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strumming pattern


(@gpshad15)
New Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

I want to know what the this stumming pattern means:
12&a3e&4&a
if that makes sense...
or if you guys could refer me to a webpage where I can learn about strumming please, thank you.


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(@big-lar)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 165
 

I've not seen that notation before. If I had to guess, it would be 4/4 time, with a downstrum only on the 1st beat, and the remaining beats with both down and up strums. I'm reading it as "1, 2 and 3 and 4 and", so translated "down, down-up, down-up, down-up, down, down-up, down-up, down-up, down, etc."

As for lessons on this topic, check out the guitar noise podcast. Go back to the first few episodes. Also, search this site for lessons on strumming. I hope this helps.


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(@hyperborea)
Prominent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 833
 

The e and a (sometimes eh and ah) are uses for 16th note counting. So you would have four strums in the duration of a single quarter note. If you have the metronome set to click on a quarter note you would strum four times during the interval from that click to the next - 1 e & a. You can say this as you strum and to get a feel for it you should try it at a slow tempo that you can easily do and for every beat count - 1 e & a and so on - to get the feel for it.

Your notation - 1 2 & a 3 e & 4 & a - is dividing up the total 16th notes into some that you strike and some that you don't. You keep the hand moving for all the 16th notes but on the ones in the notation you actually strike the strings. If you keep moving in a uniform consistent pattern then the numbers and the &'s will be down strums and the e's and the a's will be up strums.

Keep the motion consistent with 4 arm movements per beat at least at first. Some people shorten the movement or almost completely eliminate them when there are large gaps in the strumming pattern such as in yours from the 1 to the 2 but don't do that at first until you really get the feel for the strumming with 16th notes. If you don't keep the strum even it can be easy to lose the beat.

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson


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 KR2
(@kr2)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2725
 

16ths = 1 e & a 2 e & a . . .

Pattern = 12&a3e&4&a

So, translating the above, you would strum on the red letters.

1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a

1 u d u 2 u d u 3 u d u 4 u d u

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.


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(@gpshad15)
New Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

If you keep moving in a uniform consistent pattern then the numbers and the &'s will be down strums and the e's and the a's will be up strums.

So this would apply to every strumming pattern or just to this one pattern?


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(@hyperborea)
Prominent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 833
 

If you keep moving in a uniform consistent pattern then the numbers and the &'s will be down strums and the e's and the a's will be up strums.

So this would apply to every strumming pattern or just to this one pattern?

Well, first off there are no absolute rules when strumming but there are general guidelines. What I said above was general guidelines that apply to 16th note strumming. I'm saying this upfront so that you don't get locked into some rigid rules. Follow the guidelines (in strumming and other areas of the guitar) but as you master those guidelines feel free to break from them if you want and most important if it works for the music.

For that pattern above with 16th notes you would mostly follow what I wrote above. However, somebody may do it all in down strums. It would be harder to do but it would sound a lot different and in some cases it would work for the song.

For other patterns the general rule is to down strum on the number (1, 2, etc.) and then alternate if any between the numbers. So eighth note strums - 1 & 2 & etc. - would mean down strum on the number and up strum on the &.

If you were strumming triplets - 1 la le 2 la le etc. - you have a choice as to what to do since there aren't an equal number of down and up strums in a beat. You could either down strum on the beat and then alternate the la and le to return to a down strum on the next number or you could always alternate - d u d for the first beat and then u d u for the second beat.

Where it gets trickier is what to do if you've got a pattern that's mostly say 8th notes but has one beat with a 16th note in it? for example - 1 2 & 3 a 4 & Do you play it all as 16th notes? Maybe or you could play it as 8th notes with the a in the 3rd beat an upstroke but with a little pause before it to move it from the & to the a.

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson


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(@srmaximo)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 25
 

Hey, I recognize that pattern. I use it for playing "Comfortably Numb." It's pattern #155 here.

http://www.heartwoodguitar.com/strum-pattern/#strum-pattern-155

I find the D and U notation easier to read than all the 1's and e's and &'s.

Hope this helps,

Rob

Teach Guitar
Free Guitar Tabs
Strum Patterns


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(@neztok)
Estimable Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 152
 

Hey cool Rob, your website got to the best strumming page on the net. And trust me I've been looking a long time. I'm pretty sure I've been to your website before but somehow I missed the strumming page (must of been a fly by).

A five year waiting list, huh? Darn. You need to start a school like Noteboat.


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(@srmaximo)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 25
 

Glad you're digging the site, Neztok. I'm actually creating a beginning guitar course that should be available in the Fall. Perhaps it will be consolation for the people on my waiting list. :)

Teach Guitar
Free Guitar Tabs
Strum Patterns


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