Rhythm Guitar Basics 2

Using some more eighth notes to make a cool pattern.

Now we are going to bring in some more eighth notes to make two very common patterns.


This first pattern adds an up-strum on the ‘and' of both ‘3' and ‘4':


Open String Ring

One very common thing that happens in the real world is that when you are changing chords, you'll actually end up playing the open strings of the guitar on the final up-strum of the bar, rather than holding the last chord right to the end. Don't be afraid of it—it's O.K.—once you know this is happening you'll hear it on many hit records and great songs and it doesn't make them sound bad at all.

I can choose when I do it or when I don't, but it's a great help for a beginner to have that little extra time to make the chord changes (not that we will be joining the chord sequences and the strumming patterns just yet!).

I know you might think that sometimes it's not going to sound good, and you would be right. Sometimes it sounds great and sometimes it doesn't. You have to use your ears (again!). If it sounds good, it is good.


This is another important, commonly-used pattern: up-strums on the ‘and' after ‘2' and ‘3'. We will be developing this pattern soon, so make sure that you give this plenty of practice. Really aim to make it feel natural and easy, so you don't have to think about it. Repetition will make that work for you!


Watching Your Hand

'Round about now, many people start to get worried about watching their strumming hand. When they do the fretting hand starts to go wrong and they get freaked out... when you are learning something new or checking for mistakes it is fine to watch your strumming hand, but try not to let that become the main thing you look at. You should try and develop a feel for it; let your strumming hand develop its own ‘eyes' and find its way. This will happen a lot faster than you might expect, but you must have the confidence to let it go. Sometimes you will make mistakes, and that is OK, as long as you learn from them.

In conclusion: it's OK to watch your hand if you have to while you learn, but don't do it all the time!

Try Your Own

Feel free to make up your own patterns too, but only if you are 100% certain you understand the concepts and keep down-strums on each beat.

Moving On...

Let's now look at some songs and chord sequences.