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Strum Patterns on a Guitar

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Important Points:

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:

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Strum Patterns on a Guitar

Comments: 4 comment(s)...have your say!


Ha ha ha...
"Music is not perfect; if it were, it would become Mathematics."
Truly said!!

Just love your site! Amazing efforts put here!!!

Arindam Sarkarsaid...

Thanks a lot for the appreciation. ;-)


help me out with rhythm.
like even if i am provide with chords and strumming pattern i am not able to get the music right.
i don't know what prevents me of getting it right but that is really very irritating please help me and mention my problem or mistake any sort of thing to improve or work on it

Arindam Sarkarsaid...

What you need to do is listen to the song a few times and really concentrate on the rhythm - the beat pattern, the possible strum pattern. Your ears will pick it all up. Try and stick to the rhythm and strum more. You're probably concentrating more on just the chords. But music without rhythm is no good. Practice playing strum patterns and changing chords while strumming. It should become natural in a while. Keep at it and best of luck.

BasicMusicTheory Tip:

Tune your guitar before you start playing.^Top^

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