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(@jsilver)
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Joined: 14 years ago
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I've been trying to figure out this strumming pattern all evening.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHI2XgBynWk

He is switching between a C chord and an F chord but for the life of me I can't figure out the strum pattern. Can someone please help?

And in the spirit of teaching a man to fish, how do I go about determining strum patterns myself? I don't know how to slow the video down enough to see what he's doing, and I've tried a few patterns but can't make it sound like him.

Thanks in advance.
Josh


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(@joehempel)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2418
 

While I can't tell you what this guy is playing because I can't hear it (no speakers) really the best way to figure out strumming patterns is to just keep listening to it in my opinion.

And to be honest, I myself don't really adhere to strumming patterns as long as the correct time and beats are correct, you'll be able to make it sound like the song with just working with the chords a little bit and experimenting.

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


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(@dalboy)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 29
 

This is my personal opinion of listening to the first 10 seconds:

d d (pause) u d u d (pause) u d u

repeat

What do you think? I may be wrong as im no professional, just using some experience and ear.

I was in the same boat when I first started to learn - You need to listen to the record over and over. Depends how complicated the record is to start with. If its a pop song then it should be fine. Look up different strumming patterns and nail them. Theres probably about 10 different patterns that are used millions of times in pop songs - just different speeds, muting etc... can make the same pattern sound different. You just have to use your ear and learn some patterns. I always thought why dont they tell you the pattern on tab sites but if you look into it, its very hard to tab strumming patterns. If you can get it to sound very similar to the original record then I would say its fine and you are probably near correct and wouldnt worry too much about getting it perfect.

HTH


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(@minotaur)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1092
 

While I can't tell you what this guy is playing because I can't hear it (no speakers) really the best way to figure out strumming patterns is to just keep listening to it in my opinion.

And to be honest, I myself don't really adhere to strumming patterns as long as the correct time and beats are correct, you'll be able to make it sound like the song with just working with the chords a little bit and experimenting.

Not to mention that the video has a delay, so it's hard to tell where his hand is. My video has the same thing. It's crappy webcams that do that.

Even as a rank newbie I agree that as long as it sounds right, it probably is. Proud Mary drove me nuts for the longest time because all I could figure out was a D U D U D U D U. And it sounds good. But then after obsessing, I mean listening, I discovered it's really a D U U U D U U U. But the important thing in this song is that the 1st & 4th beats are accented.

Now, there are some songs that require a particular strumming pattern: Night Moves, My Sweet Lord, Working Class Hero, House of the Rising Sun, Horse With No Name (OK, my repetoire is limited :P ).

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


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(@frankyl)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 44
 

This is my personal opinion of listening to the first 10 seconds:

d d (pause) u d u d (pause) u d u

repeatThat seems pretty good to me. But I don't know if the strumming pattern alone is what's causing JSilver's problems. Watching the video, I noticed that he's also hammering on some of the notes in the chord after the first strum (at least sometime, I think), using that to color the playing a little more. I noticed that because I only recently really learned and understood this trick (I think I read about it here, I'd have to go back and look) and have started overusing it in an effort to learn to make it sound good.

So he's strumming the C chord the first time with his finger lifted off of the fourth string, then hammering onto the fourth string, second fret, then maybe (I'm not sure I can tell) doing it at other points in the strumming.

So just strumming won't get you exactly the same as he's getting, though I think you can do a nice easy version of it that way. And I think I may work on doing that, myself.

Take my opinion with a grain of salt. I think I'm seeing/hearing what I said, but I could be off.


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(@matteo)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 557
 

While I can't tell you what this guy is playing because I can't hear it (no speakers) really the best way to figure out strumming patterns is to just keep listening to it in my opinion.

And to be honest, I myself don't really adhere to strumming patterns as long as the correct time and beats are correct, you'll be able to make it sound like the song with just working with the chords a little bit and experimenting.

Not to mention that the video has a delay, so it's hard to tell where his hand is. My video has the same thing. It's crappy webcams that do that.

Even as a rank newbie I agree that as long as it sounds right, it probably is. Proud Mary drove me nuts for the longest time because all I could figure out was a D U D U D U D U. And it sounds good. But then after obsessing, I mean listening, I discovered it's really a D U U U D U U U. But the important thing in this song is that the 1st & 4th beats are accented.

