If you are a beginner, the first thing to acknowledge about strumming is that it's not about how complicated or fancy you make a strumming design. Since strumming is a type of rhythm, so as to be successful, it must be consistent. An enduring, predictable strumming rhythm is constantly more satisfying to listen to than a truly complicated strumming design played out of time.

Before we get into the top five guitar strumming patterns, I want to direct you first to a very useful article I have written about “how to strum a guitar”, if you are totally new to strumming and don't really know how or where to start.

It's very advisable that you learn “how” to strum, before going into the different patterns that you can use to create real music.

Click on the button below to visit the article:

The most effective method to read strumming patterns:
  • Downstroke (D): This is the movement of the pick in a descending order, the way your hand would normally move while playing the guitar.
  • Upstroke (&): This is the inverse of the down stroke, the hand moves against the strings.

We deliberately assigned “&” (And) to the Upstroke instead of “U”, as opposed to the “D” with the Downstroke, and you will understand why after reading the explanation below.

All of the strumming patterns demonstrated in this article are eighth note strumming patterns. If you don’t know what that is or how to count eighth notes, then this is a quick explanation:

Most of the songs are played in 4/4 time intervals, which means each bar contains 4 quarter notes and you simply count them like that (I advise you to say it out loud or count them in your head):

1 → → → 2 → → → 3 → → → 4 → → → 1 → → → … Etc,

Now, eighth notes, on the other hand, are played 8 eighth notes in a single bar, which means instead of counting from 1 to 4 and then repeat for each bar like in the example above, you count from 1 to 8 in double the speed, but instead of counting to 8, we will be counting to 4 again but while introducing another “character” in between each number, and that is the “&” (And), so it’s like that:

1 → & → 2 → & → 3 → & → 4 → & → 1 → & → … Etc,


Just like you used to announce each stroke with its respective number in the first example, also here I advise you to say “&” (And) every time you stumble upon one.

Use this method of counting the numbers and “&”s until you become familiar and comfortable with the pacing and timing while strumming.

A great tool to use while practicing strumming and I STRONGLY recommend you using it is a metronome.

In the next section we're going to go over and demonstrate the top five guitar strumming patterns for beginners to learn guitar:

#1 Strumming Pattern: All Downstrokes

(1D → 2D → 3D → 4D)

This is the easiest strumming pattern beginners will ever learn, it is made up of downstrokes only. Begin counting numbers up till four loudly. Each time you say a number, strum the guitar in a descending order. When you hit four, backtrack to one and repeat the procedure.Do this a few times and you will have a rhythm going on. To do this like genuine guitarists, rather than saying the number so everyone can hear (if you're playing in front of people), tap your left foot in beat with the downstrokes.

Do this a few times and you will have a rhythm going on. To do this like genuine guitarists, rather than saying the number so everyone can hear (if you're playing in front of people), tap your left foot in beat with the downstrokes.

As you practice this, set your metronome, and concentrate on fixing up your down strums with every beat. Attempt to make your strums as even in tone and in volume.

Though being very simple and straightforward in nature, you can benefit a lot by just practicing the all-downstrokes strumming pattern.

You can use it to:
  1. Develop timing, tempo, and pacing for strumming
  2. Develop dynamic control: How you actually perform the strumming. When to strum really soft, when to get really loud, or a combination of the two simultaneously. You know, strumming in a human way, in opposed to strumming with the same force and manner like a robot all the time.

You can make this practice even more efficient by using a metronome or playing along with a jamming track and count the numbers and the “&”s in your head while doing so, it will help you keep up the pace.

The most important thing to focus on while practicing all downstrokes strumming pattern is your timing and keeping all the eighth notes evenly spaced.

Video Demonstration of the All-Downstrokes Strumming Pattern:

#2 Strumming Pattern: Down-Up (Alternately)

(1D & 2D & 3D & 4D &)

This is the place things begin to get complicated. Rather than numbering to 4, say: “1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &” with emphasis on the ‘&'. When you say a number, do a down stroke. When you say ‘&', do an upstroke. Do it gradually and take time with every stroke. Try not to stress if it doesn't come right instantly; it's not the most natural of examples. Once you do get the hang of it, you'll understand that you can utilize this pattern over many types of songs.

What you're doing here is separating the measure into not four, but rather eight beats. As it were, you are pressing two beats into the time where you were utilizing only one beat.

#3 Strumming Pattern: The Calypso

(1D 2D & & 4D &)

This example of strumming pattern for beginners is known as the calypso strum. This example is one of the complicated out of most of the patterns.Because the down strum on beat 3 is evacuated and you just play an up strum on the “&” of the third beat. You'll need to make certain to watch the video below to get a sense for how this pattern sounds and feels. When you get it down, you'll see that it's a simple example to apply to a variety of songs.

#4 Strumming Pattern: Muted Strings (Or Strum)

(1D & 2Dx& 3D & 4Dx &)

The fourth strumming pattern is another strategy called a muted strum. A muted strum gives the beginners a more percussive sound like a drummer is playing with you. When you hear a drummer play a comparative pattern, they're hitting the snare on two and four beats. That is the sound of the snare copied here.

When you do a down stroke for the muted strum, you're going to let off the weight with your fretting hand a bit. Just before you strum the strings of the guitar, mute the strings with the palm of your strumming hand. In the strumming pattern, you should utilize a muted strum by the “X” over the two and four.

#5 Strumming Pattern: Silenced Strum

(1D &x 2D & 3D &x 4D &)

In the fifth strumming pattern for beginners, you’re going to begin including a few rests. You’ve been diving into the strings on each eighth note, yet now you're going to begin forgetting some of them. You've been making utilization of an essential expertise called the Constant Strumming Technique. Which means you had a pattern in which you were continually strumming. Now you're going to proceed with the steady strumming design, however simply abandon a portion of the notes out.

Taking a look at the principal “&” with an “X” subscript, an upstroke would be played if you were playing with a normal strumming pattern, yet this time there's no strum there. Return back up on the ‘&', yet don't dive into the strings by any means. Keep the upward movement going despite the fact that you're not digging into the strings.

When you're first learning strumming patterns this way, it's imperative to count loudly so everyone can hear you play so you can monitor where you are. Some of the time it can overstate the movements to keep a track also. Keep in mind to stay free and work on keeping a steady movement with your strumming hand as you play.

Final Thoughts

Guitar strumming patterns is one of the first topics that you're going to learn as a beginner guitarist. Soon after you learn a few basic chords, you will then have to learn how to actually “strum” them. Many guitarists tend to overlook the importance of learning proper strumming techniques, they mainly focus on learning songs and chords and are satisfied with one or two strumming patterns in all their performances and practices.

This will make you sound a little bit “dull”, or boring sometimes, and will make all your songs sound more or less “the same”.

Adding different strumming patterns to different songs and parts of a song, and with the ability to make your strumming more alive by strumming wisely in different levels of force (soft – hard strumming) and intervals without going out of tempo, is key to bringing your strumming ability to the next levels.

Hope you guys have enjoyed this article, would love to hear opinions from you about this topic in particular in the comments section below.

Have fun!

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