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Guitar Noise Podcast #8 – Combining Strumming and Crosspicking

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Hello to everyone and welcome to our eighth Guitar Noise Podcast! My apologies that I’m still a little behind schedule. But we should be back on track now!

As you might guess from its title, this GN Podcast combines elements that we’ve been working on since our series of podcasts began. We’ll take one of our earliest strumming patterns and add a bit of crosspicking to it, giving us even more choices of variations and embellishments to the original strumming pattern.

Most of the work in the first two-thirds of this lesson involves a chord progression of G to Bm to C and back to G. In the final third of the podcast, we’ll add a second progression of C to G to A7 to D (or D7) to the first – making the whole thing sound a lot more like a typical song.

As in our previous Guitar Noise Podcasts, I’ll be walking you step by step through the lesson. So put down your painted wings and giant rings and get your guitar and come along and play! And, as always, please let us know what you think.



  1. Ray
    January 13th, 2009 @ 3:29 pm

    David – I was turned on to Guitar Noise by my teacher about 3 months ago. I’ve been quietly catching up on your podcasts. This is about the 5th or 6th time I’ve taken up the guitar in the last 40 years and with the help of your site this is by far the furthest I’ve gone.

    A question for you regarding Podcast #8. Some of the songs I’m trying to learn switch from 1 chord per measure to 2 chords per measure. Am I better to use a cross-picking style that strums the chord on both the 2 and 4 beats this way when I hit a measure with 2 chords there is a little more consistency to the song?

  2. Christine
    June 9th, 2008 @ 8:48 pm

    David – First, I want to thank you so much for your wonderful podcasts. I’m ‘relearning’ guitar late-ish in my life, and I think this time around I have a better chance of sticking with it, due in large part to your patient instruction on some of the coolest strumming techniques I’ll probably ever learn. So my question…I’ve made it to this podcast without using a pick, and it’s all been working quite well. Podcast 8 though is getting a little complicated…do you have any suggestions for those of us who would rather not use a pick, but would still like to learn the techniques?

  3. David Hodge
    May 18th, 2008 @ 6:27 pm

    Hi T E

    There’s a “weird pattern” to the strum because there are two different strums going on between Mr. Clark and his second guitarist. That sort of arrangement (not to mention what all the other musicians are playing) is one big reason not to get hung up on getting the “right” pattern. Usually the “right” pattern involves having help!

    Be that as it may, if you watch Mr. Clark on the couple of close shots that the video gives, and this isn’t counting the introduction, he’s hitting the bass note (with a thumb pick) on the first beat and then hitting just the three high strings for the rest of his strumming. While he’s varying the pattern a bit, it seems that he’s mostly going for the last beat and a half of a given measure.

    Another thing to note in the video is that while the song is in E, he’s definitely using a capo on the second fret and playing in the key of D. But, the lowest note on his guitar is definitely E and not F# (second fret of the low E string). So, is he in Drop D tuning? That would be a good guess.

    But if you look when he makes a G chord (second chord of the song), he’s playing it as a normal open position G. So what gives?

    Take another look at his capo. It’s not going across all six strings. It only goes over five, leaving the sixth string at a normal low E. This allows him to play the other chords in the song G and A) in normal open position (although he’s undoubtedly very careful not to hit the lowest string when playing the A) while still having the low E string ring out while playing a D. The D being, since the capo in on the second fret, an E chord.

    So the chords of the song are E, A and B. With the capo on the second fret, he’s playing D, G and A. And with the use of either a partial capo or simply making sure the capo doesn’t cover the low E string, his chord shapes are D (000232) G (320003) and A (x002220).

    Hope that helps. And, in the future, feel free to just email me directly about something like this.


  4. T E
    May 18th, 2008 @ 7:00 pm

    A some what embarrased and heart-felt thankyou,…folks this guy is a treasure!

  5. T E
    May 16th, 2008 @ 9:54 am

    OK I am blind or stupid …or both…I have listened to the vid a bazillion times…listened,he has a capo at what looks to be the third?!?!?!…I guess your eyes AND your ears are useful. Still has a weird pattern to the strum….

  6. T E
    May 16th, 2008 @ 5:13 am

    David …Please humor me. I have fallen in love and must learn Guy Clark’s “Dublin Blues”,I found a Youtbe version with Russ Barenberg and it is awesome.Sounds like drop D on the intro? I am following the advice of you and many others in trying to figure it out by ear….it seems that the latest Podcast pattern may work …again I am fumbling to get it. Could you help me… list is OK…[email protected] is the link