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Learning 3/4 Rhythm Strum

Strumming is the foundation of guitar playing. Learning the 4/4 time signature is a great place to start. Afterward, we can progress into the ¾ strumming technique.

3-4-strum

Time signatures in music are written as fractions and can be found near the clef mark at the start of piece and on each subsequent line of measure. There are a few different kinds of time signatures. The number on top shows the musician how many beats that the piece of music will have per measure while the bottom number, or denominator in mathematical terms, indicates which note will get a single beat.

The 3/4 Chord pattern

The ¾ time signature as opposed to the 4/4 one, means that each measure will be composed of a steady count of three (1 – 2 – 3). The strumming of your non-fret hand will set this pace. A good chord pattern to start off with in the ¾ guitar strumming is the D – A7 – G pattern.

This chord pattern is indeed a variation on the 4 / 4 pattern, D – A – G – A, that was introduced first. We start with this chord pattern because of its playability. It’s a good place to start because it introduces a simpler movement needed from your fret fingers while still not being too difficult and allowing you to get an idea of how the strumming is supposed to happen simultaneously.

There is some freedom to be had with the ¾ strumming pattern and can be manipulated based on the sound the player is looking for. Depending on your style preference you can use just downward strokes, or just upward strokes, and when you’re ready, a combination of the two.

The traditional and simple song called “Down in the Valley” is utilized by beginners to work on strumming using the ¾ time signature. And another example of a simple song that uses ¾ time is “Time is on my Side’ written by Jerry Ragovoy.

Here’s Dave Jones with some strumming tips for you

Shifting Chords

Chord shifting is important in all time signatures and is easiest in 4 / 4 time strumming. In ¾ time, it becomes even more difficult. It’s not impossible though, rather it only takes patience and dedication. By focusing on the process and the little steps in your progress you will see how you are in fact improving. Try to stay positive and not get frustrated.

chords

Now we are going to take a minute to have another look at some of the basic concepts of guitar strumming.

Your Playing position

Getting to a point where you know and feel comfortable with where your guitar sits on your body takes some time. Many beginners hold their instrument in awkward ways. This is normal. For example, new players of guitar tend to want to put their heads nearer to the fretboard hand, or they’ll hold the guitar in a strange way. After some time, learners realize how they need to position the instrument correctly to be able play it to the best of their growing ability.

Thinking about position of the guitar, here’s a few handy tips:

– Just as we relax our hands while we strum, we should try and reduce tension in our body. Sit or position your body in a position that your body can avoid tension. Be as relaxed as possible.

– If tension comes up, move around and try your best to find a new position for your body.

– Tilt the guitar neck upwards and don’t ever tilt it down-wards.

– Keep the entire guitar body as vertical as you can

– Keep the face of the guitar parallel to your body. Try not to turn it up towards you in hopes of seeing the strings better.

How To Hold The Pick

guitar-picks

If you’re using a “pick”, again use your tension-less hands to hold the pick in a way that also avoids stress and tension. Do not hold the pick too loose or too tight. In order to effectively strum the strings with the pick, the pick must make contact but you should not overdo it. Striking the strings in a careful way will do the trick.

Reading Tablatures

After you become more familiar with different chord and/or chord patterns, start by taking a look at guitar tablatures. Tablatures, also known as tabs, are a great reference for guitar learning and playing. Tabs, opposed to other ways to read music, show musical notations in a more accessible way. Readable symbols and lines that correspond to the actual strings of the guitar can be found in tablatures. You can easily compare the lines of the tabs to that of your guitar by placing your guitar next to the guitar tab. The numbers on the lines indicate which fret number to use on the actual guitar.

This is basic information and tabs also include other signs and symbols besides just numbers and lines. Some other more explanatory and advanced tablatures include what style of plucking and/or string bend technique ought to be used to conjure up the sound each piece is looking for.

