6/8 strumming

Hi folks…Happy New Year!
I’m sort of struggling with 6/8. I’m working on Hallelujah and save for fat fingering F cords occasionally I’m getting it. I’ve got the ONE, 2, 3, FOUR, 5, 6 going but it just seems harsh. I’ve a decent, middle of the road guitar that’s been set up properly, so much as I’d like to I don’t think I can blame the equipment. This is clearly operator error. How big are the 2, 3, 5, 6 strokes and all strings or only some? How do good players make this 6/8 sound warm?

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UltimateGuitar.com’s open-source tabs show lots of possible strumming patterns for Hallelujiah as recorded by Jeff Buckley.

You may want to check those out and see if any are to your liking.

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I could and will, thank you. But, that doesn’t address the question I asked.

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Hi Henry,

making it feel warm has to do a lot with making it feel good for you, first. To achieve that you really need to be relaxed while strumming as if you were on autopilot.

This again comes witj repetition of the strumming pattern. Again and again. It takes sometime to sink, bit it’s worth.

I know this answer is a little generic, but maybe it still helps a little. :slight_smile:


Sorry that I couldn’t be more helpful. Good Luck in your quest.

Perhaps post a video of your strumming and people can come up with better ideas for you.
Have you tried the strumming course ?


I noticed that the question was not linked to the Discussion in Justin’s Lesson on 6:8 strumming where he covers the basics and talks about dynamics. If you’ve seen it already a revisit may help. :sunglasses:


6:8 is a time signature, not a strumming pattern so this may be part of the confusion.

In general, the notes are often “heard” as two group of three as a result of a slight emphasis on beats one and four like you stated. Slight; doesn’t have to be a crash.

Strumming can be DUD UDU. Or, it can be whatever you prefer.

I think you’re probably correct. Thanks

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As others have pointed out, there are different way to play 6/8.
I often start by playing all beats but importantly do it DUD DUD. I might take a bit of practice because you need to break the habit of strictly alternating down and up strums, but it automatically gives you the accents on 1 and 4 and makes it easy to create the 6/8 swing.
You can vary this by having full strums on 1 and 4 and only partial ones on the other strokes.
Another option is to play only on 1, 3, 4, 6 - as D U, D U - again it is important to have the down strums on 1 and 4 to create the accents.