Now, there are some songs that require a particular strumming pattern: Night Moves, My Sweet Lord, Working Class Hero, House of the Rising Sun, Horse With No Name (OK, my repetoire is limited :P ).

hi minotaur

sorry if i correct you and please do not consider me in any way arrogant because my intention is to help you, but i wish to tell you that the pattern you're using for Proud Mary is not correct. Like in most CCR song, they use a simple du/du/du/du pattern that you could, of course substitute, with a syncopated one like du/Du/u/du. What makes it a bit difficult to discerne is that, like in most rock songs, beats 2 and four are accented (not beat 1 and four) but the accent is not made with a stronger strum but simply releasing the strings on the downstrum

so the 100% perfect strum would be

d u/xu/du/xu and so on

at the beginning you could play just the strummed notes like this

du/u/du/u and so on

Another thing: regarding the other songs i know only rising sun and working class hero and in those one it is not a matter of strumming pattern but of different time signature. Both are in 6/8 time signature so you could not play them like a 4/4 one

Cheers

Matteo


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(@minotaur)
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Joined: 14 years ago
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It's not a problem, Matteo. I'm glad you pointed it out to me. I always felt it was correct doing it DU/DU/DU/DU. It's just that it sounds DUUUDUUU listening to the recording. In fact, this is where I made the connection, right or wrong... http://www.irish-banjo.com/technique/accompaniment/basic-rhythm-6.html
Adding the first beat
With offbeats alone the basic rhythm can easily be lost. We can correct that by adding the first beat in the bar as well:

http://home.online.no/~frnordbe/midis/44/44-rhythm-27.mid

I call this the "Proud Mary" rhythm after the famous Creedence Clearwater Revival tune that uses it extensively.
But this:
so the 100% perfect strum would be

d u/xu/du/xu and so on

at the beginning you could play just the strummed notes like this

du/u/du/u and so on

Is not too far off from what I think I hear. One stroke is muted, instead of 3 upstrokes?

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


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(@chris-c)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3460
 

... really the best way to figure out strumming patterns is to just keep listening to it in my opinion.

And to be honest, I myself don't really adhere to strumming patterns as long as the correct time and beats are correct, you'll be able to make it sound like the song with just working with the chords a little bit and experimenting.

I'm 100% with Joe on this one. The ear is the best way. :)

I never had much luck trying to use DUDUUU style instructions, because they leave out so much of the 'juice' that makes the real difference.

As FrankyL pointed out, there can be many other things going on too. For instance, I frequently flick some of the strings with my index finger in a way that would be hard to spot if you were watching my thumb - and also hard to see anyway, depending on the camera angle. It's often pretty much impossible to see whether fingertips are just passing over various strings or actually striking them, so you really need to be able to use your ear to work out what's going on.

There can also be a big variation in sound depending on which strings are being strummed. It could be all six, or different small sections. The relative speed of the strums or strikes has a huge effect too. So I've found that listening carefully to trying and pick up what the important rhythmic elements are - and then doing it my own way - seems to work best for me. You may well end up with something that is not strictly the same, but which is still true to the spirit of the song. Or you might even come up with a fresh interpretation altogether. But it's all good... :)

Cheers,

Chris


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(@matteo)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 557
 

It's not a problem, Matteo. I'm glad you pointed it out to me. I always felt it was correct doing it DU/DU/DU/DU. It's just that it sounds DUUUDUUU listening to the recording. In fact, this is where I made the connection, right or wrong... http://www.irish-banjo.com/technique/accompaniment/basic-rhythm-6.html
Adding the first beat
With offbeats alone the basic rhythm can easily be lost. We can correct that by adding the first beat in the bar as well:

http://home.online.no/~frnordbe/midis/44/44-rhythm-27.mid

I call this the "Proud Mary" rhythm after the famous Creedence Clearwater Revival tune that uses it extensively.
But this:
so the 100% perfect strum would be

d u/xu/du/xu and so on

at the beginning you could play just the strummed notes like this

du/u/du/u and so on

Is not too far off from what I think I hear. One stroke is muted, instead of 3 upstrokes?

Hi minotaur

i saw the page you enclosed. He suggested to use

du/u/u/u

or 1&,&;&,&

if you preferer

so that in each measure you use a single downstrum and four consecutive upstrums (not three as you posted). This is a very common rhythm that emphazise all offbeats and, by the way, it is the exact rhythm CCR use in "Fortunate song" (both verse and chorus). If you know the song go check and you'll be amazed how easy it is to learn it (just four power chords).

Having said so, you could also use the above pattern to play Proud Mary, it is not a problem as long as it it a four/four rhythm. In any case try to learn the damped pattern i suggested because it is very common, so common that it sometimes called basic rock pattern

The key to play it right is to relase the strings on beat 2 and 4, this way accenting back beats and of course never stopping the right hand. If you play it a bit lazy (purists would say "swinging it"), it is an excellent blues rhythm too

cheers

Matteo


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(@dalboy)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 29
 

This is my personal opinion of listening to the first 10 seconds:

d d (pause) u d u d (pause) u d u

repeatThat seems pretty good to me. But I don't know if the strumming pattern alone is what's causing JSilver's problems. Watching the video, I noticed that he's also hammering on some of the notes in the chord after the first strum (at least sometime, I think), using that to color the playing a little more. I noticed that because I only recently really learned and understood this trick (I think I read about it here, I'd have to go back and look) and have started overusing it in an effort to learn to make it sound good.

