13 Lessons

About this course

Strumming guitar is the quickest pathway to sounding like a real guitar player. If you master just a handful of patterns there is literally no limit to the amount of songs you can play. Playing songs around the campfire, jamming with friends or even performing at an on open mic are within reach as soon as you master this essential skill.

While this may sound logical enough, many new guitarists are intimidated because the are afraid they have not rhythm. In my own training, I actually had guitar teachers tell me that, “Rhythm cannot be taught, you either have it or you don’t.”

Unfortunately this myth has pervaded our musical culture and having the ability to strum a guitar with good rhythm can seem mystical or impossible to an outsider.

After teaching hundreds of adult beginners over the past couple of decades, I can tell you that you have better rhythm than you think you do and strumming guitar can definitely be taught to anyone.

In the StrumWise course of the GuitarWise library, I go through all of the essential strumming patterns in short easy steps that will get you playing these essential strum patterns in no time.

The reason that people believe rhythm can’t be taught is because it is actually difficult to teach. It is a complex skill that needs to be sliced and diced into is simple building blocks.

Just like every GuitarWise course, I take the complex art of strumming and break it down into digestible and practical steps. Using highly efficient practicing techniques, you will find yourself strumming effortlessly.

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Course Structure

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Start Here

Think you don't have rhythm? I guarantee that you do! Check out this introductory video to learn exactly what we will be covering in this course.

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3 Essential Strum Patterns

If you master these three strums, you will be able to play the vast majority of songs. While their are an infinite number of strum patterns, these three are like one-size-fits-all t-shirts that will quickly make you sound like a pro.

Even after studying the guitar for decades, I keep using these three the most!

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Chord Shapes

Here I give you a close-up of what my left hand is doing. If these chord shapes end up holding you back, feel free to just mute the strings or use chords you are comfortable with. 

Remember, strumming is a right-hand technique, so it's important not to get to distracted with the left hand.

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Learning to count rhythms is the quickest way to internalize them. Best of all, it's really not that hard!

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Feeling The Beat

The importance of feeling the beat in your body can not be overstated. Many guitarists try to learn advanced strum patterns without first feeling the pulse of the music. This is like trying to do algebra if you do not understand addition.

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Simple Strum Patterns

They may be simple, but they are used constantly and are the grandparents of all other strum patterns. As you learn to play these, you are laying a solid foundation for all of the more advanced patterns.

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Strumming in 3 and 6

While the majority of the music we play has 4 beats per strum pattern, you will definitely need to understand how to play in 3 and 6 as well.

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Using the correct emphasis when your strumming is the secret sauce of rhythm players. Mastering this concept will dramatically improve your playing. 

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Syncopation is perhaps one of the most challenging rhythmic concepts to understand and to play. But it's worth your time because this is when your strumming will start to sound advanced.

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Alternating Strums

Ever see a guitar player that seemed to just be playing without a pattern? More often than not, they are actually just using a longer pattern or an alternating strum. I think you'll really like how these can take your playing to the next level.

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16th Notes

16th notes are smaller subdivisions of time that can really make your playing have a kick to it. If you have a solid understanding of the strums thus far, these will be easy to integrate.

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Creating Your Own Strum

Creating your own strum patterns is a great way to really feel like you have mastered the concept. If you can create your own strum, then you can truly play any song or even write your own.

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Strumming Cheat Sheet

Here's the master list of strumming patterns. If you can get through these, then you are StrumWise!