The Art of Guitar Strumming

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons, Tutorials & Tips' started by Bandbaaja, Jan 27, 2005.

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  1. Bandbaaja

    Bandbaaja Pronounced Band Baaaa Ja

    Was actually replying to a query posed by Madhura, and thought this could be a part of a Beginner's Tutorial.
    While learning the guitar and the notes, and chords, some students find it difficult to actually play the chords of a song in a basic strumming pattern.
    Of course some take up strumming very easily and it also sometimes comes naturally.
    I had to go thru major patience levels to grasp chord positions, but I got thru with the STRUMMING barrier quite naturally.
    So this post here is not for the naturally gifted strummers, but for people who find problems in the DOWN UP MOVEMENT of strumming.

    While learning strumming, u have to be conscious of your hand movement to match the counts etc. HERE you will find your hand moving more like a mechanical robot. BUT the art of strumming begins with having your right hand low down and up in a smooth natural movement.

    STRUMMING is an ART based on a simple DOWN-UP movement of your hand. So your hand should ALWAYS move down and up,
    and based on the pattern that you are playing you either choose to HIT or MISS the strings while going down or HIT or MISS it while coming up.

    For example some basic strumming patterns to Practice are as follows:


    1) First divide the basic counts into a pattern like this: 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

    2) Move your hand down on ONE and UP on the AND (&) and keep this going on continuously.

    3) Wherever in the examples there is an X mark, you DO NOT stop your hand movement, but you simply DONT play on that X.

    Example 1:
    Hitting all the counts:

    1--&--2--&--3--&--4--& | 1--&--2--&--3--&--4--& |
    D--U--D--U--D--U--D--U | D--U--D--U--D--U--D--U |

    Example 2:
    Hitting on 1-2&3-4&

    1--&--2--&--3--&--4--& | 1--&--2--&--3--&--4--& |
    D--X--D--U--D--X--D--U | D--X--D--U--D--X--D--U |

    Example 3
    Hitting on 1-2&-&4&
    This pattern if played at a moderate speed can be used for Papa Kehte Hain type of songs:

    1--&--2--&--3--&--4--& | 1--&--2--&--3--&--4--& |
    D--X--D--U--X--U--D--U | D--X--D--U--X--U--D--U |

    Example 4
    Hitting on 1&-&-&4&

    1--&--2--&--3--&--4--& | 1--&--2--&--3--&--4--& |
    D--U--X--U--X--U--D--U | D--U--X--U--X--U--D--U |


    APART from these strumming patterns there are quite a few complicated ones, - some which require you to MUTE the strings after you BANG on it ONCE. - some which require you to HIT the strings hard with your right hand, but completely MUTED by your LEFT hand.

    Like the BOSSANOVA pattern, if you remember George Michael's Faith, or Allah Ke Bandhe the pattern doesnt let the strings RING
    Basically the sound shouldn't be CHANNNNGGGGGG it should rather be CHANK!

    THE PROs HERE CAN ADD ON TO THIS............?
    shantanukr and rizaaj like this.
  2. nikamma1112

    nikamma1112 New Member

    Thanks ...

    Very useful thread there!

    Could never strum properly for the first two 3-odd months that I was learning ... then finally struck gold with the song Wonderwall, which was the first song I could strum and play perfectly.

    Now, I am reasonably comfortable with most strumming patterns, but just cannot get the hang of Bossa Nova ...

    - Raj.

    P.S. The rythms I have learnt from my sir not only specify the movement (down/up), but also which strings have to be played (as in, either the three thin ones or the thicker three ...) Will post some of them soon ...
  3. Bandbaaja

    Bandbaaja Pronounced Band Baaaa Ja

    Yes Raj,
    Rhythm Patterns also importantly need u to know which strings you are strumming.
    This matters a lot when you are playing the electric guitar, and especially if your distortion pedal is on, u will really sound like BAD!!!

    But for beginners, on the acoustic guitar, this full chord strumming pattern can be quite useful
  4. light_of_erindi

    light_of_erindi New Member

    Yes ..quite nice... I didn't know there was so much theory behind strumming....
    I learnt it the hard listening to a LOT of songs!!
    Hey is there a tutorial for reading sheet music/intervals for guitar on IGT ?... i'm really bad in theory u know ... just once.... i'd like to flash some techno mumbo-jumbo about scales and notes and stuff to a newbie!!! ;) :)
  5. Subhro

    Subhro Argentina lost :"(

    nice stuff b a n d b a j a a :)
  6. sayanakaharry

    sayanakaharry Forum Leader

    the strumming pattern in "allah ke bande" is an interesting one, as u pointed out. that one can be a good exercise for people who are learning different strumming patterns.
  7. Subhro

