Tag Archives for " Strumming "

1 Powerful Strum Pattern + Counting Rhythms

If chords are the bread, then strum patterns are the butter of a guitar player’s world. So far in our Level 1 series, we haven’t really learned any strum patterns beyond the most basic. Today, that starts to change. But first, let’s discuss rhythm.

In 4/4 timing, we have four beats per measure, or per bar.

The tempo is simply how many beats per minute the song goes at. So, if the tempo is 100, that means that every time we would count 100 quarter notes over the space of one minute. One two three four, one two three four… etc.

Now, each of those quarter notes can be divided, so that we get more interesting rhythms. If we divide the quarters in half, we get eighths. Now, we have eight beats taking up the same amount of time as four quarter beats.

We’ll go further with these ideas another time, but for today, that’s enough to give us options to mix and match, and create some more interesting strum patterns.

So, the patterns we’re learning today is D D  DU  DU. (D=Down stroke, U=Up stroke)

That takes up a full bar, and each of the down strokes happens on the quarter beat. The upstrokes can be counted by saying “and” which represents the second 8th note of that quarter beat.

So, we can count that same pattern like this: “One Two Three AND Four AND.”

So we have two quarter beats, then four eighth beats, and altogether, that makes a full bar.


This Fun Picking Pattern Combines Picking & Strumming

A lot of guitar players treat strumming and picking as separate skills, and rarely allow the two to meet… which is a shame, because they ARE separate skills, but once combined, they allow access to so much more than either skill could access individually.

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In today’s guitar lesson, we’re going to look at one of the examples out of my Dynamic Rhythm Guitar course from the section on Picking, and it is one that begins to mix strumming and picking together into a single pattern.

The “strumming” that we’re doing here is only on two strings – the first and second strings – and that alone is a good place to start practicing for a lot of you strummers: precision strumming! Can you selectively strum any two or three strings that you want? If not, start practicing, because you’ll need that ability when you start merging your strumming with your picking.

The main thing to note about the notation used here is that the R represents the Root string number. So in the case of a normal open G major chord, you’d play the 6th string where the root note for the G major chord is found (3rd fret). In the case of an open D major, you’d play the 4th string in that R position. The rest of the numbers on that same line indicate the string numbers to play. Below that you’ll see the Count written out, if you want to learn how to count the example out, rhythmically.


How Do YOU Add Dynamics Into Your Playing?

Crescendo SymbolMusic without dynamics is a bit like listening to music coming out of a 1980’s computer that could just do beeps. Sure, you could make it play a recognizable tune, but there were zero dynamics!

There’s much more to music than simply the tune itself. Dynamics is the often unwritten, un-talked-about element that makes a song go from the depths of a valley all the way to soaring mountain vistas…. or completely fall flat. In proper written music, you’ll find this already present, with terms like crescendo, decrescendo, staccato, and many, many others. But in 99% of popular music today, you’re not going to find written music that is accurate to that level of detail. Most of the time, you’ve got a simple chord chart – at best – and somehow you have to make it sound good – you have to interpret it for yourself.

If we all spoke in monotone voices, the world would be a boring place to be. Thankfully, we have all kinds of natural inflection in our voices: we change pitch (that refers to the notes played) but we also change the volume, intensity, and the speed with which we talk, depending on what and how we’re trying to communicate.

The question is – how do go about doing the same things on guitar?

I’m right in the middle of creating a brand new course that will be at least partially addressing this important subject, so I’ve got some thoughts of my own on the subject, but I really wanted to get the discussion going here, and open it up to YOU.

So – how do YOU add dynamics into YOUR playing?

Share your thoughts below and hopefully we can all learn something from the discussion!

Chug-Zing Strumming Technique

Here’s another guitar lesson, brought to you from the beautiful outdoors in British Columbia. Today I wanted to take a look at a strumming technique that can really help add some dynamics to your guitar playing.

The heart of this technique is to simply be selective in what strings you strum… don’t feel like you always have to strum all the strings at the same time!

The “chug” part of this comes from strumming the lowest two or three strings in your chord. This is going to form the main part of your rhythm, but as soon as we add in the “zing” bit (a full strum), it really brightens up the sound spectrum, gives a bit of pop and sizzle. And then you’re right back into the chug, and the listener is left waiting for the next zing to pop out…

Alright, here’s the lesson – let me know what you think in the comments below!

Oh yeah – and if you want a heads up notice on the new course I’m creating, on this type of playing (adding dynamics and generally making simple stuff sound really cool) then click here.

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The Most Popular Strum Pattern In The World

Have you ever struggled to find a strum pattern to fit a particular song?

The strum pattern that Colin will teach you in this very short lesson is compatible with an incredible number of songs, across all kinds of different genres. That makes it a must-have pattern for any beginner guitar player to have in their bag of tricks. It works great for songs in 4/4 time, which is most songs.

At the end of the lesson, Colin tosses in a bonus strumming pattern that is quite similar to the main one; together they give you some very good options if you’re learning a new song and you’re not quite sure what to start off with.

Colin has an entire course packed full of guitar strumming patterns, if you’re interested in that you can learn more here.

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Click here for more lessons on strumming patterns.


Pick ‘n’ Pluck – Fingerpicking Technique

This guitar lesson covers a fingerpicking technique that I like using from time to time. The basic idea is that you pick the root note with your pick (plectrum… whatever!), and then you pluck strings 1, 2, and 3 simultaneously after that. This gives a somewhat syncopated rhythmic feel, and it sounds great because you can get really fancy with the bass lines if you want too.

If you want to get technical, I guess this isn’t true fingerpicking; because in that case you wouldn’t be using a pick at all, you’d be using only your fingers. My preference is to combine the use of the pick and the fingers, which is what is referred to as hybrid picking.

If you do want to get fancier with the root notes, think about what the bass player would do in that situation, and try playing around with those ideas. If you know what guitar scales you have to work with, then you can play around in there. In this video you’ll see I do a bit of that with the riff / progression towards the end of the video. There are many other guitar riffs that you could use this with, you just have to be creative.

Pick ‘n’ Pluck – Fingerpicking Technique

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