Articles, Blog

The Single Most Important Guitar Strumming Pattern

October 13, 2019

(strumming guitar) – Hey, I’m Nate
Savage from Guitareo, and I wanna talk to you a little
bit about strumming today. Strumming is one of those
techniques on the guitar that’s so critical
and fundamental that it’s worth putting in some extra time to get
it to a high level. In fact, it’s so important that I’m including it as one of the techniques
I’m talking about in the new course that
I’ve been working on, that proves how
putting in concerted, focused, practice time to develop critical fundamentals and really good technique
with those fundamentals, can get you better, way
faster, on the guitar. But for this video today,
what we’re gonna talk about, is the single, most
important strumming pattern to develop your
strumming technique. And you may be
saying to yourself, Nate, how can you say that? There is no one, single, most
important strumming pattern. Well, that may be true but the strumming pattern
that I’m gonna show you is so chock-full of
strumming techniques that when you get it
down and you can play it, your strumming’s gonna
come up to a higher level and you’re gonna have
a lot easier time figuring out strumming patterns
in your favorite songs, and coming up with your
own strumming patterns. So let’s jump into
the strumming pattern. I’m gonna break it down
into five easy steps. That way, no matter
what level you’re at, you can jump in whenever
you feel comfortable. Now the first part of
this strumming pattern, to get started, all
you’re gonna do, is work on your down
strokes on quarter notes. So one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, and I’m not making
any chords right now just so we can concentrate
on our strumming. But when you’re working
on down strokes, you’re gonna be really
focusing on your technique. And the number one thing
that I see guitar players do, or newer guitar players, when they’re working
on down strokes, is lock their wrist and
just strum from the elbow. And that can really hurt you. It can make it difficult
to get through the strings. It can make it difficult to keep up with the
tempo of the song. So what you do is just loosen up and strum from your
wrist and your elbow, and get kind of a
rotation in there. Pretend like you’re
trying to flick something off of your hand. And that’s a really good
foundational technique for down strokes. And you can go a long way with just down strokes
in your strumming, if your technique
is really good, they can sound really good and they’re really usable in
a lot of different situations. So that’s step number one, one, two, three, four. Just remember, stay relaxed,
don’t lock your wrist, and use that rotational
kind of movement. And only dig in as much
of the pick as you need to in the strings to make it sound. And I was playing a G7 (strumming guitar) in that little playing
at the beginning. (strumming guitar) So you can put
that on it like… (strumming guitar) So that’s step number one. If you’re new to
strumming, get that down, spend some, focus on this. Step number two is the
opposite of downstrokes, and it’s upstrokes. A lot of newer players
have trouble with upstrokes because they tend to
focus on just downstrokes and neglect their upstrokes. The two tips I have for
you for your upstrokes, same thing, just on one two, three, four. Tip number one is that you don’t have to hit all six
strings on your upstrokes. Oftentimes I’ll only hit the
top three to five strings on my upstrokes, so don’t feel like you
have to hit all six strings when you’re playing upstrokes. Also, the second thing
for your upstrokes is don’t dig too much of your
pick into the strings, or it can get caught
in the strings, and it can feel like
it’s really tough to get through the strings. Only use as much of
the pick as you need, just the tip of it, to get through the strings
and make it sound good. So those two things: only
the top few strings maybe, and then just enough of
the pick to get it through. So work on that technique,
and really develop that. It’s gonna make it a lot easier to learn more complex
strumming patterns. So one, two, three, four. So then one, two, three, four. And actually look
back at your hand, and think about all those tips. Think about the ones
for the downstrokes. Think about the ones
for the upstrokes too. Taking time to develop your
technique on this level will really help you be able to play a lot more
complex strumming patterns in the future. So work on your downstrokes
and your upstrokes by themselves, and then
you can put them together. That’s step number three. So instead of just
all downs or all ups, you’re gonna alternate downs
and ups on eighth-notes, so you have one-and,
two-and, three-and, four-and. And it may be a little
bit difficult to
think about the tips for the ups and the
downs at the same time, but slow it way down (strums guitar) and think about everything all the tips that