So he's strumming the C chord the first time with his finger lifted off of the fourth string, then hammering onto the fourth string, second fret, then maybe (I'm not sure I can tell) doing it at other points in the strumming.

So just strumming won't get you exactly the same as he's getting, though I think you can do a nice easy version of it that way. And I think I may work on doing that, myself.

Take my opinion with a grain of salt. I think I'm seeing/hearing what I said, but I could be off.
I did notice the pull offs etc... but I thought the OP just wanted the strum pattern.


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(@minotaur)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1092
 

Hi minotaur

i saw the page you enclosed. He suggested to use

du/u/u/u

or 1&,&;&,&

if you preferer

so that in each measure you use a single downstrum and four consecutive upstrums (not three as you posted).

Thanks Matteo...

It's funny you say that because when I first saw that pattern it did look like the way you described it. I will try it that way. This is something that I'll probably go over with my new teacher. I don't want to over emphasize (i.e. obsess), but it's best to learn things the right way. I've developed bad habits trying to learn by myself.

Btw, you mentioned House of the Rising Sun and Working Class Hero as 6/8... that is just how I do them. That I figured out. :D In Working Class Hero you can hear that it's not just b D U h D U. I can't explain it or tab it, but I can do it and keep time with the song.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


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(@matteo)
Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 557
 

Hi minotaur

i saw the page you enclosed. He suggested to use

du/u/u/u

or 1&,&;&,&

if you preferer

so that in each measure you use a single downstrum and four consecutive upstrums (not three as you posted).

Thanks Matteo...

It's funny you say that because when I first saw that pattern it did look like the way you described it. I will try it that way. This is something that I'll probably go over with my new teacher. I don't want to over emphasize (i.e. obsess), but it's best to learn things the right way. I've developed bad habits trying to learn by myself.

Btw, you mentioned House of the Rising Sun and Working Class Hero as 6/8... that is just how I do them. That I figured out. :D In Working Class Hero you can hear that it's not just b D U h D U. I can't explain it or tab it, but I can do it and keep time with the song.

Hi mate

one of the greatest mistake we do in the beginning of our guitar adventure is to focus too much on patterns while we should focus on rhythm!I use "we" because that's exactly what i did in my first months.To ask which is the pattern for a song is a misleading question because the same sequence of strums could mean dozens of different rhythms and there is no way to understand which is the right one unless you learn rhythms.

If i woud say that a pattern is D u D this could mean for a 4/4 song:

D/pause/u/D
DU/pause/pause/D
Du/D/pause/pause
D/U/pause/D
pause/DU/D/pause

and a lot of other different rhythms, each one sounding utterly different from the other. Not to mention that the same pattern could be used to describe a 3/4 song like this

Du/d/pause
D/u/D

and so on.

The best thing to do is to forget about patterns and really concentrate on rhythms, learning as many rhythms as you can (that's where a tutorial cd comes real handy). You could do this learning to tap your foot to the beat (an excellent idea is to tap your foot with the click of a metronome for a few days until it comes you natural), then learn rhythms the way you prefer: clapping your hands, singing them, strumming on mute strings and so on (of course always tapping your foot with the beat). This way you internalize the rhythm. Be sure that when you will be able to clap a rhythm alongisde a click while tapping your foot regurarly with the beat, you surely can play it with guitar, at the beginning with a single chord, later with a progression. When you learn a few rhythms in different time signature and feels (triplets or straight), it is time to go back and to apply them to the songs you like.
How to determine which pattern to use?
if you know some rhythms, it is quite easy because you can follow a few steps:

a) determine which time signature the song is. Most of the times in pop/rock it is 4/4 but sometimes you could find some 3/4 or 6/8;
b) listen to the drums which are easier to discerne than guitar parts and determine which is the main rhythm. You sustantially have three chanches: quavers (most of rock songs), semiquavers (most of ballads and slow songs), triplets (blues);
c) then choose a pattern which is compatible with the main rhythm: this means to play semiquavers if the song is based on semiquavers, triplets if it based on triplets

That's it: you can be sure that your pattern even if not exactly like the original, will work (that's what i meant when I discussed about different Proud mary patterns). Of course more rhythms you know, it will be easier to understand which is the real patterns of a song but it is a learning process so don't get obsessesed with it.
Also it is useful to remember that each music style has some peculiar rhythms which is good to know.

Cheers

Matteo


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(@minotaur)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1092
 

This is a good conversation, and I'm picking up tips. Thanks.
Hi mate

one of the greatest mistake we do in the beginning of our guitar adventure is to focus too much on patterns while we should focus on rhythm!I use "we" because that's exactly what i did in my first months.To ask which is the pattern for a song is a misleading question because the same sequence of strums could mean dozens of different rhythms and there is no way to understand which is the right one unless you learn rhythms.

