Basic Strumming Patterns

A consistent strumming technique is an important skill for any guitarist, especially those interested in acoustic guitar playing. If you have just started playing the guitar then learning some simple strumming patterns is a good way to develop your skills.

Before starting this lesson you should already be familiar with strumming and plucking and I suggest you learn some basic chords. For convenience, all of the strumming patterns in this lesson will all use the C major chord, which is the first chord in the 'basic chords' section of this site.

Play through the example below. Count '1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and' at a constant rate whilst you strum. The downstrokes should be in time with each number and the upstrokes should be in time with each 'and'.

Audio file - figure 1

Below you will see another simple strumming pattern. Try to figure out how it should sound without listening to the audio file. Remember to always count along whilst strumming and slow it down if you have to.

Audio file - figure 2

This third example may be a harder to count along to but give it a go. Listen or play along to the audio file if you find it tricky.

Audio file - figure 3

Once you have mastered these strumming patterns try to think up some of your own. Listen to music and figure out strumming patterns that other musicians use. A consistent strumming technique is a widely overlooked aspect of guitar playing, you will be surprised how many guitarists do not practise their strumming.