8 Essential Guitar Strumming Patterns For Beginners

If you have started taking guitar lessons as a beginner then the focus is more on learning chords. However, once you are comfortable playing a few chords, it’s time to explore guitar strumming patterns.

Strumming may feel a bit confusing and unnatural at first. But once you know the right technique and spend some time practising, strumming a guitar will become as easy and effortless as learning ABC.



Here, you’ll learn how to play 8 essential guitar strumming patterns for beginners that sound great on an acoustic guitar. We will first understand a few basic techniques before diving into several patterns that will make your guitar playing more fun and interesting. And we promise you won’t get weighed down with music theory.

Additionally, we’ll talk Let’s get started!about some vital rhythm guitar tips that will make strumming a lot easier for you.

Important Tips for Guitar Strumming

Your strumming will be easier and sound infinitely better once you follow the right technique and approach. Before we look at the strumming patterns, here are some important strumming tips that you should know.

1. Your Strumming Hand Should Never Stop Moving

You should remember to keep your strumming hand moving at all times. This implies playing even when you’re not striking any strings for a couple of beats.

As you develop this playing technique you don’t have to think much about catching the beat with your strumming hand. It will be a lot easier to keep track of the rhythm.

2. Keep a Loose Wrist

It is very crucial to keep your wrist loose. When you are strumming, most of the movement includes twisting your wrist and moving your lower arm. Letting your hand and wrist hang loose will enable you to have a fluid motion.

3. Use Thinner Picks and Hold the Pick Lightly

While strumming the guitar with a pick you may want to hold it tightly so that you don’t drop it. However, this technique will make it hard for you to move the pick across the strings. You also won’t be able to keep your wrist loose if you grip your pick tightly. A lighter grip allows your picking hand to glide over the strings smoothly.

Pro Tip: You can start with a thin pick that’s bendy. Once you are comfortable you can try thicker picks for different sounds.

4. You Don’t Have to Hit All the Strings with Every Strum

It is not necessary to hit all the notes in a chord with every strum. While strumming, we often strike just three or four strings at a time.

Pro Tip: A good technique is to hit either all of the strings or the top three (thicker) strings on every downstroke. On the other hand, when you are playing upstroke, you can hit only the bottom (thinnest) three or four strings.

7 Guitar Strumming Patterns

Strumming is essentially a combination of Downstrokes and Upstrokes. We will look at 8 popular strumming patterns for beginner guitar players. We have added different style song examples in the videos as well.

Alternating Down and Upstrokes

Alternating Down and Upstrokes

When strumming a guitar, you’ll use both downstrokes (your strumming hand moves down) and upstrokes (your strumming hand will move back up). There’s a simple logic behind when you should strum down or up, which we’ll get to shortly.

Skipping Upstrokes

The strumming hand should not stop. Only skip hitting the strings on the stroke.

Pattern 2

Skip the upstroke on the “&” of the 1st beat.

Pattern 3

Skip the upstroke on the “&” of the 1st and 2nd beat.

Skipping Upstrokes Pattern 3

Pattern 4

Skip the upstroke on the “&” of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd beat.

Skipping Upstrokes Pattern 4

Pattern 5

Skip the upstroke on the “&” of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th beat.

Skipping Upstrokes Pattern 5

Skipping Downstrokes

Pattern 6

Skip the downstroke on the 4th beat.

Skipping downstrokes Pattern 6

Pattern 7

Skip the downstroke on the 3rd and 4th beat.

Skipping downstrokes Pattern 7

Pattern 8

Skip the downstroke on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th beat.

Skipping downstrokes Pattern 8

Experiment and come up with your own combinations. Here are some interesting guitar combinations you may like.

Guitar Exercises

Now that you’ve gotten a basic feel for these strumming patterns, next we will look at the step-by-step plan to learn any new strumming pattern.

How to Learn Any New Guitar Strumming Pattern?

This is all about developing your musicality! For instance, you are at a restaurant and a familiar song that you like comes on the speakers. What happens next? You start tapping your foot or nodding your head to the music. Your innate sense of rhythm gets activated.

Similarly, when it comes to guitar strumming you should tap into that innate sense of rhythm as well. As you get a hang of this, your strumming will feel much easier and it will eventually become second nature.

Professional guitarists and experienced musicians tend to do this without thinking about it. They have developed a natural sense of rhythm to strum a guitar. For beginners, strumming will take a bunch of practice but as you keep at it, over time it gets easier.

Let’s take a look at how you can learn a new strumming pattern by following some simple steps!

Step 1

The trick is to say the rhythm aloud before you even start playing it on the instrument. Strumming patterns as stated above usually involve strumming down or up. Often beginner or even intermediate guitar players get caught up in the technicalities or mechanics of when the hand should go up or down. This can sometimes cause you to lose connection with your natural sense of rhythm.

The logic is quite simple though. You have to develop a habit of playing a rhythm by hearing how it sounds in your head. Start imagining the rhythm sounds in your mind before you touch the guitar. This will help you get the rhythm in your system.

Step 2

The best way to practice is to strum a rhythm on just one chord at first. Once you have figured out the strumming rhythm in your mind, it is time to translate it onto your instrument. However, in this case, breaking down the learning process and focusing on one thing at a time really helps. The idea is to get the new strumming pattern right and not think or worry about changing chords.

So, it starts with learning the strumming pattern with just one chord. You can use a chord you are comfortable with or one that you like and then begin playing.

Step 3

To take your guitar strumming to the next level, you will need to practise the exercise using a real song. After you have figured out all the chords and the rhythm using a one-chord routine, it’s time to try it out in a full song. Here you will need to keep the strumming pattern going while you switch between chords. With that, you will finally be able to strum your new song!

We hope that this article has helped you learn some good exercises to add to your practice routines and has also helped you understand the different ways to approach strumming patterns for a new song.

We know that a lot of guitar players want to play solos. Hence, they learn exercises and scales while practising other complex stuff. However, playing rhythm is equally important too. If you want to become a good guitar player you need to have a good understanding of strumming rhythm. Yes, it’s cool to see people playing the solos and shredding on the guitar but remember that rhythm guitar helps to make the overall sound fuller. Besides, as a beginner, learning how to strum correctly and mastering different strumming patterns should be your main goal.

We at Music Pandit are all about helping you learn and develop your music skills that make playing music feel natural. Learn more about our online guitar classes here:

As always, if you have any questions, please get in touch with our team and we would be happy to help you with all the information you need.


Most Popular

Join Music Pandit’s Music Program