we’ve gone over so far. So keep that rotational
movement in there. On your upstrokes, don’t feel like you have to
dig in to all six strings, maybe only the top three to
five strings, stay relaxed, really look back at
your strumming hand, and also one tip I
have here for you is a lot of players
find it difficult to kind of hold onto the
pick as they’re strumming, especially with upstrokes. They find that it kind of
flies out of their hands. So what you can do is just kind of constantly adjust
that pick in your fingers to keep it where you want it, or you can use two fingers to
kind of hold onto that pick. I do that a lot if I’m
doing some faster strumming, but that’s step number three: putting your downs
and ups together. one-and, two-and, three-and, four-and. Only dig enough of the
pick into the strings to make the sound you want. I’m gonna put that G7 on here. (strumming guitar) Stay relaxed. Do that rotational
movement in there. That’s step number three, so take some time throughout
the next week or two, or however long it takes, and develop alternating down-up, down-up, one-and, two-and, three-and, four-and. Step number four
incorporates something that’s really critical for
developing your strumming, and it’s called the constant
strumming technique, and believe it or not, we’ve already been
incorporating this on the first two steps. Check it out. When you’re going
through step number one, doing all downstrokes, you kept your hand going, down-up, down-up, down-up, down-up, even though you weren’t
digging into the strings on your upstrokes. So you kept your constant
strumming technique going, one-and, two-and, three-and, four-and. But you didn’t dig into the
strings for those upstrokes, and that is what the constant
strumming technique is. So for step four, we’re gonna
learn what I would consider a real-life constant
strumming technique pattern, and the pattern is one-and, two-and, so just two downstrokes
on beats one and two, and then for beats three
and four you’re gonna have down-up, down-up. So one-and, two-and, three-and-four-and. So two quarter-notes, and
then four eighth-notes. Let me do it again. One-and, two-and, three-and-four-and, one-and, two-and, three-and-four-and. So that is your mission. You need to get that
strumming pattern down, and we’re almost there. We only have one
step after this, so one-and, two-and, three-and-four-and. And remember, all of the technique tips
we’re gone over so far, as far as the downstrokes
and the upstrokes, staying relaxed, one-and, two, three-and-four-and, one, two, three-and-four-and, one, two, three-and-four-and. Let me put some chords on. I’m gonna throw that
G7 chord on here and let you hear how
this sounds in context. One, two, three, four. (strumming guitar) So if that’s new for you, if
that level of strumming is new, take some time, a couple
weeks, get it down, and do some really
intense, focused practice. Focus on just the
strumming pattern at first, and then put some
chords with it. The last step to get us to kind of our ultimate
strumming pattern is to put a muted strum in
with our strumming pattern. And you already
know the pattern, all you have to do is
incorporate one more technique to kind of make the
strumming pattern come alive and make it a little bit more
percussive, and it’s this: on the downstroke of beat three, you’re gonna add a muted strum, so all it is, is you
lift up all the pressure on whatever chord you’re making, so we’re kind of muting
the strings, right, and you mute the strings
with your palm as you go through them, so there’s not really
any notes ringing out. (strums muted strings) It’s more percussive, so one, two, three-and-four-and. So it may take you a
while to get used to doing that kind of muted
strum through the strings, and that’s something that
you can practice on its own to make it really
tight and percussive, and don’t be afraid to be a
little rough with the guitar to make it sound more
like a snare drum. That’s what we’re kind of
trying to imitate here. So one, two, three-and-four-and, one, two, three-and-four-and. (strumming guitar) So that’s, to me, the
ultimate strumming pattern that incorporates a lot
of different techniques that can get you to a new,
higher level in strumming. Take each one of these. If you’re a beginner,
start with level one, and you’ll go through the steps. If you’re more of a
intermediate player, get this fifth version of
the strumming pattern down, and see what it can
do for your playing. Getting the right technique down can really make or break
your practice time, and applying that technique to
critical guitar fundamentals will help you get better faster. That’s what this new course that I’ll be
announcing very soon really concentrates on, so
to find out more about it, sign up for updates,
or leave comments. You can follow the
link below this video. Stay tuned, it’s coming out very soon.


