strumming patterns are kind of like the fundamental building blocks
that you’re going to be using to build a lot of your strumming patterns in the future
and if you can get this down really well, it’s going to make learning new strumming
patterns a lot easier for you. Some of these are probably going to seem pretty
simple to you but it’s very important that you get these down very well. I have a jam
track for you. What we’re going to do is use just the drum jam track or loop that we’ve
been using over the past few lessons to work on these simple strumming patterns.
Before we jump into the strumming patterns that we’re going to learn in this lesson,
I want to go over some simple strumming technique tips with you, just to make sure that we’re
all on the same page. The first tip that I have for you is to relax. By that, I mean
don’t tense up. If you’re tense when you strum, it’s going to do a couple of things.
It’s going to make your playing not really sound fluid and you’re going to get tired
easily. The first tip is to relax. The second tip goes kind of hand in hand with that and
that is to not just lock your wrist and strum from your elbow. What you want to do is make
sure that your wrist is relaxed and not locked up. That way, you’re going to have some
fluidity again in your playing and you won’t be so rigid. You won’t get tired as easy.
One way to kind of incorporate this or think about this is to pretend like you have something
stuck on your finger and you’re just trying to flick it off. If you think about that,
my elbow is still moving but there’s a lot of motion coming from my wrist too and it’s
really relaxed. Remember those couple of tips. As we move
forward, you should be good to go. The first strumming pattern we’re going
to look at is a basic eighth note strumming pattern that uses all down strokes and if
you’ve never counted eight notes before, I’ll teach you how to do that real quick.
Usually when you have a song that’s going on, you have an underlying pulse like 1, 2,
3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4. Those would be quarter notes and for this strumming pattern, we need eight
notes. So basically we’re going to double that and to do that we count 1 and 2 and 3
and 4 and 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and…the key here when doing this eight note strumming
pattern with all downstrokes is to concentrate on keeping the notes even and in time. This
may seem like a really simple strumming pattern again but it’s really great for concentrating
on developing your timing and feel on the guitar. For the rest of these strumming patterns,
I’m just going to be playing a regular G chord. And here is how this one would sound
over the jam track. The next essential strumming pattern that
we’re going to go over uses the same exact same rhythm as the last one but instead of
using all downstrokes, we’re going to be using alternating down and upstrokes. A lot
of newer guitar players have trouble with their upstrokes, so I’m going to give you
two tips that will help you get these upstrokes down really well. The first one is when I’m
playing a G chord and I make a downstroke, I generally hit all six strings. When I make
an upstroke, I’m only hitting about the top three of four strings. So don’t feel
like you have to hit all six strings with your upstrokes. Second tip I have for you
is don’t dig in too much of your pick on the strings on your upstroke, otherwise it
can be a little bit hard to get your pick through the strings. Just enough of the tip
of the pick to make the strings ring out in a volume that matches your downstroke, so
down, up… So, like I said, a straight eight note strumming
pattern again, so we’re going to have 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and…on the numbers you’re
going to be hitting downstrokes, on the ands you’re going to be hitting upstrokes. Here’s
how it will sound with the drums. Let’s take this eighth note strumming pattern one step further by putting some accents in with it. Being able to put accents in any
of your strumming pattern is a really valuable skill to have. Basically what I’m going
to do is go through this exact same pattern but I’m going to accent beats 2 and 4, so
the second and fourth downstrokes. So if you have 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and, you’re just
going to dig in to the strings a little bit more on 2 and 4. What this is going to do
is it’s going to kind of create a feeling like a drummer might be playing with you or
something like that. Here’s what it will sound like with the jam track. So using accents in a regular kind of meat and potato strumming pattern like this is a great way
to customize it to whatever song you’re playing too. You can tell if the strum is
supposed to be accented. There’s a little arrow, probably above the chord or the tab
on the sheet music. This next strumming pattern is a little bit
more involved but it’s still based on a regular straight eighth note strumming pattern. I call this one the down, down, up strumming pattern and it incorporates a concept called
the Constant Strumming Technique. And all that is, the Constant Strumming Technique,
is when you keep your eighth note strumming going, even if you don’t actually dig in
to the strings on one of the strums that you’re doing. And let me just show you this strumming
pattern that will become more apparent once we go through it. The basic counting for this
strumming pattern is 1, 2 and…so if you pay attention, my arm kept going just like
I normally would, 1 and 2 and, but I left out the first and, so the first upstroke I
didn’t dig into the string, so 1 and 2 and…just do that over and over again until you get
it. 1 and 2 and…1 and 2 and… so that’s the basic down, down, up strumming pattern. You can
do that over beats one and two and over beats three and four as well, so you have 1 and
2 and 3 and 4 and. The trick here is to keep your strumming arm going on the eighth notes
even when you don’t dig in to the strings. Here’s how it will sound with the jam track. Learning how to leave strums out of eighth note or sixteenth note strumming patterns
like this is a really valuable skill to have and speaking of sixteenth note strumming patterns,
our last strumming pattern that we’re going to go over is a straight sixteenth note strumming
pattern. If you don’t know how to count sixteenth notes, we’ll go over that real
quick. Sixteenth notes are basically when you have four evenly spaced strums over each
beat and the way you count sixteenth notes is 1 e and a 2 e and a 3 e and a 4 e and a…so
we have four syllables to count for each of the four strums contained on each beat. This
may seem pretty simple to you but there’s going to be a lot more strumming going on
with the sixteenth note strumming pattern. So be careful. Don’t let the pick fly out of
your hand and don’t tense up when you’re doing all those strumming. So start out slowly. If you have to grab a metronome and lower the tempo down, that’s totally fine. Work
on your strumming and you can even throw accents in with the sixteenth note strumming pattern
if you want to. Here’s how it will sound with the jam track. So now that you’ve been exposed to these fundamental strumming patterns, it’s important
that you pull up the jam track and start applying them to your open chords, your power chords
and your bar chords. Thanks for watching this video. In the next
lesson, we’re going to look at a completely different aspect of rhythm guitar playing
and that’s working on developing your timing and your feel. This is an incredibly important
topic for your overall musicianship, especially if you plan on recording or playing with other
people. If you have any questions about these strumming
patterns, just leave them here in the comments and I’ll get back to you. Otherwise, you
can email me [email protected] I’ll see you around.


