It is not necessary that the songs that you will play will always have a strum pattern. It may be played fully or in parts in one of these common ways:
(i) Strummed: Has definite beat pattern.
(ii) Ad lib (abbr. for Ad Libitum) / Lead: Has no specific tempo or beat pattern and the player may play it at leisure.
(iii) Played on lead only - without accompanying chords (most sheet music for beginners).
(iv) Arpeggio: The notes of the chord are broken down and played from 6th to 1st string.
(v) Finger picking: Arpeggio in a peculiar sequence (discussed here). Some strings may not be played.
(vi) Classical guitar: Mixture if ad lib and arpeggio. Pairs of notes are plucked more frequently.
Things to Note While Strumming:
(i) Make sure you strum in the area between the end of the neck and the bridge (over the sound hole for acoustics).
(ii) Make sure that the strings are all sounding clearly and not getting muffled by your hands.
(iii) Make sure to maintain the proper rhythm. Nothing sounds worse than playing a rhythmic song with broken rhythm. Practice on your rhythm.
(iv) Adjust your breathing with the pattern (about 3 to 4 meters per breath will be your target). This is how snipers get their shots right. You need it too.
(v) Use flicks if your wrist (primary) and or your elbow (secondary) to strum. Always know your limits and try to overcome them. Initially, strumming fast will restrict how long you can strum, due exhaustion, so take in between songs.
(vi) When changing chords, do not let the your beat get affected. Alter the time for which you play the chord but never mess with your beat. Once you get the hang of it, it will become natural to you.
Music is not perfect; if it were, it would become Mathematics. Its about the feeling and the beat and it may not be perfect. So, don’t try to be a perfectionist first. Feel and internalize the beat first. You may make mistakes but you will get it. Once you get a hang of things, perfection is the only thing you'll ever produce.
- Strum Patterns (basics and notation)
- Strum Patterns (discussions and things to note) (reading)
- Finding strum patterns
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