  • Reply Anjuma Jenifar December 30, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    you are really a very amazing teacher…

  • Reply Caraman David December 30, 2017 at 2:10 pm


  • Reply ThisisE Tv December 30, 2017 at 2:22 pm


  • Reply kanao tsuyuri December 30, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    i,m worst at changing chords can someone tell me why?i've have practise so hard but i could't do it, πŸ™

  • Reply Mr. Bounce! December 30, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    omg the last tip is awesome gonna try…I am a little experienced level player

  • Reply Stephanie Guilmenot December 30, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Thanks for the last level. Strumming can sound so monotonous. Happy New Year.

  • Reply joe joseph December 31, 2017 at 3:10 am

    Awesome stuff!
    What taylor are you using btw ? πŸ™‚

  • Reply Nicholas Moore December 31, 2017 at 3:44 am

    I noticed a slight change to your fretting hand… A wedding ring. Congrats!

  • Reply Sarah Ivette January 2, 2018 at 3:15 am

    Which is that guitar? I like it.

  • Reply Jim Dankernoggins January 5, 2018 at 12:51 am

    Wondering what the right hand mute/strum thingy is called on the last exercise? Thanks! Great video and videos!

  • Reply SC Champ January 28, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Sir if we get used to the strumming pattern shown in this video…will we be able to make the previous learnt strumming pattern easier or we will forget it?…pls reply

  • Reply Bebopflea January 28, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    What speed would you suggest if I was to practice strumming with a metronome? I have been practicing daily and am receiving lessons

  • Reply Matthew Bridglall February 3, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Nate your the boss

  • Reply No Name April 15, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    And here I thought I forgot everything I learnt years ago. My hands still remember!

  • Reply Minecraft PE in Hindi With Johnoraph April 29, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    Sir Thank you very much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Really i've been able to learn so easily and quickily. Thanks for your help.

  • Reply Rich Braymiller May 3, 2018 at 3:51 am

    no a fan of the percussive strum

  • Reply Tracy May 5, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    This is the first video that has made me confident to actually pick up the guitar I bought where I was offered to be taught and the person reneged and I thought whats the point, I may as well sell it. Now, I can say that the first step is to practice this and teach myself πŸ™‚

    Thank you!

  • Reply Mehran Ujjan May 11, 2018 at 9:35 am

    I wish someone would teach how to practice striking ONLY the strings needed for a given chord, especially on the upstroke, whether it's 3 strings only, 4, or 5. Depending on the chord, the downstroke has you omitting certain strings at the beginning or top of the strum, i.e. either string 6, or 5 and 6, or 4, 5, and 6. But all remaining strings are strummed down to the 1st string. If this isn't difficult enough, the upstroke is even harder. In chords that don't use all 6 strings, you must stroke the first 3, 4, or 5 strings (which means strings 1, 2, and/or 3 depending on the chord), then avoid having the pick strike strings 4, 5, and/or 6. This seems very difficult, yet no one talks about it. It's overlooked in all the many lesson videos online, yet it's a required ability to keep from including notes in chords that aren't suppose to be heard. In fact, I have yet to find even ONE lesson video that discusses this. The most I've seen is how to wrap the thumb over the 6th string to mute it, thereby allowing the player to keep stroking all 6 strings without worrying about not touching the 6 string, but this seems like a cop out. It doesn't solve the other problems of 3 and 4 string chords, and a muted note is still a faint sounding note that shouldn't be heard at all. Why doesn't anyone talk about this and how to practice it? It seems to be the most difficult aspect of strumming.