    Subhro Argentina lost :"(

    wantd 2 giv u some reps.. but it says i shud sprd my reps frst.. whtevr tht means .. :eek::
  8. Bandbaaja

    Bandbaaja Pronounced Band Baaaa Ja

    hahaha thanks subhro,
    your appreciation is enough :)

    it means u have already given me some reputation, and u need to give reputations to other people before giving it back to me
  9. fictional_real

    fictional_real Pyaasi Jawani

    very nice stuff bandbanja....plz post more of ur knowledge. thanx a lot.
  10. maverick8218

    maverick8218 New Member

    Here are a few songs based on the strumming patterns mentioned here:
    1. 1-2&-&4& - Last kiss, come as you are, hotel california, country roads, papa kehte hai, chura liya hai, cats in the cradle, given to fly.

    2. 1-2&3-4& - All apologies, dum maro dum, living nextdoor to alice

    A li'l word of caution, this may not be exactly how the original songs are played, it's just how i play them and the chord changes match the length of the strum. Feel free to point out any alternate strums, you may be using for the songs I mentioned.
  11. jayswami

    jayswami Blue J

    i just saw this thread. gave it 5 stars. every one else follow suit and give 5 stars to baandbaaja
  12. bob-bobby

    bob-bobby Extinct or Banned!

    good one bandbajja , very nice post !!!
  13. tejas

    tejas ..........

    Very good post. Lot of people ask questions about this, so good job bandbaaja, this should help them.
  14. Bandbaaja

    Bandbaaja Pronounced Band Baaaa Ja

    Thank you all,
    will try to keep posting something new.
    prit_undead and tejas_9889 like this.
  15. bob-bobby

    bob-bobby Extinct or Banned!

    ur welcome dude , its always nice and educating reading your posts ..

    hope to see more of this kinds from you , cheers :)
  16. SB0712

    SB0712 New Member

    this was of gr8 help BB. Thanxs a lot
  17. Liquid

    Liquid New Member

    man u rock....its really frustrating to see all these ppl who can play *sigh*..

    bandbajaa...can u plz give some specific songs with the for example...u have pattern 3 to be "papa kehte hain"...can u put songs up for other patterns?...plz plz plz....ur work is really easy to understand :)
  18. jayswami

    jayswami Blue J

    cool post BB
    i realied i find it impossible to follow the instructons and play in proper timing .. i always get confused :p: then i said screw it.. let me play my ways.. so i played papa kehte hain.. then reverse engineered what i was playing and it matched with what u poseted :)
  19. Subhro

    Subhro Argentina lost :"(

    yes sir.........
  20. jayswami

    jayswami Blue J

    also BB gave strumming for quarter and 8th notes. next step would be to play 16ths.. and syncapations. BB has already given some patterns which have syncapations..
    syncapation is playing something off beat..
    for example.. say we have a a 4/4 beat with 4 8th notes, and 4 8th note rests or silence denoted by %
    u can hum them as tha - tha - tha - tha 
    or 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 with & denoting the silence.
    |1    %     |2    %     |3    %      |4    %     |      
    |tha  %     |tha  %     |tha  %      |tha  %     |
    |D     X    | D    X    |D     X    |D     X     |
    now syncapation would be to do the thas off beat or
    |%     tha  | %     tha   |%    tha    |%     tha    |
    this would sound like
    uh-tha   uh-tha  uh-tha  uh-tha
    strum would be
    |X        U     |X        U     |X        U     |X        U     | 
    then u can mix and match on beat and syncapated notes.
    tha-   tha-      uh-tha   uh-tha  
    tha-   uh-tha   uh-tha   tha-
    this was all rhythm in 8th notes.
    it gets interestingly better when we go to 16th notes...
    here we divide a 4/4 measure into 16 equal divsions
    4:  |thaaaaaaaa |thaaaaaaaa |thaaaaaaaa |thaaaaaaaa|
          D          U           D           U
    8:  |tha    tha    |tha    tha    |tha    tha    |tha    tha   |
          D       U     D       U      D       U      D      U
    16:|thaka thaka |thaka thaka |thaka thaka |thaka thaka |
         D  U  D  U  D U   D  U    D  U  D  U  D  U   D  U
    then u have the same thing on 16ths too.. on beat and syncapation..  
    note: it is not a rule that on beat notes are down strokes and off beat up strokes. 
    this is just lesson 1 :p:
    for in metal u could play
    16:|thaka thaka |thaka thaka |thaka thaka |thaka thaka |
        D  D   D D   D D   D D    D D    D D    D D   D D
      ( jig jig  jig  jig  jig jig jig jig jig jig jig jig jig jig jig jig  )
    all downstrokes power chords is very common in metal rhythm.
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