  • Reply Daddy Six November 26, 2014 at 5:32 pm
    Is there any common ground with your instruction and what Mr. Kaufman is expounding on besides the equipment and practice?
    I mean, I've never had any contentions with those requirements. I think my frustration has always felt born out of a lack of structure…an ability for me to orient along a course.
    And although, your instructions are by far, the most comprehensive among many, this sense of being disoriented and directionless still has me by the throat, figuratively speaking, of course.
    Please accept my genuine thanks in advance, for taking the time to read my post.

  • Reply john luna December 28, 2014 at 4:54 am

    what is the relevance of guitar pick thickness?  Is it just personal preference or does it actually play a role in guitar playing ability?  Sound preference?  Dynamics?

  • Reply Prantik March 5, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    doin grt…

  • Reply John Kondrk April 6, 2015 at 12:09 am


  • Reply sujan thapa May 16, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    sir could you please explain me about eight note and sixteenth note???? i didnt understood it

  • Reply Jerry W June 28, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    I think I just learned the flick-a-booger technique… and it really helped me. I didn't realize how tense I was. Thank you Nate.

  • Reply OMNI PRESENT777 November 25, 2017 at 12:32 am

    Im a rhythm guitarist. And i meed to know some more strummings

  • Reply Ayaan Ahmad March 7, 2018 at 6:16 am

    Where is the jam track??

  • Reply Brian Monterosso November 9, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    Thank you so much Nate! Rhythm is my weakness. I was taking lessons that were interrupted. My teacher knew I wanted to learn lead, so he taught me scales, modes and CAGED. But I’ve always been limited by my sloppy rhythm. Your rhythm lessons look like just what I need.

  • Reply _ DRiZzLe223 March 4, 2019 at 1:49 am

    Dude !!!
    Thank you so much for making this ONE 🙂
    I appreciate all the hard work you put into these videos.

  • Reply jen f March 23, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    Hey Nate, bin watching your videos with interest. My guitar teacher said that 3/4 & 6/8 beats are same with double beats. I feel like 6/8 is the same as 2/2. I get confused while strumming 6/8. Please give me some tips & explain more about 6/8 strumming.

  • Reply Ed Queener October 20, 2019 at 11:41 pm

    Great strumming lessons, especially the 16's

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