  • Reply Captain Ron May 14, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    By watching these videos I am rolling on the floor in laughter if you can't strum a guitar when I can tell you to do is take it out back and shoot it you have no rhythm you will never have any rhythm no matter how many techniques you watch on this guy's video everybody that's good on the guitar has their own technique of Planet guitar yes they are generic ways of playing a guitar but in reality a person that's not a beginner a person that thinks they can play but a person knows he can play in other people's enjoy his playing knows that he has his own style his own Rhythm technique his own chord changes and the way he holds the pic or openly finger picks on the strings yes all these videos and might help you but eventually they will frustrate you to the point where you need to take your guitar and take it out back and shoot it it will be a nice conversation peace and you might be able to Dazzle Somebody by doing some amazing chord tricks like is this D or G or B or maybe it's an E minor I don't know what is an E minor or an E major? For all you people out there watching these videos good luck in your endeavors on playing a guitar if you do not have the Rhythm you do not have the time to play the guitar yes a lip wrist is better on strumming down and up Strokes not locking your elbow but maybe sometimes your style is locking your elbow and strumming up and down it's everybody's preference I've been playing guitars for years I've been in bands with big names and I've been in bands with no names matter fact I'm in a band right now that does not have a name haha but that's okay they have their own style and you're not playing somebody else's music they have their own music and they are perfecting it maybe you should learn how to play a song and it's in your heart and in your mind and of your experiences in life not somebody else's song it never works out because they will compare you to what's on the radio and when you make a fool yourself your face will turn red and then you'll take your guitar out back and shoot it like the dog it is good luck in your endeavors The Wrecking Crew

  • Reply Ivan McAleese May 20, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    Show the method and talk less

  • Reply Joel Cohen May 22, 2018 at 1:29 am

    yeah that was great . Keep me posted.

  • Reply Paul Wood June 8, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    you have really long fingers, this must be a great advantage…..

  • Reply Lonnie Christopher June 20, 2018 at 4:00 am

    ….Good info………I will take a lifetime to continue learning strumming….but I'm getting by on a lot of songs by using a "4- Square" pattern……that is….going in a square……or a type of circle… works….

  • Reply richwiz2 July 8, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Thank-you, Nate; my strum is a bit haphazard and this could help get my form right; it sounds good, too.

  • Reply Slashley gibbins July 8, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    That guitar is a beauty. I have 214 deluxe and it’s lovely; yours must be really great!

  • Reply mitch rawles July 9, 2018 at 8:45 am


  • Reply Ogawa San July 16, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    Bought my first guitar ever 4 days ago … it was my first time touching a guitar … and i'm already learning really fast thanks to your great videos … thaank you so much for sharing all of your experience and wisdom with us !

  • Reply Keith Lee Butteriss July 29, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Thank you

  • Reply Rob Sylvia August 16, 2018 at 12:59 am

    My strumming sucks…thank you.

  • Reply Clive Barnett August 18, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Great work! You have really made this so interesting!

  • Reply Jess Haller August 18, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Great lesson. Thanks Nat

  • Reply Anne Kock August 26, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    Hej, I really appreciate your way of teaching.Thanks a lot !Greatings from Flensburg, Germany

  • Reply Anish Mathew August 27, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    TQ so much god bless you

  • Reply lei dura August 27, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Nice. Thanks

  • Reply lei dura August 27, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Nice. Thanks

  • Reply Dom Julien August 28, 2018 at 10:03 am

    is that his natural lip color

  • Reply Charles McNatt September 4, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    Great instructional. You're a teacher as well as a guitar player. Wonderful.

  • Reply andrew beattie September 7, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    Right to the point and with a graphic!!!

  • Reply Al Shastokas September 10, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    Thanks as a seasoned player I always go back to basics simply because I need a refresher now and then and can learn something from everyone.

  • Reply 800lb Gorilla September 17, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    Hitting different amounts of string on the upstrokes is an easy way to add some variation, without even moving the fret hand.

  • Reply David Bronicki September 19, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    Dude are you wearing lipstick?

  • Reply Ruben M September 20, 2018 at 11:53 am

    I don't know why or how this happened, but this strumming pattern really opened up my rhythm, thanks!

