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Blues Guitar Strumming

Today’s guitar lesson is on the art of strumming, specifically, blues guitar strumming.

As you’ll see, I initially started this strumming lesson using G C and D chords. Which of course works fine, and is highly relevant for teaching the strum pattern, however then I realized just how much this strumming pattern is used in the blues, so the last part of the lesson is really just a demonstration of how you can use 7th chords and make that exact same strumming pattern sound great in the blues.

7th chords are probably among the most common chords you’ll find in the blues, so if you ever want to make a song a little more bluesy, try swapping the major chords for their 7th counterparts. For instance, E goes to E7.

So without further ado, let’s get into the lesson!

Video Trouble? Watch Blues Guitar Strumming On Youtube

There are many different patterns you can use for blues guitar strumming, and this is just one of them. If you’d like to learn more about strumming, I recommend checkout out Riff Ninja’s collection of 20+ great strum patterns.


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  1. Johnathan, have not had a chance to review new e mails yet. I will today when I get off from work.. Thanks for sending them. I am practicing them all.

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  2. The timing on this strumming pattern is actually a dotted eight note followed by a sixteenth note. If you count straight eighth notes you will not be playing the rhythm that Jonathan is demonstrating. To count a dotted eight note followed by sixteenth note it is helpful to think of counting each group of four sixteenth notes that is associated with each quarter note of each measure. Four quarter notes are counted as 1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4- and so on.
    Sixteenth notes are counted as 1e&a 2e&a 3e&a 4e&a
    What Jonathan is playing is the down beats for each quarter note and the last sixteenth note of each group of four and it would be counted as 1-a 2-a 3-a 4-a but along with this counting you need to swing the feel so it fits into a shuffle style rhythm. You would play on the count of each quarter note and also on the last sixteenth note of each group of four.

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    1. Hi Rahn, thanks for clarifying that. I started out to do a lesson on eighth notes, but it turned into this instead. Thanks for writing that out nice and clearly though.

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  3. Jonathan
    I just got the use of my right hand back and starting my practiceing all over your a great help, keep it up

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  4. hi johnathan kirk here i am having a hard time finding a good strun and my timing sucks lol plz help me i like to do old country stuff

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  5. Thanks Jonathan, When I practice I have a hard time thinking of new rythyms. This will help me break out of my routine. Great stuff!

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  6. Finally, I found the information I was searching for. I have been doing research on this subject, and for three days I keep entering websites that are supposed to have what I am searching for, only to be discouraged with the lack of what I wanted. I wish I could have located your web-site quicker! I had about 25% of what I needed and your web-site has that, and the rest of what I had to have to finish my research. Thank you and I will report back on how it goes!

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  7. Hey Jonathan,
    Great lesson, thanks. Just what I needed. The comment about 1e&a 2e&a 3e&a 4e&a is very familiar from classical but never put it together for strumming. Very cool. Your explanation of it is easy to understand. I will get on it right away!

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  8. Jonathon:
    Since I’m learning all over again it would be very helpful to me if you could show me the cords, strings, frets and fingers, instead of just telling me the chord. I’m not quick enough yet and have to look these chords up. But these videos are amazing!! Thank you for doing this!!

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  9. Hey Jonathan,
    Joanne here. Happy New Year. I have been enjoying your great guitar tips & I am enjoying my guitar very much. Many thanks

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  10. Hi Jonathan,
    Thanks for generously posting all these videos. In a couple of them, including this one, there is a percussive muffle you do, I think on the 2, 3 and 4, which you don’t address. I have trouble achieving this sound. Can you please explain how you do it in the future?

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  11. You play good , but your style is so slow , lts like watching paint dry , try to be more succinct in your teaching style , make point sooner , and clearer . Thx.

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  12. Thanks for all the tips, I’m getting there. Everything will fall into place for what I get out of picking up the guitar, actually started playing drums in 68′ and between you and all the other folks online. I’m getting out of the tips and lessons what I need to know, I do most of my practicing when I take my break on the big truck, Gives me something to do besides watch dvd’s all the time. Everything I’ve gotten is very helpful. Oh yeah full fledged south paw so it took awhile to find a guitar that i could do something without being frustrated. Thanks Again. Gator

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  13. Hola Jonathan! Just a note to express my continuing appreciation for what you do here on the interweb. I’ve been playing for 40 years, “completely” self-taught because I play left-handed, upside down and backwards. And I can bang out some tunes that don’t get all the cats in the neighborhood standing on their hind legs. Regardless, since I’ve never taken a lesson, nor taken the time to learn the ‘basics’ like I-IV-V, etc., I truly appreciate you sharing your knowledge of those things. I’m correcting things that I’ve been doing ‘wrong’, and I am acquiring a much better understanding of the basics from your videos.
    Just wanted to say thanks for the time that you put into these things. Also, from an old fart who’s been playing awhile, I would argue with ‘Bruce’ above… A slow, detailed, paint-drying, grass-growing lesson is very helpful to some of us and is much appreciated. Not sure where he was coming from… Anyway, thanks.

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  14. Jonathan Your lips are not in sync: with your voice and your guitar is playing by it’s self i just thought you would like to know.

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  15. Hey Jonatathan, cool lesson. You mentioned a blues lesson. is it something posted on your site? I’d like to check it out. Going to try this strum pattern, hope I don’t hurt my dog’s ears.

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  16. hi my e is bob l and I am just starting out I am retired and am 64 on may 13th I always wanted to learn how ihave 5 grand children and I would like to teach them whay I learn I have a problem have a lot of trouble withmy fingera to make a clean and clear chord I am abeginner and really want to get thru this problem can you give me the magic answer to overcome this I really want to learn thanks a lot I could reallyuse a coach thank you bob from nj

    Reply

    1. Hey Bob, congratulations on retirement!

      For cleaner sounding chords, I recommend picking a chord that seems to be a problem, and then go through each string individually. Listen to each string as you pick it – if there is any buzzing, then you need to work on re-positioning that finger until the note sounds clear and clean. Then carry on with the rest of them, and then go back through the chord to make sure nothing changed while you were working on other fingers.

      That’s the basic process, and it mostly just takes working with that to see improvement. One other thing to consider though is the width of your guitar’s neck. If you’re using a small guitar, and have large fingers, then you will naturally have more problems than on a wider guitar neck. If you’re really running into problems, you might consider just visiting your local guitar store and trying out a few different guitars to see if it comes easier on other models. Hope that helps!

      Reply

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