If you want to learn guitar online, there are several really good systems available out there, and I saw a good comparison of the best online guitar lessons for beginners that may help you decide which suits you the best.

It’s important to remember that guitar is a long process, but can be really fun if the steps are followed but you also take time to mess around with your instrument. Feel free to try different things and movements to figure out what works and feels best for you. This is your journey, so make it all about you!

Feel the Beat — How to Get It Going

feel-the-beat

Getting the strings of your guitar to sound right is an art in and of itself. It takes time, dedication, and endurance. The real key is to not give up. You can do it, you just need to stick with it!

There are many different approaches to the way in which one can learn how to play the guitar. If you’re struggling, there’s a good chance it doesn’t have anything to do with your capacity, but perhaps it would wise to reevaluate the approach you’ve taken.

Just as there are many different styles of music that a guitar is capable of making, there are many styles in approach. When something doesn’t seem to be working, change the beat and you should see some marked improvement.

What Do Others Do?

Eight out of ten people who were asked about how they stuck with guitar when the going got rough said that the technique they used resonated with them while others had not yet developed an appreciated for the approach. In order to appreciate the beat, you’ve got to feel it. That’s precisely what 80% of successful guitar learners do.

Those who are considered masters in the art of guitar playing say that what sets an average or mediocre guitar player apart from a master player is their plan of attack. What is their approach? Find an approach that works for you and move with that beat.

This takes time, but the point is that you need to start really feeling the beat. Feeling the beat will help you develop your own style of both learning and playing the guitar. You want to be able to differentiate yourself from other players in order to be successful as well. When you feel your own beat, it becomes a sort of pulse in your body. This flows in and through and eventually out of your body in the form of beautifully original music.

The approach falls into step with the idea of music being the universal language. It offers commonalities that can’t necessarily be taught and instead they should be felt. Feel the beat and you’ll be successful at this form of speech.

Music Is The Universal Language

music-sheet

Many music experts have explained this in a variety of different ways. In general they’ve said that music is a language that ought to be felt. The speech should flow with the rhythm and flow of your heart. If it free flows it is that much more beautiful as it expresses what you might not or cannot express in any other way.

Now, we’ve convinced you that feeling the beat and letting the beat flow freely is a great approach. Now what? Below are some tips to help you get started.

1. Internalize the beat

You should start by getting in tune with your emotions. How do you feel before and how can music lift you up or bring you down. Or, how do you feel when the music hits. Do you feel different when the music stops or changes? Practice fine tuning your emotions with the music filling your ears.

By doing this you can reach a point that exemplifies this entire approach. Soon enough you will be able to feel the beat of the music pulsing in your veins, and filling your lungs.

When you fill like the music and your emotions have synced, grab your guitar and see what comes out. See if you can resist playing something you’ve memorized already. Play something entire different and original. Release the emotions in your soul and see how your fingers translate the message.

2. Play by the ear

You’ve always been able to recognize songs you’ve heard or commited to memory since childhood, but what about being able to pick up and feel the beat of the song you’ve just heard? Soon enough you’ll be able to do just that.

This happens from time to time with particularly apt musicians. This approach is where these great musicians feel the movement of the song and then in time pick up the notes and put the piece together in this way.

Additionally, the majority of people who play guitar and write original songs, do not use already formatted and used guitar tabs or musical sheets. Instead they think about how to create a sound they’ve heard already and try to emulate it or change it slightly to make it that more original.

Here’s a short video about how to learn to play basic songs on the guitar BY EAR using an easy system, with Lisa McCormick – you can subscribe to her channel on YouTube here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKXHfozEuG3QCk3gpOSrl5w

Time And Dedication

The only rigid and non-negotiable aspect of learning to play the guitar is that it will take a lot of time and dedication. Outside of that rigidness, guitar is all about creativity and experimentation. This is why guitar has room for all people whether you’re practicing to impress someone you like or whether you’re destined for greatness in the industry or you’re practicing to play just for your own inner journey.

Feeling the beat is certainly the goal. Just like any other goal, it doesn’t come over night. Make sure to give yourself time and forgiveness when the music is steady flowing like a river or when it’s all dried up and it’s not looking good for you in the coming months. Don’t give up!

It is important to never give up. It turns out that guitar isn’t that much different from that of other life pursuits. It won’t happen overnight. And instead it will take much effort and determination. I most like will not be the easiest thing you’ve ever done or seen, but I promise you it will be worth it.

Learning the Guitar Basics: 4/4 Rhythm Strumming

strum

Beginners to the guitar learning world must first and foremost start with the basic 4/4 strumming technique. It is important to not only become comfortable with this rhythm before working on any others, but also to get a good feel for how the instrument feels.

There are some basic requirements for 4/4 guitar playing that must be explained before moving on:

Strokes

There are two different strokes: the upward and the downward. The upward stroke starts by sliding the pads of your fingers from the bottom strings up to the uppermost strings, while the downward stroke is this same movement in reverse.

Finger placing

Your fingers are numbered for easy reference especially in beginner guitar lesson guides. The left-hand fingers are numbered 1 to 4. Your index finger is one, middle finger is 2, ring finger is 3, and your left little finger is 4. The numbering of your fingers comes in handy for easy reference when getting used to reading and placing your fingers in the correct place for the chord.

finger-placing

The fingers of the left hand should be placed near the succeeding fret bar. By doing this, you can get a quality sound vibration from the strings. Make sure to not stress your fingers when pressing on the frets.

4/4

First find the clef sign and the numbers next to it to determine in what measure the song is to be played. This is called the “time signature.’ If there is a 4 over a 4, written like a fraction in musical notation, it will be played in 4/4 beat. This means that there will be three beats in every measure and the quarter note will receive one beat.

D-A-G-A

D-A-G-A is one of the most popular chord patterns. It is popular because it is commonly used and one of the easiest chord patterns to learn. After working on D-A-G-A you can mix and match different ones to get a different sound.

First let’s go over the placement of the fret fingers. This can get frustrating because your fingers are not yet accustomed to moving in this way, so it is important to remain patient. Your hands and fingers will soon get used to the movement and from then on move more naturally in the way you need them to as a new guitar player.

Because one song is comprised of hundreds of bars of song, you should practice playing the chords repeatedly. Since we are playing in 4/4 time, you should could 1-2-3-4 for each and every chord. After four you start back at one. This will keep your rhythm more even and steady. You can start by strumming down at each “one” count and continue to incorporate the strumming into the chord pattern after more repetition is done.

See this video for some advice on the basics of counting in 4/4 time:

 

It can be quite the challenge to get both hands working together with the chord patterns while strumming. The fingers are still getting used to what you’re asking of them and the 4/4 time will take practice. You’ll get there in no time however.

Because it is common for the fret fingers to be slower than the strumming fingers, it is important to remember to set the pace with the strumming and not the other way around. It takes time, but it is more effective to keep the counting consistent in strumming than to slow down the strumming in order to accommodate the beginning awkward movements of your fret fingers finding the correct placement and position. This will ensure that the fret fingers catch up to that of the strumming fingers instead of the other way around.

After D-A-G-A in 4/4 becomes more comfortable and natural you can begin working on other chord patterns such as C-Em-F-G or G-C-F-G. There are many chords from which to choose, but it must be stressed that the learning of new chord patterns should always be done while strumming. This way you can learn at a faster pace all while getting a better understanding of guitar mechanics.

Learning how to play guitar takes a lot of endurance and practice. It cannot be mastered after one lesson and not even after twenty! The art of playing guitar must be worked on regularly to reach the kind of appreciation worthy of such an instrument.

