20 Strumming Patterns For Guitar

20 Guitar Strumming PatternsJust as beginner cellists have to spend time working on their bowing technique, beginner guitarists (all guitarists, in fact!) need to develop their strumming skills.

People tend to assume that playing the guitar is mostly about the left hand, but the right hand is arguably just as important – after all, if you don’t pick or strum your guitar, you’re not going to get much sound out of it! When you’re playing your favourite songs, a clean, smooth and flowing strumming action makes all the difference.

When you first start learning the guitar, you play downstrokes (strumming with a downwards motion), but as you progress, you’ll add in upstrokes in between. Then, to play different rhythms, it’s mostly just a case of dropping some of the strokes. By this I mean you still do the steady, up-down strumming action, but you don’t always make contact with the strings.

For example, this is what the notation looks like if you play every stroke in a bar of 4/4 time, with the downstrokes taking the on-beats (odd number quavers), the upstrokes taking the off-beats (even number quavers, shown by a V):

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And here is one of the more common acoustic guitar rhythms:

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As you can see, in the second example, you miss you the first upstroke and the third downstroke. However, you still perform the strumming action, you just don’t touch the strings as you do so.

For more info on notation for guitar, check out the single page PDF here: Notation for Guitar.pdf

Try practising the 20 strumming patterns / rhythms in the following PDF. They start out with the most simple and progress from there. Feel free to use whatever chords you fancy.

20 Strumming Patterns for Guitar.pdf