If you've been through the first three lessons in this guitar
series, you'll have laid the solid foundations you need for negotiating
more intricate chord change timings.
is the final lesson in the series! By the end of this page you
should be confident not only with maintaining an accurate
attack, but also with strumming through chord changes.
This lesson will be based around audio/ear training exercises and
what you learned in the first three parts to what you hear.
Timing your strumming through chord changes
we were just playing constant rhythms and strumming patterns through
our chord changes, but this time, we're going to look at interrupted
patterns and working with the chord changes more consciously. See, some
chord changes can be made more interesting by intermittently changing
we play through them.
there were three chords used in that little piece - a modified D major,
major and G major (more on chord types in the chords section!).
Listening to the
strumming rhythm, the most obvious
difference is how I strummed on D major and E major compared to G
major. Here's a break down of the strumming patterns:
I only used down strums
on the G major chord
which kind of acts as an
interruption and adds to the tension before resolving back to D major.
Notice also how, just before each chord change, I add in a quick down-up
pattern. Listen again closely, but this time I'm only scratching over
the strings to emphasise the attack of the strumming pattern - click to hear - what
this does is add a little skip to the rhythm and keeps it flowing. Of
course, you won't always want that effect, but it's there if you need
You don't have to follow this inconsistant pattern every time around
chord progression - for example, try a constant strumming
chord changes once, then, the second time through, change the
pattern slightly. In the example above, that "second time through"
could be when I changed the strumming on that G major chord to all down
strums. Experiment and mix it up!
A minor, F major (Fmaj7 to be exact), C major.
- you can play any chords you want, I'm just showing you the strumming
So, quite easy to pick out in that example - A minor uses a layered
technique we learned in part 2. The quick change through F
major and C major
is highlighted with more constant down and up strumming and, in the
final time through, some muted strumming (which we learned about in
This one is a particularly good test of your strumming control, as you
need to switch from quick down-up strumming back to more accurate,
string targeted strumming (on A minor in this example).
Using a metronome
will help keep your timing focussed throughout these changes. Even
better, try using various drum
tracks to test your strum timings.
This next example focuses more on the percussive elements of strumming,
by timing our down strumming attack on specific chords in the
Again, pretty obvious where the changes are, and you can hear how
emphasising those down strums on the second and third chords in the
progression complement the harmonic tension before returning back to
the tonic B minor chord.
Remember, 3 isn't always the "magic number" for chords in a progression
- these are just examples.
This final example highlights how you can strum through chord
changes in such a way that you create a "bridge" between the starting
chord and the ending chord (the chord before the starting
Take a listen...
The chord sequence was D major, F# minor, F major, A7
F# minor and F major were both barre chord forms and acted as the
rhythmic bridge between D major and A7.
Try just down strumming the chords to start with. It'll be easier
to time the chord changes when you add in the rest of the strumming
rhythm - click to hear
confident are you with guitar
After going through this series, I hope you now feel confident
enough to experiment freely with your own strumming ideas.
As always, I can't cover absolutely every aspect, and there are
countless strumming patterns, tempos and rhythm combinations, all of
just be inpractical for me to attempt to cover in a few lessons!
So it's down to you now. You have the foundations nailed, it's
now time to put all this into the context of your own music. I highly
recommend strumming along to drum
to really get a feel for playing in the context of a band.
lesson useful? Please let others know, cheers...