Exploring Strumming

Explore strumming and create your own strumming variations with these awesome tips.

View the full lesson at Exploring Strumming | JustinGuitar

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But i still didnt master the old faithful one ! Does that mean i have to give up of it and start practicing and experimenting patterns ? I need someone to help me get this clear .

Hi Manos and welcome to Community. I suggest keeping at it with the old faithful first before moving on to more complicated patterns. See what Justin suggest you need to know before moving onto Grade 2 in his consolidation video, that should clear some muddy waters for you :slight_smile:


@adi_mrok is right, Manos. There is no reason for you to rush ahead. You have no deadline here, but I think we all have to resist the urge to try to move through lessons too quickly. Take your time, learn it slowly, practice it thoroughly, and let it take however long it takes. Enjoy the journey, as we say…


Thanks for the replys you guys :slightly_smiling_face:
I have one more question .
How is a songbook supposed to be ?
I didnt get that either .
Do i write the lyrics and above the chords ?

Yes whenever change happens during the lyrics that is where you mark up a change, above relevant lyrics. Check out some examples with chord tabs at Ultimateguitar or songsterr for reference.


I’d definitely stick with trying to get “old faithful” working. I think as Justin says it’ll work for 99% of songs and in all honesty other strumming patterns are no easier (other than four simple down strums).

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As a rhythmically challenged learner, I agree with moving slowly on the strumming patterns.

Spend whatever time you need getting comfortable with “old faithful” at various tempos and with a few of your easier cord changes.

This way you have a good pattern under your belt and can use it to play songs or cords anytime and have fun!

Then start working on other patterns, experimenting and Justin’s strumming videos when you are feeling ready.

One thought on strumming patterns for absolute beginners: You might want to avoid ones that include a strum on the final upstroke (the “and” after the 4 beat), at least if you want to use the pattern in an actual song. Strumming the final upstroke leaves less time to change chords before the next bar, and so makes the change quite a bit harder.


That is very true and great advice but don’t forget the option of playing open strings whilst making that chord change on the last “and” of the bar. If that’s jumping ahead a step or two, please feel free to delete my post.

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Like @Jamolay I am slightly rhythmically challenged. I can strum the “old faithful” style until I try it with a metronome. It goes OK for a little while then I start to get “out of rhythm”.

I know its only a matter of time before it all clicks, but its annoying until it does click. Justin`s DVD, now downloadable strumming rhythm videos are worth checking out.


Hiya! I love your lessons and I had a quick question. I’m currently learning on a classical guitar and I have a pick but its a rather thick one and I’m too lazy to buy thinner ones. I really want to learn to just strum with my thumb, and then learn finger picking, is it okay to practice the strumming patterns as Justin says with just my bare hand or should I make the effort to get a proper pick and learn that way?


Thick picks and nylon strings do not happy bedfellows make.
If that is the only guitar you have I suggest you look for felt picks.

Hope that helps.
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | Community Moderator, Official Guide, JustinGuitar Approved Teacher

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Is it okay if I stuck when counting, but when Im not it goes smooth?

Welcome to the forum Mickey! I have the same problem, still. Here is what I think.

We suck when counting or playing with the metronome (in my case) because we are NOT playing smoothly. We feel like it goes well when we don’t use counting or a metronome, but it isn’t really. There are small hitches and pauses throughout. Video yourself and listen.

The reason to play first with counting, then with the metronome is to smooth all that out and to actually learn to play in time. Eventually we only would use the external tools of the metronome periodically, or counting, to set the timing or pace but (in theory) we should by then have learned to keep a steady time internally BY practicing with the metronome and counting previously.

Hope that seems like it makes sense.

Hello @moparboy and welcome to the Community.

Is there a typo in your question?
Do you mean ‘if I suck’ or if I (get) stuck’?

Either way, counting out loud while you play a strumming pattern to a beat (metronome or drum track) is an essential to develop solid rhythm skills.
Count out loud 1, 2, 3, 4 if counting quarter notes.
Count out loud 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & if counting eighths.
Alternate that by saying out loud
Down, Down, Down, Down
Down, Up, Down, Up, Down, Up,Down, Up

Hope that helps.
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | Community Moderator, Official Guide, JustinGuitar Approved Teacher

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Mick. Great piece of advice! I find that doing this also gives me a little more time before repeating the strumming pattern.