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How to Play Chords - Strumming Patterns

How to Play Chords - Guitar chord strumming patterns. Learn how to play rhythm guitar chords with the needed rock-solid rhythm for your guitar.

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How to Play Chords on the Guitar:

If you wish to be a expert rhythm guitarist, there is one thing that is more important than everything else - That is to be consistent.

The rigid, rock-solid timing of the right hand has to be very consistent and this does not allow you to decide how each rhythm pattern is to be played, and how to strum each particular chord.

The key to getting your strumming "nailed" is to employ some basic strumming strategies and getting to the point where you don't even have to think about your strumming hand.

If you follow the instruction herewith, we will equip you with the tools that you need to give your right hand the patterns you need to know without giving it much thought at all.

How to Play Chords - Some of the Basics:

Now let's look at some of the examples you can follow:

Probably most importantly, pay close attention to the "up" and "down" strokes of the right hand picking pattern. You can follow these indications very easily in the notation, by looking beneath the TAB staff.

The indications of and up stroke of the pick is depicted by the "V" symbol and the down stroke looks like a little bridge symbol. Follow these symbols with great precision and do not deviate from this pattern.

You also will note that the downbeats and the down strokes of the pick are "on the beat" (this would be on the counts of 1, 2, 3, 4.) This timing in shown between the notation and TAB staffs.

Where you have upstrokes of the pick, which are shown on the "upbeat", the timing for these will be depicted by the "and" in the timing between the notation and TAB staffs.

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Strumming Pattern How to Play Chords - Strumming Pattern Examples 1 & 2:

In this first chord example above, you can form the C Major chord. Note that this first measure contains 4 beats per measure and there are 4 C chords in the measure. The chords are quarter notes so each chord received 1 beat for the total of 4 beats in the measure. A few other things to note here are that all the chords received a down-stroke of the picking hand (indicated below the TAB staff). Also the C major chord is 5 strings with the 6th bass string muted.

Example #1 - Second Measure: This example differs from the first in that there are 8 total chord strums in this measure and each chord is an eighth note, meaning that each gets 1/2 beat. Therefore 8 x 1/2 = 4 total beats per measure. Another thing to be very careful of is the play the chords with the proper down and up strokes, which are shown of the bottom - Follow this pattern very strictly.

Strumming Pattern How to Play Chords - Strumming Pattern Example 3:

Example #3, shown above consists of 2 measures, each with 4 total beats. Finger the same C Major chord in the same manner as the other examples. The real difference here is the timing. Notice the timing between the staffs - The first chord is a quarter note and receives 1 beat, followed by 2 eighth note chords, each receiving 1/2 beat. Repeat this again to complete the measure. Repeat for the second measure.

Most importantly note the down and up strokes of the pick, indicated beneath the TAB staff. The quarter note chords each receive a down stroke. The first chord of the eighth note chords receives a down stroke and the second eighth note chord received an up stroke.

Strumming Pattern How to Play Chords - Strumming Pattern Example 4:

Example #4, shown above consists of 2 measures, each with 4 total beats. Finger the same C Major chord in the same manner as the other examples. Here, the difference is in the timing, once again. Each measure kicks off with a down-stroke quarter note C chord. The remaining 3 beats are all eighth note chords, with 6 total to bring the total timing to 4 beats per measure. To add a little color to this strumming pattern, play the first chord with just a little more force than the remaining chords. This is often referred to as an "accent".

The down up strokes are equally important here as in the other examples. Note that you start with a down stroke of the pick on the first chord, followed by (3) down/up stroke combination chords..

Strumming Pattern How to Play Chords - Strumming Pattern Example 5:

Example 5, shown above again consists of 2 measures. Each measure has 8 eighth note chords, with each chord getting 1/2 beat for a total of 4 beats per measure. The strumming pattern is an easy and consistent down/up stroke.

To make this strumming pattern more interesting you should experiment with placing an accent on different beats in the pattern. To clarify as just what an accent is - it is a harder stroke of the chord or a harder strum to make it stand out. For starters, you should try to accent the beats of the 2nd and the 4th beat and note what a change this has on the mood of the rhythm..