Do you want to make your strumming sound better on the guitar?
Do all your songs sound the same, or do you struggle to sound like the song at all?
This problem that you are having is really common and its one I often get asked by students. They say to me "How can I get better at strumming patterns?" or "Can you teach me more strumming patterns" on the guitar.
Most of the students who are struggling with this problem really just want the songs they play on the guitar to sound better and are sick of just playing one chord at a time. Or they have one strumming pattern which they use for every song, so everything sounds the same.
So they have diagnosed the problem as not knowing enough strumming patterns. If this sounds like you - I can help you.
The first step is to acknowledge what your real goal is here with trying to learn more strumming patterns… Is it because you want to collect strumming patterns?
Or do you really want to make your guitar playing sound better?
If you just want to go and collect strumming patterns in that case learning strumming patterns is the way to go. However, that path will likely lead to you having to go and learn a new strumming pattern for every song that you go and learn and it require quite a lot of effort to play each of the different strumming patterns because you'll be only looking at the rhythm for each and every song you work on.
A better way to solve that problem would be to be able to work on the ability to work on any strumming pattern on your guitar by learning how to train rhythm correctly when you play.
Observe the pattern below
- Begin by muting your guitar strings with your fretting hand (so that we don’t get lots of extra noise.
- Strum down and up with your right hand while also SAYING out loud the beat numbers at the same time.
- You should sound like this "One And Two And Three And Four And"
- All the beats should be evenly spaced in time. No gaps should be longer than another.
- Note how when you are on a 1,2,3 or 4 your arm is ALWAYS making a downward strum
- When you are on the "Ands' or the '+' you are always playing an up strum.
Now we are going to start learning how to play more interesting strumming patterns:
To create a new strumming pattern, all I need to do is remove downs or ups from the strumming key line.
I have put two examples here labelled pattern 1 and 2.
Make sure when you make up your own strumming patterns using the method above that you make sure that the Downs and Ups are in the right place.
Down always on 1 2 3 4
Up always on And (+)
When you practice it you need to always be moving your hand as if it was playing down and up all the time.
Can you see how on patterns 1 AND 2 there is nothing on the AND (+) after the 1. Even though you don’t strum through the strings here, your hand is still going to move upwards - but it will do so without hitting the strings.
Rhythm is so important to work on and will make a huge difference to your playing. This is a great exercise to get you started right away on the guitar.