  • Reply Tony Gramazio September 20, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    I'm trying to learn to many things at once. I like the strumming pattern you have presented here. I been playing for eight months, my frustration with the learning is discouraging me. I'm trying bar chords and strumming. Also trying to learn the freet board. I'm stating this so everyone knows this is not the way to learn what I'm doing. The strumming pattern upwards is hard for me. Don't know why I practice moving my hands all day without a guitar. Learning is frustrating. Nate your information is priceless thanks for doing this. Anyone who makes stupid statements here is just a putz. There's no reason for it. We are trying to learn here and this dude is doing this hard work of teaching us for free. Thanks again for the excellent videos.

  • Reply Tony Gramazio September 20, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    Does the size of the guitar your learning on make a difference? Also should you change different guitars while your learning? I'm asking this is because I have several guitars and learning I'm fairly new, should I just stay with one guitar? I find holding the guitar in the same place difficult too. I feel it always wants to get away from me. I think it's because I'm looking at what I'm doing and this kinda tilts the guitar away from me, it also makes it difficult to hit the chords correctly. Any suggestions on these things I mentioned? I might be my worse enemy.

  • Reply TheGholiday September 23, 2018 at 7:40 am

    Great video. Strumming & rhythm has been my nemesis. You've given me some great advice to get back into trying to play guitar again.

  • Reply Alice Downing September 26, 2018 at 3:49 am

    thank you , exellent

  • Reply James Morrison September 30, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    I have the 12 string version of this guitar. A Taylor 855ce. It sounds great and plays easily. Nice!

  • Reply THE TRUTH MESSENGER October 16, 2018 at 8:26 am

    26 week course…………a kid can sit by themselves and learn the blues by feel in 1 week……and country strumming in a week……6 hours a day…. ? AND VOCAL lessons at the same time… kemon now…..

  • Reply Mad Brawler October 22, 2018 at 6:18 am

    You are one of the best guitar teacher Mr Vince vaughn!keep it upπŸ‘

  • Reply TheChemistry Guy October 22, 2018 at 8:30 am

    Do you use lipstick.. πŸ˜€

  • Reply Debora Budiman November 15, 2018 at 2:17 am

    Thx brother, God bless you

  • Reply Shimmy Yugi November 25, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    Can i rather have your lips a lot better than mine 😭

  • Reply Danny Ngan December 7, 2018 at 6:24 am

    You are an awesome guitar teacher and I'm an entry level guitar player don't know, "how to do guitar chords stunning yet?" but on my way to learned with your video – Thank you so much.

  • Reply anne gill December 14, 2018 at 1:35 pm


  • Reply Eddie Puddy January 2, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    Between beginner and rut. Not really a rut i just need to learn strumming and get better at cord changes. I mostly been picking songs without doing cords.

  • Reply MuttonChops24 January 12, 2019 at 5:29 am

    is this strumming pattern best to learn first or is it D – DU – UDU

  • Reply Northcountry Hermit January 13, 2019 at 2:32 am

    Chot full? Chop full? Huh?
    *chock full, right? πŸ˜‰

  • Reply Howe Music Tuition January 17, 2019 at 7:03 am

    Great lesson. The Strumming hand is so important and often gets neglected. Doing these rhythms on a single chord is good to ingrain this.

  • Reply Anto Jovin January 25, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    Your facial features match Manuel Neuer a bit….

  • Reply joe doe February 6, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    Starting at 8:44 to 9:05 it doesn't look like your left hand fingers are being lifted off the strings in order to mute them.

  • Reply Jason Hayward February 9, 2019 at 12:18 am

    Excellent lesson. What kind and model guitar is that?

  • Reply Ver Nobleza February 17, 2019 at 1:56 pm

    Thank you.

  • Reply Liza Vaboo March 5, 2019 at 11:21 pm

    Finally I understand how to make a muted strum. Thank you much!

  • Reply smu Syed March 13, 2019 at 10:40 am

    Thanks sir

  • Reply john kucharclk March 16, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    One thing I see in this lesson is he is teaching you how to count, "so important". If your teacher dose not teach you how to count, get a new teacher. Count out loud when you are learning to strum this pattern, and when leaning new ones.

