Strumming Patterns

The best way to start learning chords and strumming is to simply strum down on the beat until you are familiar with the chords and are getting a good feel for the rhythm. The soundfiles in the Basic Chords lessons are simply strumming down on the beat.

Strum downwards towards the floor while attempting to play the appropriate amount of strings for whatever chord you are playing. You can either use a pick or your thumb to strum. However, it is more popular to use a pick as it generates a brighter tone. If you use a pick, choose one that is not to thick or thin, a medium gauge is the best. Thin picks react too slowly when picking individual notes and thick picks aren't flexible enough and make smooth strumming difficult.

Once you feel that you are ready to spice up your strumming, you can try these useful strumming patterns. They will sound nice with almost any song.

The strumming patterns will be demonstrated in Tablature and the soundfiles using the Em chord. Down means towards the floor and up means towards the ceiling. When strumming up it is best to only strum a few of the thinner strings. It is not important to strum the whole chord on the upstroke.

video Strumming

Here are two strumming patterns for songs that are in "4/4 time"; they have 4 beats per measure:

4/4 time Strum Pattern 1:

audio Down Down up Down Down up

Remember to strum at a steady, even tempo. A metronome is an excellent way to learn how to keep in time. Set your metronome to a slow tempo such as 40 beats per minute and strum to it with it trying not to speed up or slow down. Let the metronome set the pace! If you don't have one, you can download a browser based virtual metronome at

The Virtual Metronome

4/4 time Strum Pattern 2:

audio Down Down Up Up Down Up

Here is a strumming pattern for songs that are in "3/4 time"; they have 3 beats per measure:

3/4 time Strum Pattern 3:

audio Down Down Up Down Up