Firstly, if you need help on
basic/beginner guitar strumming technique, I suggest you first take
Otherwise, welcome to the next level!
In that beginner lesson, we
laid the foundations for our strumming technique.
By building on that
basic down-up, alternate strumming action, we can create more intricate
However, for the most part, that fundamental
should not change,
rather you'll be applying it in different ways.
The below video is a great intro to the techniques
we're about to learn...
The 'skipped beat' guitar strumming
particular technique will stay with you right through your guitar
playing life, because it's the most essential modification of that
basic down-up strumming pattern.
Whereas before, we were simply
hitting the strings on every downward/upward stroke...
We can skip a beat
to create a jump in the rhythm and give it a more interesting
reason I've kept those unstrummed
as downstrums is because it's important to maintain that constant
even if you're not hitting the strings during a
It's simply a case of missing
on the skipped beat, but the action will still be there, to get you in
position for the next stroke and keep a constant momentum.
Watch the video clip below to see it in action...
So you can see that to miss the strings, I move my
hand out in a very
slight circular motion, arching over the strings ready
for the next stroke.
You can create countless strumming patterns from
this technique. See below for a slightly different
modification of that foundation down-up strumming...
So, fewer missed beats and a
more dispersed rhythm.
Hear a slow example...
Let's try this strumming technique over a bass and drum
is a jam track in the key of A major, which means you can play several
A major chords (e.g. A major, A7, Amaj7 etc.). Chords are covered in a
different section, so if you haven't been through the basic chord
lessons yet, I recommened just using A7, using that
rhythm from above...
The great thing about playing these types of patterns is that you
naturally start to focus on your strumming attack,
which is to do with how hard you hit the strings and also to do with
muting (which we'll look at in a later lesson).
The idea is to get rid
of the constant drone and inject life into your strumming rhythms and
Let's try another example using the skipping technique.
Hear a slow example...
Take a look at the tutorial video for a detailed breakdown of this
As we now know the basic skipping technique, let's go straight to a
backing track for this pattern involving 3 chords - E minor, A minor 7
and B7 (see
E minor (Em)
A minor 7 (Am7)
Hear an example...
Download/play the backing track...
Layered strumming and string targeting
the above guitar strumming technique is used commonly in rock and pop,
are techniques that work more intricately with the bass
and treble strings of the chords you're playing.
These strumming patterns
require far more string
accuracy, as you'll be targeting specific strings in the
chord on your down and up strokes.
Let's start with a basic
example using the bass and treble strings of our guitar.
This rhythm uses down strumming and is best counted out as - 1
1 2, 1 2, 1 2 etc.
simply a case of hitting the bass strings of the chord you're playing
with the first down strum (1), and the treble strings with the second
down strum (2).
Take a listen...
So remember, all down
but you're targeting
the low and high
strings in a specific beat. Think of it like how a drummer would hit
the bass drum followed by the snare (treble) drum to create a beat.
When the example above gets going, it has a very punchy, kinetic energy
of the attack of the down strums.
Let's now look at a more complex way of using this technique. First,
let's get the basic strumming rhythm nailed:
In the example audio/video above you should be
able to hear/see the separation of
the bass, mid and treble strings in the open
G major chord.
with a down strum on
the bass notes of the chord (low E,
strings), followed by a down strum in the mid section of
the chord (A,
G strings), and 3 strokes of the treble section (G,
e strings). The mid and treble strings may overlap, but
that's not really an issue.
The key thing is to get some kind of defined separation between these
tones from low to high (bass to treble). What this does is two things:
your chord playing, making it more nuanced and textured (if, of course,
you're bothered about those things! Not so important in punk rock, for
your rhythm more energy. Just like
drummer would use the bass and snare drum in certain positions to
create a beat, so too can a guitarist position the bass and treble
In the later
lessons in this series, we'll
expand on this strumming technique and see how it complements different
types of rhythm (especially funk inspired rhythms).
the above technique over the backing track below. This time, we're
going to change between G major and a variation of the open C major
chord (Cadd9 to be exact).
Listen to the example below to get your bearings first. As the jam
track is a set speed (one that would be realistic for a song), you
should start slow with a metronome
first and gradually build up your speed.
Hear an example...
I want you
with the guitar strumming techniques we've learned here and apply them
own music. Keep an open mind, but also remember the foundation elements
that help keep your timing and attack sharp.
lesson useful? Please let others know, cheers...