Strumming and Chord changes

I am following Justin Guitar on the mobile app, and I had some questions about strumming. I recently went over what Justin calls “Old Faithful” and am strumming with my hands muting the string. After a bit I started strumming the E chord and Em chord as you would strum on all the strings.

Is the general idea if I wanted to play say D and Dm, that I would strum just the four strings? If so is it just a matter of practice to get the ability to do this, or is there some alternative techniques used (maybe muting strings?).

Futhermore I find when I am changing chords that use all the strings to ones that use fewer, I am not bringing my hand all the way up on each beat but instead kind of moving my hand back up to where the chord starts. Is this behavior I should be changing?

Finally, I noticed on some of the songs you can find a strum pattern. The app has not covered this, but should I be trying to replicate this strumming pattern during the songs?

Thank you for all your help!

Hi Jordan, welcome to the community.

Yes, the ideal is to just strum the first four strings, the open 4th string is the note D which is the root note of the chord. Usually chords are played with the root note as the lowest pitch (except when they’re not :rofl:) It doesn’t sound too bad if you hit the 5th string by accident, but the 6th doesn’t sound good with a D chord at all. Some guitarists play with their thumb over the top of the neck and mute the 6th string that way, but learning to play the chord correctly through practice is preferable (and I say that as a thumb-over player).

Not sure exactly what you mean here. It would help if you could post a short video to show what you’re trying to describe.

Again I’m not sure what you mean as I don’t use any of Justin’s apps except the time trainer metronome, But I’d say, once you’ve got the chords nailed down with a 4-strums-to-the -bar beat, then yes see if you can then develop the strumming pattern. if you go to the website and check out the video song lessons, Justin usually explains how to strum the song. The website also contains supplementary text that doesn’t appear in the app.


Hi Jordan @javalad, and welcome to this community! Just take things one step at a time and keep practicing, it will indeed start to sound better over time :slight_smile:

That’s completely normal, no need to change.

As for the strumming patterns: when learning the chord changes in a song, start with just strumming on 1. When you got that, do all 4 down strums. Parallel to this but separately, you can practice the strumming pattern if it’s a new one - slowly at first, speeding up step by step until you can play it at speed. When all that is going well, combine both.

You say you use the app, so I’m guessing you use the play along feature of the app to play songs. That’s great. You’ll find a recommended strumming pattern for each song in the app. It is not necessarily “the” strumming pattern used in the original version, but a fairly easy one that sounds at least good enough with that song, allowing you to develop your strumming skills.