To get the pattern of the strum, all you need to do is listen to the song over and over. If you can imagine yourself swinging to the tune, or playing the song by tapping on the table or snapping your fingers along - you've got the beat. Now just convert the loud powerful beats into down strokes and the softer parts into upstrokes or silence. Practice playing along with the song and you will naturally come to a rhythm. If you try and heat the song properly, you may actually hear the distinctive up and down strokes. They do sound quite different from each other. Just listen hard and "try to play the song." Beat is human nature and you will find what you were looking for – of course, if the song does have a beat. Generally, the softer songs, where one can hear a quick progression of notes do not have a strum, though one may invent a strum compatible with these too.
Generally, pop, rock and blues music have well laid out and often complicated strum patterns as the beat is central to these genres. Being so, it makes it easy to find out these patterns. Jazz is often the hardest ad its full of ad lib and unique expressions. Often, every kind of playing technique can be present in these. Country is again simple and straight forward. The discussion above is still applicable for all above.
Listen to it a few times.
Try to find the time signature: how fast or slow the song is.
Try to listen to how the song varies within one meter.
Try to guess a pattern.
Try out the pattern with the song playing.
Make corrections and try again.
- Strum Patterns (basics and notation)
- Strum Patterns (discussions and things to note)
- Finding strum patterns (reading)
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