A 6:8 Strumming Pattern

The ONLY 6/8 strumming pattern you need to worry about is here!

View the full lesson at A 6:8 Strumming Pattern | JustinGuitar

Hello, i got the 6 part of 6 8 but what about the 8? I don’t get what the second number means? Thanks

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The bottom number on the time signature indicates the type of note. For 4/4 a measure is 4 quarter notes. A measure in 3/4 time consists of 3 quarter notes. So 6/8 means a measure has 6 eighth notes. The difference between 3/4 and 6/8 is that in 3/4 time there are 3 beats - each beat is a quarter note. So in 3/4 time the count is a simple one-two-three. In 6/8, the count is ONE-two-three FOUR-five-six. So 6/8 only has two beats per measure (ONE and FOUR are the beats), while 3/4 has 3 beats.

Does that help?

I’m sure there are other folks here who can explain it far better than I did there.


Hi @Phuerph and welcome to the community.

Dave911 has got it bang on.

6/8 is measured in eighths and each pulse is felt on the 1 and the 4, spanning three eighths each.

Eighths as opposed to quarters which is the measure for music in 4/4 (the majority of music) and 3/4 (waltz-time).

Cheers :blush:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide & Moderator


Can someone recommend some songs that use this strumming pattern. I am not strictly a beginner so its fine if it uses chords outside what has been learnt thus far.

Any help is really appreciated.

Hello @langou and welcome to the Community.

Some 6/8 song examples:
House Of The Rising Sun
Scarborough Fair
When A Man Loves A Woman
Norwegian Wood

There’s lots when you look.
Hope that helps.
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide

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Other songs in 6:8 that I can think of: :slight_smile:
45 - Shinedown
Worthless - Bullet for my Valentine
Iris - The Goo Goo Dolls
6/8 - Blink-182
Piano Man - Billy Joel
House of the Rising Sun - The Animals
Toxicity - System of a Down
My Name is Jonas - Weezer

Thanks Richard. Been playing Norwegian Wood today. Sounds great with the recommended strumming pattern.

Thanks Forsythe.

Appreciate the response. I will give some of those songs a try.

I’ve got a question which is more general: is there any difference between 3/4 and 6/8 time besides the tempo? From my own primitive experiments (e.g. counting the beats in Dig a Pony by The Beatles), 6/8 feels to me as if it was 3/4 played twice as fast, but I’ve got a feeling I’m missing out on something. Or am I?

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@Jozsef might be worth having a look at this video on YouTube


3/4 == waltz, 6/8 == Gary Moore

Big difference :wink:


Thanks for the video, it explains the difference pretty well.

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When you tap your foot with 6/8 (ie. Mazzy Star - Fade Into You), should you be tapping your foot on beat 1 and 4? If I tap my foot on every beat it feels hectic (especially for a slower song).

Hello @Avidity and welcome to the community.
The short answer is YES, 100% beats 1 and 4.

6/8 rhythm is all about beats 1 and 4.

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 –1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 –1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 –

Hope that helps.
Cheers :smiley:

| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide


Trust me, you can waltz to 6/8 as well :wink:

This is one of my wife’s favourite tunes to waltz to, and yes it’s another one in 6/8: Seal - Kiss From A Rose (Official Music Video 720p HD) + Lyrics - YouTube

Thank you!

As a ukulele player, I’m used to playing 6/8 with a D DU DU D DU DU strum. Is this not recommended for guitar? It is easier than D…UD.D…UD

Hi @Angel1
Anna - have you seen somewhere in the lessons or comment that your preferred strum pattern is not recommended? I’m not sure why you may think that / ask that.

It’s just that in the Grade 1 module 7 lesson, Justin says that the D__UD_D__UD is the ONLY (his capitals) strumming pattern you need in 6:8.