This lesson we'll be expanding on the core guitar strumming patterns we
learned in the first two lessons of this strumming
now going to look at some more advanced strumming patterns to
further develop our rhythm, timing and attack. Use the video, diagrams
and backing tracks to get your bearings and test your strumming
Remember, always start slow using a metronome
(don't be impatient and jump ahead of your current ability!).
Syncopated strumming patterns
the previous lessons, our down-up strumming patterns have been
based around a constant and equal separation of beats.
that by "skipping" beats, we could make this constant drone more
interesting. However, using the same process, there's another type of
constant down-up strumming that immediately injects life into your
It makes use of what is known as syncopation.
First, let's hear the difference, starting with the one we already
quite a bit different, doesn't it? Basically, the down strums are
spaced exactly the same as the first example, but the up strums
(hitting the treble/higher strings on your guitar) are pushed forward
slightly, so you get a delayed effect:
So we're leaving that up strum to the very last moment,
followed immediately by a downstrum, with no breathing space like with
the first pattern. First, work on keeping
those down strums constant. Add in
the up strums, still focussing on the down strum marker points. It's
easy to lose the timing at first, so be patient and disciplined!
what's great about this particular rhythm is that it gives birth to so
many lively strumming patterns, using the "skipped
beat" technique we learned in the 2nd part. Obviously I
you every single one, but let's
look at a couple of examples.
Remember, the red strums are the skipped
but maintain the down-up action
with your strumming hand while you miss
the strings on the skipped beats. Keep that 4/4 meter ticking over in
your head (or tap your foot as you play - a lot of guitarists use their
foot as a metronome).
When you start to get more confident with these types of rhythms, you
can try strumming patterns that complement faster tempos, like this
one (I've left out the helpful aids this time as a little test!):
I think it's time to put these new strumming patterns to
practical use, with chord changes over a backing track.
Below is a jam track that uses the rhythm from above and changes chord
from D major to A major to E minor (although in the example,
I modify these chords to become Dmaj7, Amaj7 and
Em7 to make it more interesting).
More on chords in a separate lesson!
Mutes add yet another dynamic to your strumming patterns, by
interrupting those constant down/up strokes with sharp stops.
the basic concept behind muted strumming.
is where you stop a string/note from sounding. The aim is
to be able to stop it in time with the rhythm you're playing.
Here's how to mute...
any chord and strum it once to ring out the notes. To mute the strings,
simply touch them using your strumming hand. The best part of your hand
to use for this is the meaty part below your pinky/4th finger.
Exactly the same as palm muting.
Try the simple exercise below to test your timing using down strums and mutes.
Once you have the basic muting technique nailed,
it's time to insert this
technique into the strumming patterns we have learned over the course
of this series (although, of course, we're by no means limited to these
It's important to keep your up and down strumming action in the same
constant motion and literally add
in the mutes. Don't lose your momentum!
Let's start by adding some mutes
into the down-up strumming pattern we learned in part 2...
Don't feel like you must always use mutes and
skipped beats in your strumming
patterns. Use them only when you feel they compliment the kind of music
you're creating. For example, a slow and downbeat song won't
necessarily be complimented by the liveliness of skipped beats and
patterns. Think about context!
Let's finish with a more complex muted pattern and a final backing
I hope you found this lesson useful. Obviously I can't show you every
possible strumming pattern there is, but I hope I've given you some
inspiration to try out your own rhythms using syncopated rhythms and
muting - build upon it, develop it and most of all, enjoy it!
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