Strumming On The Beat

Are you wondering if there's a right way of strumming a guitar correctly? This lesson is for you. :) You'll learn how to strum a guitar on the beat and practice it through basic strumming guitar patterns. 

These tips will make a difference while learning to play the guitar and get involved with more complex rhythms. You'll want to focus on keeping timing as consistent as possible, and a solid foundation will make the whole difference later on.

The goal is to keep the rhythm and your strums steady while you play! :) 


Behind The Strumming Pattern Theory 

Basic strumming guitar patterns will usually have four beats per bar. Count each beat as "1, 2, 3, 4." Here, each count is a down beat. For each down beat, strum your guitar downwards - we call this the down strum.

If you're a more advanced guitar player and want to learn how to figure out strumming patterns on your own, check out my Rhythm Maestro course.


Easy Strumming Pattern

Now let's learn an easy strumming pattern to practice strumming on the beat. It's a powerful rhythm exercise when learning how to play the guitar! The image below shows a bar with 4 down strums - see how this strumming pattern looks like when written down:

bar of music with four down strums

  • To play this strumming pattern, strum down once every down-beat. You're strumming your guitar four times per bar.

  • Start with muted strings – don't worry about fretting any chords for this exercise. Wrap your fingers around the neck of your guitar, and practice strumming down a few times. It should feel natural! :) 

  • Next, you're going to multitask a bit! Strum one beat and tap your foot at the same time. Tapping your foot is a skill on its own - not quite sure how? Learn more about tapping your foot while playing guitar! 

  • At the same time you strum down, count "1, 2, 3, 4" out loud. Counting along as you play the guitar helps you keep track of where the bar starts. Do this until they are both in sync.

  • Practicing will help get this simple rhythm pattern deep in your mind! It will become part of your muscle memory. With practice, it gets natural. The goal is to keep the rhythm and your strums consistent as you play. 

  • When we play songs, we usually change chords at the start of every bar - so it's essential you know where the first beat is in the bar.


Missing Down Strums

Once you're comfortable with four down strums per bar, try strumming your guitar on beat 1, then on beats 1 and 3. Missing down strums is part of playing more complex strumming patterns, so let's build a solid foundation so you don't encounter any problems later! 

Be sure to keep your arm moving even on the beats where you're not hitting the strings. It helps keep everything consistent. In music, the quiet moments between the notes are as important as the loud ones!

Once this becomes natural, we'll be able to get a bit deeper with rhythm! For now, keep practicing. :)

Module 2: The E Gunn