  • Reply Christine Anderson March 17, 2019 at 10:34 pm


  • Reply music pedia March 22, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    When i strum and switch between chords it sucks…
    Sounds like that they are in parts
    no rythm
    please recomend me..your one video where i can start….
    I can play all chords…even barre chords….
    Please sir as a teacher…
    please help your student

  • Reply J J March 26, 2019 at 9:10 am

    8 weeks into playing & I can say the strumming is crucial. Repetition & counting(or a metronome)is also key..helps the motor memory(subconscious). I learned the chords for Hotel California but had trouble transitioning chords while trying to remember the strum..I repetitively learnt the strum & can see I'm getting slightly quicker at it. I think once u learn the chords you should concentrate with the strumming pattern.. repetitively, thts what I'm doing anyway. ✌🎢.

  • Reply kevin reilly April 7, 2019 at 6:21 am

    Thanks man

  • Reply Justin Lauzon April 14, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    It feels weird I am really struggling

  • Reply Mithun Nambiar April 15, 2019 at 10:16 am

    Stealing videos from guitareo

  • Reply caley ashman April 16, 2019 at 10:29 pm

    Why's he got lipstick on?

  • Reply Prantik April 23, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    i give this exact same lesson to my students for strumming…

  • Reply 6thSense May 11, 2019 at 10:08 am

    Thank you… very well explained

  • Reply Kamal Rashid May 18, 2019 at 7:41 am

    You are great Tutor…. You explained in easiest way…. Keep doing GOD BLESS YOU

  • Reply Numero Zero May 21, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    I have been stuck in purgatory of guitar playing until this video.
    It dislodged something missing in my technique
    Thank you so much mate
    I just found this channel
    I've liked and subbed and will continue watching

    Keep up the great work


  • Reply DancinDeborah June 2, 2019 at 6:21 am

    Awesome strumming lesson! You explained everything very well. I'm a woman with small hands and short fingers(!) πŸ™ so I can't quite get the muted strum down (as well as trying to form many of the chords!). It will just take a lot more practice for me! Thanks again.

  • Reply TheJunero June 3, 2019 at 5:29 am

    Thanks for the lesson. You are a great teacher.

  • Reply HR Pickinstuff June 7, 2019 at 11:40 pm

    When I was first starting out holding on to the pick was an issue. So a hole punch to punch a hole in the center of my picks for better grip. I still use textured picks with custom hole punch in the center to this day.

  • Reply Amir Ostad June 9, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    starts at 8:00

  • Reply Brian Craig July 2, 2019 at 7:44 am

    Thanks so much for this lesson maybe Lord Willing i finally get this down after 25 years I been learning everything else then this basic fundamental due to frustrations

  • Reply Patrick Grisley July 16, 2019 at 1:29 am

    Savage video. Thanks a million! This really helped, and is just what I was looking for

  • Reply The Ram official July 18, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    I'm from India. It's helpful lesson bro.keep it up.

  • Reply Tom Vawter July 31, 2019 at 11:25 am

    Excellent video and technique! πŸ‘

  • Reply Kid Poker August 7, 2019 at 12:43 am

    yea he counted no down up down up

  • Reply Gopal Smart August 7, 2019 at 5:34 am

    This is right kind of guitar strumming for rhythm guitarist. Adjustment is one of keen technique which can be learn with auspicious tutor. I learn it with hard work. Gopal guitarist. South India, 641014.

  • Reply V V August 10, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    Wow, this was very useful thanks

  • Reply Eleanora Reeves August 27, 2019 at 9:56 pm

    Just bought my very first ever guitar and I love this video πŸ˜‰ my fav is the pattern 4 you show here, the constant strumming technique, so sweet! Will be seeing all your videos and pretty sure over time I will master this new guitar to entertain friends and family here in our home !

  • Reply Julio Defreitas September 4, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    Thank you

  • Reply Bronzebelle September 24, 2019 at 2:18 am

    great lesson!

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