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Basic strumming struggles

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WoodChuck
(@woodchuck)
New Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

Feeling kind of stupid, but more frustrated, I am wondering if anyone has some advice for me that can help. I have tried to learn the guitar for some time now and find myself frustrated when it comes to strum patterns and how to play. I have the basic chords down and have also messed around with picking, but when it comes to getting a strum pattern down I fall short everytime and find myself putting the guitar down. I really love the guitar and would love even more to learn how to strum.

Is there a basic strum pattern or a few different ones that can fit most songs?

Thanks,


   
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ricola
(@ricola)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 177
 

Man o man, do I hear what your saying. When I first started, almost 3 moths ago, I was learning chords and thought I was doing pretty good but when it came time to double strum I just couldn't keep it steady to save my life. I was inconsistent and very embarrassed. A guitar player who can't strum? :oops:

Well there's hope! I decided to get lessons and my teacher quickly had me strumming away and practicing a few strums patterns. I also checked out this excellent strumming lesson with videos at http://www.heartwoodguitar.com/WordPressBlog/?p=10 which has been a huge help.

Let me know how it goes and don't give up! It'll happen!

Psa. 42:8
By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.


   
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art&lutherie
(@artlutherie)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1157
 

Your definitely going to need alot of patience for that! Early on I practiced strumming by just muting the strings(laying a finger lightly across them )and making up different combos till I had each one down. For instance Du uu d would be a slightly harder down strum to start with followed immediately by an upstroke tiny(I do mean TINY) pause upstroke upstroke another pause and a down stroke then start over.
Here's a good song to practice if your familiar with it

Knocking On Heavens Door/ Bob Dylan Version:

G D Am
Dduu Dduu Dduu dduu
G D C
Dduu Dduu Dduu dduu

What ever happens take it in small chunks and eventually you'll get it.

Chuck Norris invented Kentucky Fried Chicken's famous secret recipe, with eleven herbs and spices. But nobody ever mentions the twelfth ingredient: Fear!
ChuckNorrisFactsdotCom


   
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chuckster
(@chuckster)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 938
 

I know exactly where you are coming from.

Somebody posted this link a few days ago. There are a number of strumming patterns and song suggestions for each. The MP3 file explains the pattern quite well and goes on to demonstrate each pattern used in a well known song.

http://www.grouptherapy.guernsey.net/strumming.html

There are a few simple strumming patterns to get you started. And when you crack those there are some more difficult ones. I've got the page bookmarked as it's a resource I can see me referring back to quite regularly.

Has anybody mentioned the "P" word yet? :wink:

Enjoy.

I've had a lot of sobering thoughts in my time.
It was them that turned me to drink.


   
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Misanthrope
(@misanthrope)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2261
 

The most important thing to remember when learning strumming is to keep your hand moving nice and evenly even when you're not hitting the strings on that stroke. First, forget chords for the time being. Chose one and stick to it or just mute the strings, you want to be concentrating on the strumming hand not worrying about chords.

Practice by hitting the strings every stroke to get it nice and even - basically a strum pattern of DUDUDUDUDUDU etc. It should be a movement you don't have to put too much thought into, you should be able to keep it even while you're thinking "what can I have for lunch?" pretty quickly.

Once you have that, try and miss the strings once every 8 strokes, on the second stroke, but keep your hand going. You're now strumming D DUDUDUD DUDUDU. Once you have that, miss the strings every 4 strokes, again on the second. You're then strumming D DUD DUD DUD. Once you have that so it's second nature, then you've got a couple of basic strum patterns down, but more importantly you've learned how to strum evenly and any strum patterns you pick up will be 100 times easier.

Now you can start working on throwing chord changes in there - the important thing here is to keep your strumming hand moving evenly, no matter what. The thing that every beginner does to start with is pause the strumming while they concentrate on fingering the new chord, because they don't want the chord to sound awful. The thing is, it doesn't matter if you can't change chord quickly and the chord sounds awful - that's what practice is for. If you pause to help get through the chord change, you're learning a new skill a little bit quicker at the expence of picking up a bad habit - not worth it!

I've taught a couple of people this way, and they've both been 90% perfect by the end of the day - it really is that quick if you keep at it through the boring bits.

Good luck! :)

ChordsAndScales.co.uk - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer


   
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geoo
 geoo
(@geoo)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2801
 

Lots of good info for you already. I'll just add that alot of it has to do with not thinking about it too much. When my teacher was showing me different strumming patterns and such I was getting so frustrated cause no matter how hard I tried I couldnt get it. But turns out that was the problem, I was trying to hard. Get the pattern going and then just dont think about it much, relax. A metronome might help too. Depends if you are anti-metronome or not I think.

