To become a true guitar master, you need to do more than just take guitar lessons, learn basic chords, and memorize notes on the fretboard. While all that’s super important, there’s another guitar skill you’ll need to pick up along the way; one that will help you connect all the dots and take your playing to the next level. It’s a simple, but effective technique known as strumming.
What are strum patterns?
To put it in the easiest terms possible, strumming is the act of stroking or brushing the strings in one sweeping motion. This causes several strings to vibrate at once, creating a unique and dynamic sound. Thus, strum patterns are pre-set finger/hand movements that are used throughout all genres of guitar music which help to add variety to the song and keep the rhythm in check. In order to play more complex songs and graduate from amateur status to serious guitar player, you’ll need to learn basic strum patterns as well as how to properly strum on a guitar. Not sure where to start? Not to worry! Scottsdale Music Academy has got you covered!
Read on to discover three supremely popular guitar strum patterns recommended by Phoenix and Paradise Valley’s most talented guitar instructors!
How To Strum On a Guitar
First thing’s first, before you can learn strum patterns, you must first learn how to play them like a pro! Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re playing.
- Strumming can be achieved with both the pick and by using your fingers, so the choice is up to you! If you choose to use your fingers, try using the nail of your index finger or thumb. And if you use a pick, be sure to angle it and to stroke the strings in one fluid motion.
- Move from your wrist. The majority of your strumming motion should come from your wrist, not your fingers or arm. Strumming from anywhere other than your wrist (like the elbow for instance) creates a lot of tension and puts pressure on your limbs. This will cause your arm to wear out more easily and, ultimately, negatively affect your strumming capabilities. Instead, use your wrist to strum the strings and be sure to keep it light and loose, which allows for faster movement.
- Vary your strum position. Don’t start your strum in the same place every time. Believe it or not, where you place your hands has an impact on the sound. Strumming near to the bridge results in a crisp, light sound while the further away you move from the bridge will create a darker sound.
Popular Strum Patterns For Guitar
- Down-Up Strum
The name of this patterns says it all. It’s the most basic strum pattern there is, but it’s used in more complex strum patterns. So perfect this pattern and the others will be a breeze! Like the name suggests, first you brush the strings down, then up immediately after. While it seems simple enough, many beginning guitar players make the mistake of rushing the movement and not keeping a steady pace. So beware!
2. All Down Strum
Can you guess how this one goes? If you guessed all downstrokes, then you’re correct! Again, while this strum is simple, it’s critical to master because it’s the foundation of many other strum patterns. A basic strum pattern like this is ideal for practicing your timing and control. Since it’s so simple in nature, you’ll be able to intensely focus on keeping your rhythm and playing at a steady volume.
- Muted Strum
The last basic strum pattern for guitar is something called the muted strum. Like the others, this one is easy to learn. Basically, a muted strum is achieved when you use your strumming hand to dampen or mute the sound by pressing slightly against the strings to restrict their movement. The result will be a thud or muted sound. The key to this technique is to experiment with your hand position and tension until you find the sound you’re looking for. This strum pattern is great for creating a percussion-like effect on the guitar.
If you have questions about these basic strum patterns or anything related to guitar playing, don’t hesitate to contact us. With our personalized and fun guitar lessons, you’ll learn everything you need to know about strum patterns and so much more! Give us a call today!