8 Quick And Easy Guitar Strumming Patterns Beginners Need To Know

Learning the guitar can be a struggle! Knowing what to learn as a beginner can be an even bigger struggle. The good news is that I’ve made this task of knowing what to learn easy for you with this guide. Here you will find the essential guitar strumming patterns all beginners should know.

Learning strumming patterns requires you to know some chords so go ahead and read 12 guitar chords you need to know, as these chords will be a useful companion to this guide.

Now, the guitar rhythms in this guide may not be the most complex you have ever heard, but that doesn’t mean they are not useful. In fact, you will find that these simple patterns have been widely used throughout popular music for many years.

You may easily incorporate these strumming patterns into your playing right away, and I encourage you to do so.

Contents

Getting Started (Introduction)

Before getting started with the strum patterns, let’s get familiar with a few symbols and terms that will be helpful throughout the guide. Check out basic music notation for more in-depth reading.

In this guide we will focus on two of the most common time signatures: 4/4 and 3/4.

4.4 time signature

4/4 Time Signature – Gets four quarter notes per measure, quarter note gets the beat. 4/4 time is very popular in all types of music.

See another way to write 4/4 time signature below.

 

Common Time – A shorthand for 4/4 time. Another way to write the 4/4 time signature.

3/4 Time Signature – Gets three quarter notes per measure, quarter note gets the beat.

down-stroke symbol

Down-stroke symbol

up-stroke symbol

Up-stroke symbol

Quarter Note – any note that has one quarter value of a whole note. In 4/4 time it gets one beat per measure.

Eighth note – any note that gets half value of a quarter note.

Pattern 1: Straight Quarter Notes  – Down-strokes Only

This is the most straightforward strum pattern of all. Using simple 4/4 time it gets four down-strokes (quarter notes) per measure. Playing in 3/4 time, gets 3 down-strokes (quarter notes) per measure. In 4/4 the pattern looks like this.

In 3/4

Try strumming down-strokes slowly in the previous time signatures. Use the following chord progression: G, C, G, D.

Pattern 2: Adding an Upstroke on Beat 4

To make the previous pattern a little more interesting we can ad an upstroke on beat 4. This means you will now have three quarter notes and one eighth note (down/up stroke) within the bar in 4/4 time. Playing in 3/4 you would have two quarter notes and one eighth note.

The pattern looks like this.

In 3/4

Try strumming the pattern slowly in the previous time signatures. Use the following chord progression: G, C, G, D.

Pattern 3: Add Upstrokes on beats 2 &4

For our next pattern we will add upstrokes on the beats 2 &4. This now gives you two down-strokes and two down/up strokes within each bar. The pattern looks like this in 4/4.

Try strumming the pattern slowly in 4/4 time. Use the following chord progression: G, Em, G, Em

Pattern 4: Add Upstrokes on beats 3 &4

A very common pattern in 4/4 is made when we add upstrokes on the beats 3 &4.
The pattern would like like this.

Try strumming the pattern slowly in 4\4 time. Use the following chord progression: G, C, G, D.

Pattern 5: Straight Eighth Notes (Down/Up Strokes)

Another very common pattern in 4/4 is to play four eighth notes per bar.
The pattern looks like this.

Try strumming the pattern slowly in 4/4. Use the following chord progression: G, C, G, D.

Let’s Try Some 3/4 patterns

Pattern 6: Using 3/4 Add Up-Stroke on Beat 3

The 3/4 time signature has a waltz sound. It gets three quarter notes per measure. We can spice this up a little by adding an eight note
(down/up stoke) on the third beat.
The pattern looks like this.

Try strumming the pattern slowly in 3\4 time. Use the following chord progression: G, C, G, D.

Pattern 7: For 3/4 Add Up-Stroke on Beat 2

Now let’s switch up and ad the down/up stroke on beat 2. Like this.

Try strumming the pattern slowly in 3\4 time. Use the following chord progression: G, C, G, D.

Pattern 8: With 3/4 Add Up-Stroke on Beat 2 &3

For the final pattern, let’s combine the previous two patterns and play one quarter note followed by two eighth notes. The pattern looks like this.

Try strumming the pattern slowly in 3\4 time. Use the following chord progression: G, C, G, D.

Now you have 8 simple strumming patterns that every beginner player can get started with. When you look at songs closely, you will find many of these patterns used very often. Take this lesson a step further and learn 12 beginner guitar chords to use with these strumming patterns.

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