Other than that its just practice. :shock: Opps I said the "P" word. Practice, patience, and perseverance is the key to guitar.

Good luck
Geoo

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


   
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hbriem
(@hbriem)
Honorable Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 646
 

Get a thinner pick. If you're playing mostly rhythm, a thinner, more flexible pick (0.38-0.52mm) will work wonders to make your strumming faster and smoother.

--
Helgi Briem
hbriem AT gmail DOT com


   
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Riff Raff
(@riff-raff)
Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 371
 

Don't get too frustrated, strumming is difficult at first, but you'll get it!
I think the easiest strum pattern for me, even at first, was: Dduudu
I can even sing while playing this! There are a LOT of songs that use this strum pattern.
Try "Brown Eyed Girl" from the Easy Songs forum:
https://www.guitarnoise.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=13700

Good luck and keep at it!! It will come with practice.


   
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Riff Raff
(@riff-raff)
Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 371
 

Also, try a strumming pattern slowly at first. A metronome helps. Then when you get good at it, you can gradually do it faster and faster until it's up to song speed. It's all muscle memory. This means, at some point your arm will do it without you having to think too hard about it. When you're at that point, you may be able to sing and play at the same time.


   
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WoodChuck
(@woodchuck)
New Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

This is great advice and I will try it all. Just to let you know I think I have learned more about guitar strumming with your advice that I did with my guitar instructor for 2 months. Not sure if he was that bad or I was just that ignorant. Something didn't click, but I think I am going to try someone else just to see if it is me or what.

I am not afraid of the big bad "P" word, but practice isn't any fun when you struggle with what you are doing.

Again THANKS, :D


   
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chuckster
(@chuckster)
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I am not afraid of the big bad "P" word, but practice isn't any fun when you struggle with what you are doing.

It can seem frustrating at times but when you finally nail something its a real eureka moment. Worth all the blood sweat and tears. :wink:

I've had a lot of sobering thoughts in my time.
It was them that turned me to drink.


   
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tuckatangent
(@tuckatangent)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 22
 

Thanks for all the advice, y'all! Lots of helpful things in this thread!


   
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mikey
(@mikey)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 329
 

Strumming is harder that you would think it should be. After all it is just an down and up thing right? It is very much like riding a bike. At first you have to think about keeping balance, pedaling, where you're pointed. Then one day you just get on and go without a thought. While there are hundreds of variations there will be a few patterns that you will find yourself using over and over again. D Du uD or D Du uDu. Are pretty basic.

Think of counting time (this is where a metronome comes in). Simple 4/4 time. 4 beats per measure. 4 Quarter notes would be counted 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 (2 measures) and would be played D D D D D D D D

Pretty boring. Add eighth notes. 1+ 2+ 3+ 4+ 1+ 2+ 3+ 4+ or DuDuDuDu DuDuDuDu. 8 strokes 4 down and 4 up per measure. Make it interesting by taking out the first 2 up strokes. on the counts of 1+ and 2+. Keep your hand moving but miss the strings with your fingers or pick. D D DuDu D D DuDu

Get the idea. Practice with muted strings, no chord. so you only hear the chuck chuck chuka chucka

Better yet. Noteboat wrote a great lesson on keeping time and strumming patterns.

https://www.guitarnoise.com/lessons/keeping-time/

Playing an instrument is good for your soul


   
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ccwilliams
(@ccwilliams)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 13
 

I also found the lessons at http://guitar.about.com/library/blguitarlessonarchive.htm were a great help when I started out. Start at lesson 2 for strumming.

They give strumming patterns and sound files to go with them. Then you try and take the pattern and slowly at first start strumming and gradually you build speed and it does become second nature.

http://guitar.about.com/library/blguitarlessonarchive.htm

Chris


   
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ricola
(@ricola)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 177
 

I also found the lessons at http://guitar.about.com/library/blguitarlessonarchive.htm were a great help when I started out. Start at lesson 2 for strumming.

They give strumming patterns and sound files to go with them. Then you try and take the pattern and slowly at first start strumming and gradually you build speed and it does become second nature.

http://guitar.about.com/library/blguitarlessonarchive.htm

Chris

I'll vouch for this as well as I went through the same beginner lessons. although the theory was lacking it does get you up and playing...

Psa. 42:8
By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.


   
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