Having difficulty learning how to strum? Here are a couple of thoughts for the beginning guitar player.
Probably the majority of songs we play are in 4/4 timing. This means the song’s timing is a series of 4 beats sections, or “4 quarter beats per measure”. Every count of 4 is a measure, and is simply counted like this 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-etc. The space of time between each number is the same.
Strumming Quarter Beats
Every time we count a quarter beat, we strum “down”. I recommend counting out loud while strumming down once per quarter beat.
Listen to this strumming pattern with the G and Cadd9 chords:
Strumming Eighth Beats
We can double time this by inserting a beat halfway between each quarter beat. Then all the beats become eighth beats. We count it like this 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &, etc. To strum this, we would strum down when we say a number, and we would strum up when we say “&”. Make sure the spacing between each strum stays the same and consistent.
Listen to this eighth beat strumming pattern with the G and Cadd9 chords:
Accenting the First Beat in a Measure
Neither of the above strumming patterns sounds that great. However, by accenting the first beat of a measure, we can improve the sound of the pattern. We can accent the first beat by changing it to a quarter beat and count like this 1 2 & 3 & 4 & … Strum down on the numbers and up on the “&s” — also make sure the first beat is the same duration as “2 &” or “3 &” or “4 &”.
Listen to the G and Cadd9 chords played with an accented first beat:
Three Beats per Measure
Another popular pattern is 3/4 timing (three quarter beats per measure). We can take the above pattern and drop the 4th quarter beat, or the last two eight beats and count like this: 1 2 & 3 & … Again, strum down on a number, and up when you say “&”. Also, make sure the first beat has the same duration as the “2 &” and “3 &”.
Listen to the G and Cadd9 chords in 3/4 time with an accented first beat:
Please leave a comment with any questions you may have.