Guitar Strumming Patterns

for electric and acoustic guitar

Learning open chords is a good starting point for playing accompaniment to many songs, and with mastering a number of guitar strumming patterns from this lesson you'll be able to get your rhythm guitar skills to the next level and to turn even simple chord progressions into sounding great accompaniment.

You don't necessarily need to learn all of them, just pick the ones you like and use them in your playing.

But remember:

it's important to strum or pick the strings in the rhythmical manner keeping consistent strumming over different chords you play, you can use your foot to beat pulsation that will support the rhythm or use metronome or drum tracks for it.

To create the beat with your foot use the following counting:

  • 1 – the foot knocks the floor. And - the foot lifts up,
  • 2 – the foot knocks the floor. And - the foot lifts up,
  • 3 – the foot knocks the floor. And - the foot lifts up,
  • 4 – the foot knocks the floor. And - the foot lifts up
Counting diagram for practicing strumming

after the "4 - AND" go back to the "1 - AND - 2 - AND", and so on...

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Pattern 1
A diagram for the strumming pattern 1 - simple rhythm The pattern sounds better when played a bit loose on the strum up and the lower string is missing the stroking.
Pattern 2
A diagram for the pattern 2 - easy to perform guitar strumming
Pattern 3
A diagram for the pattern 3 - alernating strums and rests
Pattern 4
A diagram for pattern 4 - moderate difficulty
Pattern 5
A diagram for the pattern 5 - combining strumming, pausing, and muting

In order to perform the muted strums, put the edge of your strumming hand on the strings near the guitar bridge, so the strings should become muffled, and while remaining in this position strum the chord in the direction the white arrows indicate.

It's in some way similar to the palm mute technique but the muted strumming perceived more as a percussive effect and you don't have to strum all the strings for it.

Pattern 6
A diagram for the pattern 6 - using half-time resting intervals
Pattern 7
A diagram for the pattern 7 - Slightly fancy guitar strumming
Pattern 8
A diagram for the pattern 8
Pattern 9
A diagram for the pattern 9 - more advanced strumming figure
Pattern 10
A diagram for the pattern 10 - pulsing rhythmic figure
Pattern 11
A diagram for the strumming pattern 11 - in style of pop music
Pattern 12
A diagram for the pattern 12 - advanced rhythmic figure
Pattern 13
A diagram for the pattern 13
Pattern 14
A diagram for the pattern 14 - dense strumming
This strumming pattern looks straightforward in the diagram, but be aware of the dynamics: accent the strums about the black arrows a bit and loose at the gray ones.
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To start playing songs more efficiently I recommend you these song lessons as they provide an integrated approach to learning (pro video lessons, interactive guitar tabs and other goodies) in a consistent way, controrary to picking random lessons here and there online.

More Advanced Patterns

In the wider strumming diagrams I included patterns that are two bars in length. That's why the count is repeated twice.

Pattern 15
A diagram for the pattern 15 - Slow strumming well suited for some jazz rhythm guitar

Note that some strums here are really short.

Pattern 16
A diagram for the pattern 16 - well suited for intro and choruses for pop music
Pattern 17
A diagram for the pattern 17 - advanced accenting

To remember this pattern more easily, identify the sequence:

  • 2 regular, 1 muted strum - 5 times the same thing
  • After the 5th time, add 1 extra muted strum (the pattern's end)

See that direction in which you strum is alternate during the whole piece.

Pattern 18
A diagram for the pattern 18 - slightly speedy thrums
Pattern 19
A diagram for the pattern 19 - dense alternate flows between upward and downward direction

Although the pattern looks simple, it might be challenging for beginner guitar players.

Pay attention that there are three strums per beat, each of them is to be played by the same amount of time.

This rhythmic formation is called triplet.

Pattern 20
A diagram for the pattern 20 - more advanced strumming figure

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This article was last updated on October 15, 2021