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Strum For Fun Part One
(Rhythm Guitar)
(By Tyson)

I've been writing online guitar lessons for about a year now and you wouldn't believe how many e-mails I've received from people wanting to know how to do basic strum patterns for praise and worship songs.  In these next couple lessons I'll be giving you strum patterns and advice on playing with other people and keeping good rhythm.  Every guitar player has an initial weakness and when I started, mine was timing too, so... I feel your pain.

Before I start I'd like to say that the majority of worship songs have no official way to strum them and that you will hear it differently from band to band.  So, I am going to show you some basic rhythms and strum patterns and it's between you and whoever you play with as to what you do with them.  Also, to really get good at rhythm, you have to play with other people or play along with CDs or whatever.  If you don't have any CDs or friends, I'd advise getting on download.com and find a drum machine to play along with.  The best one I've found is called "HammerHead Rhythm Station" where you can adjust the tempo, rhythm and just about everything else.

Let's work in the key of G since most of the praise songs are transcribed that way.  Now there are four things that you can do on rhythm guitar.  Of course there's the downstroke, which is basically strumming toward the ground, as it implies.  Play a downstroke when you see a mark like this: /.

Second is the upstroke.  It's done by starting with your high E string and going all the way up to the low E string (unless otherwise noted.)  So it's pretty much the opposite of a downstroke.  We'll show that like this: \

Thirdly, there is the right hand mute.  It is done by slapping the strings with your palm or knuckles to create a percussive sound that brings your chords to an abrupt halt.  That will be show like this: x.

Last, we have the left hand mute.  You do that by placing your left hand over the stings lightly, being careful note to sound any notes and then strumming, for a more discreet percussive sound.  That will be visualized like this: *.

Okay!  Now for a few strumming patterns.  I'll start with some beginning one's but if you like this lesson enough, I'll write a sequel with intermediate strumming patterns.  Here they go, I'll include some MP3 samples for you to jam along with.

You beginners will love this one.  It's all downstrokes (how I started.)  I recorded it slow.

/   /   /  /     /   /   /  /     /   /   /   /       /   /  /   /     
G              C              D                  G
(MP3 example)

This one is a little more advanced, (down/up/down/up...)

/   \   /  \     /   \   /  \     /   \   /   \       /   \  /   \     
G              C              D                  G
(MP3 example)

Here is the last one for this lesson, (down/down/down/up...) it may take a little practice if your a beginner.

/   /   / \     /   /   / \     /   /   / \       /   /   /     
G             C              D              G
(MP3 example)

That's it for now.  So now you have to go try them on your favorite song (to it's tempo of course).  Also, try making some of your own.  It might be fun. :)

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