Bars & Strumming On 1

Let's learn a simple strumming pattern and get started with rhythm.

View the full lesson at Bars & Strumming On 1 | JustinGuitar

do you strum all strings?

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Welcome to the community Mark.
No, you strum from the root note. For the D chord that is from
the D string, On the A chord that’s from the A string and the
E chord that’s from the E string, so all 6

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@mjrino welcome to the community.
As 'stitch has already described, for your first three chords the number of strings is different. Justin does mention this in the lesson - video or description. Keep looking out for this sort of info for chords ahead in the near future also.
Cheers :blush:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide & Moderator

Justin’s comment about accepting imperfection and difficulty at this stage of the game is so important if you’re going to stick with guitar for the long haul. Perfectionism and growth are not compatible. There’s a great book on this topic: Mindset by Carol Dweck. I highly recommend it.


This is one of those times I’m thankful to be a drummer. Timing is in my head without even thinking about it. I also don’t have a problem with one hand doing something different than the other. However, hitting the notes correctly is certainly a challenge!


I have been learning for 13 days re: E, A and D chords, practicing notes, strumming, switching chords, 1 minute chord exercise, basic scales and keys, with basic music theory to break it up.

This is the one exercise that ties all of the above together and has produced that epiphany where you suddenly begin to understand.

There is immediate aural feedback, and you hear the importance of why timing is so fundamental. I am now in a better position to understand why a couple of work colleagues who play, both have stated that timing is so fundamental when playing.

I love that this exercise incorporates all of one’s learning so far into one practice session.


Hello @putonghua73 and welcome to the Community.
What a fantastic post to read. It is fantastic to see comments from people who are having aha moments, when suddenly separate pieces of learning coalesce and form a cohesive whole.
Good stuff.
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide

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@Richard_close2u when making chord changes while strumming on 1, is it best to make the chord change:

  1. immediately before the beat 1 of next bar? If i do this the chord will keep sounding for couple of seconds.
  2. or immediately after beat 1 of current bar? If i do this the chord will only play for a short period of time.
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Make the change before the beat, so your strum on beat 1 is the chord for that bar

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Hi Dante
As this is a module 1 question I’m assuming your chord changes aren’t fast enough to change after beat 4 as JK (@jkahn ) is suggesting. If you are able to change chords just before beat 1, then you would be able to strum on every beat.
The idea of just strumming on beat 1 is to give you time to change chords ready for beat 1 of the next bar. So it depends on the tempo and how fast your changes are.

To keep it sounding even, I would say start by strumming on 1 and start changing on beat 2 ready to strum on 1 of the next bar. If this is easy, then start changing on beat 3.
As your chord change speed builds over time you’ll be able to strum on beats 1 and 3, and then eventually on all 4 beats before you change chords.
🎸 David


Hi @dantejms
You have had good advice already.

Think of it this way.
Beat 1 is the defining beat of every bar.
It is a vital element of music.
Without beat 1 being clearly marked the rhythm would be wobbly.
You need to do whatever it takes to have your strumming hand strumming and your fretting hand fretting when beat 1 arrives.
In the very early stages that will mean lifting off a previous chord very quickly.
As your skills develop and your chord change speed improves, you will be able to leave it later and later in the preceding bar and still make it to beat 1 of the next bar in time.
Do not miss beat 1.


when should I move on to the next video / lesson? not sure about what my short term goal should be


Hi Carlos, @spirit723
Welcome here I hope you have fun ,and I hope you have moved on and just keep doing these exercises in between… and steadily moving forward and consolidating…I don’t know how far you’ve gone and what you can do, but the best short term goal is the next lesson, right?..but feel free to ask, usually an answer or nice encouragement doesn’t take that long.


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2 posts were split to a new topic: Missing finger tip due to accident - should I learn left-handed?

Hi, I am getting quite reasonable at changing from A to D and back.
I’ve been trying the songs the past couple of days.
I want to ask about how it’s supposed to sound, because I’m not sure I’m doing it correctly.

I follow the app, and change chords when it says, so my question is “the strumming, is it just a downward strum, following along with the app”?

Only it doesn’t sound or feel at all like I’m actually playing anything.

Remember, I know didly about music, so it’s all very new.

Thank you.

Hello Paul!
Once you have selected a song to play in the app, (for example Boys ‘Round Here by Blake Shelton), you will see the word Strum at the top of that song. In the case of Boys ‘Round Here, there is only one downstrum indicated per bar. So you would strum once for each chord.
“A” - one strum
“D” - one strum
After you’ve become comfortable with one strum per bar, you can add more downstrums, like on the first and the third beats. Try to feel the groove while you do this and stay on the beats (in time) as best you can. Soon you’ll feel the groove and eventually can start to change to a more complex strumming pattern.
Hope this helps!


PS One other thing, it can be a bit discouraging when starting out because you don’t feel like things are progressing very well… just stick with it and you’ll see improvement in a pretty short time, especially with the first few chords!

Thanks Tod,
That’s my goal for today then.

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Hello. :slight_smile:
For me playing songs like this… it does not tell me anything. I am on module 4 and I dont play with songs… I tried, but I felt like I dont play that music. So I am focusing on new chords, chords changes, riffs and now I started a little bit with fingerstyle, so I will be ready in future for playing songs. But thats just my point of view. I really enjoy learning guitar without playing that songs in this early stage. I am playing 46 days.

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Do you have the app, Michal? It’s actually fun playing along to it even with one strum or four strums per beat only :slightly_smiling_face: You can adjust the speed of the songs so that it feels comfortable for you - and - since these are relatively good backing tracks, you might soon get the feeling, if not playing a song then at least playing along to one :slightly_smiling_face: