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Strum Patterns From the Drums


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Strumming in Rock

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When you hear a song and have to pick a strumming pattern you can always just try the different patterns and see which one works best. But in this lesson I'm going to show you how to listen to the drums for help with this.

The basic drum groove in rock has the bass drum (or kick drum) on beats 1 and 3 (called the down beats), and the high pitched snare drum on beats 2 and 4 (called the back beats). Then in between those you have the hi-hat cymbal playing the subdivisions, and that's the part that can help you determine which subdivision the groove is based on.

I know all these different subdivisions and strumming patterns can be a lot to take in, but the reality is that 90% of the time you spend playing rock, you're going to be playing rhythm guitar. These patterns are the backbone of rock rhythm guitar playing, so every hour you put into these basic tools will pay off more or less every time you pick up your guitar in a rock context. So roll up your sleeves and get to work on your rock strumming patterns, because it will be worth it!