I agree and understand now, as I've learned over the past year. Example, I got so hung up on the "pattern" for Sundown that I couldn't see the forest for the trees. I watched videos intently. In one particular video the instructor had an extremely rigid pattern that he said was used throughout the whole song. Yeah well... it didn't work so hot; and he never went through the whole song! I knew something was wrong. So I started with what I could hear and discern at the beginning and said "oh eff it!" and just went with what the rhythm told me to do. And guess what... that works.
If i woud say that a pattern is D u D this could mean for a 4/4 song:

D/pause/u/D
DU/pause/pause/D
Du/D/pause/pause
D/U/pause/D
pause/DU/D/pause

and a lot of other different rhythms, each one sounding utterly different from the other. Not to mention that the same pattern could be used to describe a 3/4 song like this

Du/d/pause
D/u/D

and so on.

I got hung up on what I thought "should be" the pattern for Heart of Gold. The problem is that in a recording there is so much going on. There may be several guitars. Gordon Lightfoot has 4 guitars in Sundown... 12 string rhythm, 2 leads playing different passages (especially prominent listening with headphones), and bass. George Harrison has more than one acoustic guitar in My Sweet Lord (or it's overdubbed with that horrid Phil Spector Wall of Sound ).
The best thing to do is to forget about patterns and really concentrate on rhythms, learning as many rhythms as you can (that's where a tutorial cd comes real handy). You could do this learning to tap your foot to the beat (an excellent idea is to tap your foot with the click of a metronome for a few days until it comes you natural), then learn rhythms the way you prefer: clapping your hands, singing them, strumming on mute strings and so on (of course always tapping your foot with the beat). This way you internalize the rhythm.

I use my foot. I have a metronome but I can't get used to it. I could always revisit trying it. But rhythm and timing is not a problem for me. Even if I flub a chord, I just keep the rhythm going.
That's it: you can be sure that your pattern even if not exactly like the original, will work (that's what i meant when I discussed about different Proud mary patterns). Of course more rhythms you know, it will be easier to understand which is the real patterns of a song but it is a learning process so don't get obsessesed with it.
Also it is useful to remember that each music style has some peculiar rhythms which is good to know.

Cheers

Matteo

There is an article The Pattern Trap that probably merits re-reading periodically. :)

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


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(@frankyl)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 44
 

I agree and understand now, as I've learned over the past year. Example, I got so hung up on the "pattern" for Sundown that I couldn't see the forest for the trees. I watched videos intently. In one particular video the instructor had an extremely rigid pattern that he said was used throughout the whole song. Yeah well... it didn't work so hot; and he never went through the whole song! I knew something was wrong. So I started with what I could hear and discern at the beginning and said "oh eff it!" and just went with what the rhythm told me to do. And guess what... that works.And another big plus to this from me. I found that finding strict guidelines for "the" rhythm for songs helped me learn the chords and speed up my changes while making something that sounded similar to whatever song I was working on in the earliest days (I have now moved from the earliest days to just the early days of my guitar career), but that I almost always start strumming differently when I play one of those songs now. While "the" rhythm that I learned earlier was good, I'm getting into the groove of playing the rhythm that I feel now, with mixed but often good results.

And I'm now smirking when I watch videos that confused me earlier, because I'm recognizing that while the particular teacher may be emphasizing, writing out, and repeatedly telling you "the" rhythm that you should play for a song, he or she's invariably throwing in some subtle differences when he doesn't concentrate on it hard enough, and those subtle differences were throwing me completely.

In short, I've progressed now from the shiny newbie always asking for "the" magic rhythm for a song to the only slightly less shiny newbie espousing the "you'll just get a feel for rhythm with time and practice" philosophy that drove me nuts a year ago.


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(@matteo)
Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 557
 

I use my foot. I have a metronome but I can't get used to it. I could always revisit trying it. But rhythm and timing is not a problem for me. Even if I flub a chord, I just keep the rhythm going.
Hi

if you use to tap your foot you've already done one of the best thing to keep your rhythm regular, but do not overlook the importance of using a metronome. If you have a decent sense of time it is not so vital to use metronome until you dela with easy strumming songs (i.e. CCR, a lot of Rolling stones, Beatles ecc.) but it will pay you great dividends when you learn more complex rhythms or guitar parts (i.e syncopated funky scratch rhythms or hard rock and heavy metal obsessive fast downpicking syncopated rhythms).
It is also an invaluable tool when you have to learn a part that it is simply too fast for your current tecnhical abilities: i remember when i had to learn Motorhead's Iron Fist which is 294 bpm (quite fast ain't it?), i was simply not able to play it alongiside original recording, so i had to work it at the metronome, starting around 220 and in a few weeks i was able to correctly play it with my band

cheers

Matteo


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