A 6:8 Strumming Pattern
Now that you’ve gotten a little familiar with 6:8 time, hopefully, you’ve started to get a feel for the rhythm.
If you haven’t already practiced strumming one down strum per beat, go ahead and give that a go. It’s always helpful to count out loud as you get started, especially to help you nail those accented beats. In 6:8 time, beat 1 is accented. Beat 4 is accented as well, though to a lesser extent than 1.
New 6:8 Strumming Pattern
Once you’ve got the basic all down pattern feeling confident, here’s a strumming pattern you can work on. It basically skips beats 2 and 5 while hitting some of those “and” beats on the up strums. It's a real nice pattern to get down and can be used in most 6:8 situations.
To help you understand it, I've shown 3 Patterns below, the 6:8 with all downs, then I added all the ands - looks a bit scary eh - but don't get scared by complicated looking notation, it's not difficult. The last one shows the count for this pattern, remember you will strum down on the number counts and up on the '+'s don't worry about the notation there are things there that look complicated but it's not hard to do.
Tips for Strumming
Just like when strumming in 4:4, you want to keep your strumming arm moving consistently throughout the pattern, even on the beats where you’re not actually strumming the strings. This is VERY IMPORTANT.
Practising with a metronome can also help immensely. Find a good tempo that works for you, too. Practising slowly can help, but you might find that playing rhythm patterns is similar to riding a bike in that sometimes, going too slowly is actually much harder than going a bit faster.
Once you get comfortable with the strumming pattern, try to vary it up a bit. Something simple you can try is just adding an additional up strum after the 6th beat. It’s really up to you how you want to go about doing this, though – get creative! See what feels and sounds good to you. Just remember to keep your hand moving the whole time - if you stick with that then you can explore the patterns comfortably and make up your own like you did in 4:4 time!
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