How to Strum

The Art of Strumming

Music is the universal language. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what you do for a living, we all have the capacity to be moved by music. Taking that enjoyment one step further is actually learning to play an instrument. Many of us during the ups and downs of our teenage years, look to playing music and especially the guitar as a way to let loose, relieve stress, and impress our current love interest. The guitar is a common choice most likely because of its versatility. The types and styles the guitar is able to cover is quite varied. With a guitar you can play anything from head banging heavy-metal rock to slower, more gentle-sounding acoustic guitar pieces.

strumming

The First Step – Chords

The first step is learning the chords on the fretboard, but the next and slightly more challenging step is the art of strumming. Strumming is important because holds the song together. Without strumming the song would feel disjointed and much harder on the ears. Strumming involves the use and communication of both hands and though the fluidity and stability of the actual strumming hand is crucial, the fretboard hand is also very important in strumming.

Below is a brief lesson which explains how to learn 1-bar strumming patterns. These patterns are general and with certain changes can be adapted to a variety of different kind of beginner-level songs.

Points To remember

Also, it is important to remember the following basic pointers as we progress. Soon enough these habits will become second nature.

Relax the muscles of your strumming hand. Keep it really loose and try not to tense up.

– Strumming requires a steady up and down motion. Think of it as the action required to shake someone’s hand. The vertical motion stems from the wrist.

– When reading music, watch for what is called a “muted chord”. A muted chord is shown with an “x” crossed over the note or tabs. In this case, just strum with your strumming hand and take the pressure off the strings with your fretboard hand. You will only hear a deep scratch instead of notes playing out.

– If the sound you are looking for or the music you are reading requires open strings, stop their sound by lightly pressing on the strings with the fingers of your strumming hand. Another idea is to use your fretting hand and lightly press across the strings. Now, strum the guitar.

– The muted chord is an important skill to use while strumming. It can be used to change up the rhythm of the song plus it can even be used like a percussion instrument when paired with fluid guitar strumming.

Starting Place

A good place to start is with three simple chords that can be switched around in order to practice your strumming. The chords we will start with are commonly found in the same songs because of how well they work in tandem with one and other. This simple chord is used to create simple songs like pop or folk songs. The E major chord can be played with the open 1st, 2nd and 6th strings. The 1st fret of the 3rd string and 2nd frets of the 4th and 5th strings are pressed to complete the chord. The A major chord is played with the 1st, 5th and 6th strings open. The 2nd frets of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th strings are pressed to complete the chord. The d major chord is played by the 1st four strings and the 4th string open. The 2nd fret of the 1st string, 3rd fret of the 2nd string and 2nd fret of the 3rd string are pressed to play the chord.

To start, familiarize yourself with fretting one specific chord. Practice the muted chord technique (strumming and resting hands in place) and then working on switching them to the next position. This will take time so practice the transition for a while until it becomes more comfortable and natural. Before you know it you will be able to easily alternate the muted chords while simultaneously continuing to move the strumming hand up and down. By focusing on this transition, you can make your guitar strumming sound much better.

Example of a 4/4 Measure

Below there is an example of a song in 4/4 measure which means there are four beats to every bar of music. The down arrows indicate a down strumming stroke, while the up arrows indicate an upstroke. The “x” like mentioned early, is a muted chord. Make sure to start slow and be sure not to rush over the bars. When you are more comfortable, you can pick up your pace. Feel free to switch up the patterns and rhythm in order to make your own unique sound. Then, apply this to chords and bars of other songs you know.

Try to change the patterns and chords to develop your own sound. Your songs should be sounding more familiar, keep up the good work! The pattern is: ? ? X ? ? ? X ?

Introductory Video To Strumming

Here’s a nice video courtesy of Thomas Michaud showing the 5 best strumming patterns for beginners covering the following:

# 1 Basic Down-Up Strum
# 2 Mute Strum
# 3 Calypso Strum
# 4 Pop Rock Strum
# 5 Basic Fingerpicking Pattern

 

A lot of beginners found this useful – he also gives a link to his free 9 Guitar Strumming Patterns and you can connect with him on Facebook here for more free guitar training.