3 July 2008

625 Guitar Strum Patterns

Are you looking for new strumming patterns to spice up your rhythm guitar playing? Well, here's a simple tool you can use to create 625 four beat rhythm patterns to play on your guitar.

You can carry it in your guitar bag or pocket, and the great thing is it costs nothing. You can make it yourself in just five minutes by following the instructions in this article.

1. Take a sheet of paper - A4 or Letter sized is good - and fold it in half vertically two times to create four columns.

2. Next, open the sheet out again and draw five equally spaced rows using a ruler and pencil. If you have Letter size paper your rows will be 2.2 inches (approx. 55 mm) wide. For A4 paper, mark your rows 59 mm wide.

3. You now have a sheet with twenty rectangles marked on it. You are going to add a strum patterns in each rectangle, rectangles that represent one beat in the music. Copy the symbols from the table below onto the rectangles on your sheet of paper.

Simple text is used for each strum pattern because it's easy to draw in text, but you can use music notation for quarter notes (one beat), eighth notes (half a beat) and rests if you prefer. You'll find a description of the symbols below the table.

The symbols used in the table are:

D - A quarter note strummed down

d u - Two eighth notes, strum down then up

d x – An eighth note strum followed by eighth note rest, strum down then mute the strings

x u – An eighth note rest followed by an eighth note strum, mute the strings then strum up

X - A quarter note rest, play nothing for one beat. You can choose to let the previous note ring on or mute the strings.

Now cut out the rectangles, shuffle them and pick four randomly. Congratulations, you have your first rhythm pattern to play.

For example, you might have picked the following four symbols: D, d u, X, d x.

Pick up your guitar and play the pattern using a chord progression or song you know. When you get bored with it, put your cards back in a pile, shuffle them and pick four again to create a new pattern.

The combinations of five symbols allow you to make up 625 four beat patterns. That should give you enough rhythm ideas to work with for a while.

You can create even more patterns by swapping down strums or up strums. You can also create two or four bar patterns by picking eight or sixteen cards, respectively.

You might want to consider one accessory, a paper clip, to stop the pieces getting lost. Or you might choose to build the super deluxe version using thin card that wears out less easily.

Happy strumming.

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TheAbacus said...

Hi.. The strumming technique you have described is quite similar to the way I have in my post! I liked your article.. I wouldn't mind your views on my article. Do have a look!



Gary Fletcher said...

Hi Abacus, Thanks for your comment. You make a good point in your post about down and up hand motion. Keep your strumming hand moving up and down steadily with the beat. Vary the strum pattern by hitting the strings on some strokes, but not on others.


Anonymous said...

Useful stuff man. Just what i've been looking for

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