Pointers for foot tapping with a 6/8 time song?


I’m having some difficulty determining how i’m supposed to tap my foot when it goes beyond the point where you’re foot and strumming arm are moving in tandem. For instance, with David Gray’s This Year’s Love I (6/8) I believe I should be tapping my foot on the 1 and 4 in 123 456. However, to my knowledge Justin doesn’t (explicitly) teach that in grade 1. I think the app may be helping using the orange circles with the numbers in them (in the count off) and with the bigger dots in the actual bars, in the sense that you should be tapping your foot on the orange-circles-with-numbers / big dots.

So in This Year’s Love on the 1 and 4 in 123 456 and in Hey Joe on the 1st and 3rd dot (whether that’s beat 1 and 3 or 1 and 2, I find it confusing in this particular song).

I sure hope to get some feedback, I’m feeling quite inept on this topic and I’d really like to learn!


Tom @tom_van_kan
I don’t know the song you mention but I am learning House of the Riding Sun which is also 6:8 time which means there are 6 beats in the bar so I am tapping my foot 6 times in a bar.
I suppose you could tap on Beats 1 and 4 but personally I would find that confusing.



In 6/8 you want to accentuate the strum in the 1 and 4 but you foot should be tapping out all 6 beats per bar. Regardless of the time signature you should tap your feet on the beat.



Hi Michael,

Thank you for your reply. I used to tap my foot six times, but that doesn’t seem to fit with the “groove” of 123 456 as opposed to 123456. I’ve done some research on the internet and found many people explaining that you should tap your foot on the 1 and 4.

Also, regarding Hey Joe, the orange circles show 1 and 2 only, not 1, 2, 3, and 4 as in other songs. I’m guessing there must be a reason and it may be connected to foot tapping / counting.

Thanks again!

Thank you for your reply. What I don’t understand is this: if the beat is 6 beats to the bar, why does the count at the start (of the song in the app) only count 1 - 2? In 4/4 the count at the start is 1, 2, 3, 4; but for Hey Joe the count off is 1, 2.

I feel like I’m mixing things up, but I can’t put my finger on it. As I understand if the foot tapping is mainly to stay in count, so that’s why it would make sense for me to use the count at the start as base

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Sorry Tom I am not an app user and started Justin’s song lessons way before that was born. So not sure how the app presents the songs, sorry.

For a 4/4 song if I needed a count in I’d use an intro of 1 2 3 4 but I’ve encountered and recorded songs when I’ve called the start on just 3 4. Just did one recently.

Regardless of the count in, you should be tapping your foot to the beat. Simples.

Thanks. Still hope someone can shed some light on the logic in the app:

This Years Love (6/8)

Hey Joe (4/4)

Wild Thing (4/4)

App user here…

The count in for Hey Joe is just plain wrong as displayed in the app. The song is clearly in 4 / 4 - listen to the snare drum - it’s being hit on beats 2 and 4.

Most of the App songs are accurate (though often simplified for beginners), but there are some errors, and this is one of them.


Thanks guys, I guess it’s just the things you go trough when you’re a newbie trying to kick the habit of tapping your foot like a rabbit to every 16th note you strum :rabbit2:. Will keep practicing!


Hi Tom,
Justin has a lesson on the web for This Year’s Love by David Grey… I haven’t watched it but it may help with your 6/8 timing… I think Justin recommends to just start with 2 strums - the 1 & 4 but not sure how is best for foot tapping to this rhythm.
Good Luck!

Thanks for the tip, I will check it out. I actually don’t like the song, but for this timing practice it seems to be very apt :joy:

The rule of thumb with the App for 4/4 songs is that your foot should be going down on the large white dots, and up on the small white dots.

Wild Thing demonstrates this, but notice that the D chord on the first line is “pushed” - meaning it is played on the upbeat.

Yes, I read that in the app faq. Hence my confusion with regard to This Year’s love where the big dots are only at 1 and 4 (out of 123 456). Thank you

Sadly Justin’s foot / leg can’t be seen tapping in the video for This Years Loving :see_no_evil:

I haven’t tried to play This Year’s Love, but just listening to it in the app, my foot wanted to tap slowly - twice per line.

So if it’s actually 6 / 8…on the 1 and 4 as you suggest.

But to be honest, I’m not sure what the time signature of that song is. 6 / 8? 3 / 4? Maybe even 4 / 4 triplets?

I’ve found that sometimes tapping my foot messes up my rhythm - it hurts rather than helps. In those cases I find it better to focus on my strumming.

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It is 6/8, the 1 & 4 are accented & 2,3 5,6 are played lightly if desired.



While it’s good to learn at first to tap your foot, the purpose of it in the end is to help you keep the time through the piece. So, you might like to experiment and see what works for you. I end up moving my head more so than my foot most times! You want it to feel automatic, like you don’t have to think about it as you play. This is also why we love a good rhythm section…


6/8 Is the time signature for this song, it’s explicitly mentioned by Justin as a good primer for practicing 6/8. Thank you for sharing your thoughts

Looking at the time trainer app, 4/4 is 4 beats with 1 division per beat. 6/8 is 2 beats with 3 divisions. So tapping on the beat in 6/8 would be on those 2 beats (123 456). This Years Love is a (very) slow song, tapping your foot on each division feels awkward compared to the tempo.


6/8 is 6 beats per bar/measure. You tap on each beat regardless of the time signature. How else would you know when accent the 1 and 4. You just stomp harder on those beats.
1 2 3 4 5 6

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