Keeping It Simple

Now let's try out some different options for our first strumming pattern. A strumming pattern is typically one bar long. So we have to find a nice sounding way to fill up the 4 beats.

If we just play a whole note, it gets pretty boring for a whole song. Half notes get too repetitive, as do quarter notes. So the key is to find a musical way to combine them.

Since we want to do a one-bar pattern we can't really use the whole notes, because there wouldn't be space for anything else. So it's going to be a combination of a half notes and two quarter notes.

Let's grab our E minor chord and look at the different ways to combine those. First let's try two quarter notes and then the half note. It doesn't sound bad, but it's kind of heavy sounding. Like a tired elephant walking. So let's try another option.

Let's try the half note first and then the two quarter notes. Try looping that. That sounds better to me!

We have one last option which is 1 quarter note, a half note and then 1 quarter note. That sounds pretty good, but it could be a little confusing for right now, so I say we go with the second option.

Now let's try that out together. I'll do a one-bar count-in and then we'll play our E minor chord with the new strumming pattern for 8 bars. Feel free to just watch and listen a couple of times before you start playing along yourself.

Instructor Anders Mouridsen
Strumming Patterns
Any Style
Keeping It Simple song notation

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Questions & Answers

10 months ago
It’s difficult
Josh Workman 10 months ago

Hi, is there something I can help you understand better? Is it counting beats that's giving you trouble? I'm a guitar instructor and happy to help.