Basic Strumming Patterns

Learn how to strum up and down with these basic strumming patterns!

In this lesson you’ll learn how to strum up and down using the open chords you learned in the previous three lessons, E, A, and D (all major chords). Practicing these basic strumming patterns will prepare you for playing actual songs. This video just focuses on strumming down and up with E to A, A to D, and E to D. To begin with, strum four pairs of down – up strums on E, switch to A, and do four pairs of down up strums on that chord. Give yourself a little extra time to switch in the beginning, but then try to make the switch without any pauses. When you do down and up strumming, you should be aware that on the downstroke you should be dragging the pick across all of the strings, but you shouldn’t try to do this on the upstroke. The upstroke should be more of a swooping motion across the bottom three or four strings (that is, strings E, B, G, and D).

This video shows you nine different strumming patterns that get progressively harder.  You should spend at least one week working on these before trying any songs with them.  Some songs that you can try include:

Bob Marley – Stir It Up and Three Little Birds

The Rolling Stones – No Expectations (also has Amaj7)

Rumble – Link Wray (also has B7 which can be simplified)

 

Problems with up and down strumming . . .

If the pick starts to move, don’t worry – this happens to everyone.  It could be happening because you’re holding on to the pick too tightly and not allowing it to move a little when you do the upstroke.  You should keep a grip on the pick that is light enough to allow the tip (the part that touches the strings) to move a little bit when it hits the strings on the upstroke.  Also, stay away from cheap picks that have a really glossy surface, and try to use ones that have a rougher surface to them.

 

 

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