Quite often when I'm teaching people more in the beginner category, one thing they will often want help on is rhythm and strumming. To some people this comes very naturally, to others it doesn't.

So here I'm going to lay out ONE key principle and some exercises just to help get your rhythm sorted.

Firstly - "Strumming Patterns" - now these can be useful AS A TOOL and I use them often, HOWEVER, these should only be used as a means to get used to strumming in rhythm and you should always work towards not relying on them.

This is important for many reasons including these 3:

1) Your strumming will become quite stagnant and boring.

2) Your ability to learn and create new songs will be limited.

3) Very rarely does a song actually have the same strumming pattern the whole way through.

So how do we break out of "strumming patterns"?


Any of my students would be sick of the phrase, "constant motion", but it's wildly important. This means that regardless of the "strum pattern", your hand is is constantly moving - up down up down up down up down etc., even when it is missing the guitar all together. In fact, it is BECAUSE of this constant movement that strum patterns are the way they are (in case you've ever wondered why your teacher is making you do an up strum there).


As a case in point, watch any YouTube video of someone strumming the guitar and you'll notice that their hand does not move with the rhythm, but it's actually movement CONSTANTLY.

How I do get this cool and smooth?


99% of songs will adopt some strumming which is this constant up down etc. so in this post we are only dealing with that.


So for total beginners, just start by strumming up down up down up down, hitting the guitar on each strum, like so:

Pretty easy? The next step is to do that same thing, but this time we will miss 3 out of 4 strokes, so like so, only playing the circled arrows:

That right there is the fundamental, to keep constant movement in time even when we aren't actually hitting the strings.

So let's try applying that to a few different rhythms, again only playing the circled arrows. Be sure to repeat each line and remember that these are only 5 patterns of infinite possibilities to get you going and used to strumming with CONSTANT MOTION.

Next week we will go more in depth about how you can now use this technique further as well as some other techniques you can apply to make your strumming more pleasant.


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