Strumming On The Beat

Learn an easy strumming pattern and get ready for more complex ones!


View the full lesson at Strumming On The Beat | JustinGuitar

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I want to use a metronome for this practice . Any suggestions about the tempo ? Is 80 beats good ?

My advice is to find a “starting tempo” on the metronome where you can comfortably and reliably strum on the beat. That might be painfully slow, at first – it can vary depending on the person. Practice at that tempo for a bit, then bump the tempo up and repeat. When you can do it at the new tempo, bump it up some more…and so on.

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Hello all. I tried to Google this, but nothing covered my specific question.

I’ve been using JG (the Android version) for 4-5 weeks now. I am in Lesson 2. My chord changes are ~35 for A-D and vice versa; ~25 for A-E, D-E.

I do the daily practice and use Blowin’ Smoke, Three Little Birds and Chasing Cars as my practice songs each day.

My confusion is on strumming. Lesson one was obvious that I only needed to “strum on ONE”. I have continued that into Lesson 2, but I’m wondering if I am supposed to be strumming all 4 times? Obviously at my current chord changes, I would not keep up with the songs or it would sound terrible. I just want to make sure I am practicing as intended and in the most beneficial way.

Many thanks!

There is no fixed rule for strumming. My suggestion is that, you can always start with strum-on-BeatOne; whenever you feel comfortable and steady, you can try to strum on all four beats.

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Thanks. I feel I’m pretty good with Strumming on One (70-80% “good” finger placement and strums). I think I will work on the chord changes until all three are in the 40 cpm range (or better). I’m not trying to rush through, I’m 46 and am really learning for myself to have fun and eventually play along to some backing tracks.

Appreciate the response. :+1:

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I assure you will be able to get that stage very fast if you continue the path along with the course. I started last year when I was 54, and I have been enjoying every minute of the learning journey. I’d strongly suggest you use the Beginner Song App to play some simple songs. Although now I am not using it anymore, but the app helped and motivated me a lot in my first 6 months.

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Don’t forget folks, once you have mastered just strumming on the 1, there is an alternative to strumming on every beat ! Strum on the 1 and 2, simples. Do that and it will ease you in to strumming quarter notes. And it will prepare you for those songs with two chords in a bar. :smiley:

Hope that helps.

Cheers

Toby
:sunglasses:

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Justin’s Time Trainer metronome app lets you do things like set a timer to start at a certain bpm and then automatically speed up by a small (or large, if that’s what you want!) increment after 1 minute, then again after 2 minutes, etc. I know there are other metronome apps that have that feature as well.

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Justin jokes about this exercise being not much fun, but here’s a way to liven it up: put on a favorite song (one with a strong beat, not too fast!) and use that as your metronome. Mute the strings with your fretting hand and go town on the strums (on the beat, of course!), rockin’ out with Bon Jovi or whatever artist gets your adrenaline pumping.

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Great suggestion! Seems like an obvious thing now that you mention it. You just have to find the right song to make it work.

I’m in a very similar place to you (also 46, btw).

I got up to module 4 of the first grade in about three weeks, with my A-D-E-Am-Dm-Em fast chord changes at 30 changes or higher. I can play along (more or less) with the songs of module 2-3-4 - if I strum on one.

However, I’m wondering if getting used to this kind of simple strumming won’t come back to haunt me later on. Should I be looking at trying more complicated strumming patterns (e.g. on 1 and 2 as TheMadman_tobyjenner suggests) or leave well enough alone for the first grade?

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Lodewijk

Hi and Welcome to the Community.

The simple strumming will actually pay dividends down the line, as it cementing your rhythm. But if you feel confident then there is no reason why you cannot take it a step further. Go for it ! Try strumming on the 1 + 2 and see how it goes. If its a bit rocky to start with slow the tempo down and try again. What really helps is actually counting and foot tapping, head bobbing, anything that put you in the groove and gets you on the beat. A simple count of 1 2 3 4 stressing the 1 + 2 will help your timing and if that works after a bit go for all 4 beats. If you cannot do it yet, back off and go back to basics for a bit and then try again after a few days. You can push the boundaries but do it slowly and methodically.

Hope that helps.

Cheers

Toby
:sunglasses:

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Thanks, Lodewijk and welcome to the community.

I had decided that I would continue practicing the songs “on One” while incorporating a separate practice of changing cords while strumming all notes to a metronome starting at a lower bpm and working my way up. (I find it awkward to do “songs” at a lower bpm because I usually find myself singing in my head and it throws the rhythm off)

I had gotten my chord changes to mid to upper 30s on the three chords and had a setback. I had to go out of town for 5 days, but fell ill with covid immediately after my return. I’m fine, but did not feel like practicing at all when sick. It’s my first day back, so when I get off work I’m jumping right back on it and rebuilding those callouses that are almost gone!

Posting to this community has encouraged me to stay engaged. Very glad I joined.

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Playing drums is a huge advantage when it comes to learning guitar rhythms!

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Justin does usually suggest moving up to 2 strums per bar when comfortable at 1 strum. That means a downstrum on beat one, and another downstrum on beat 3. That still gives a decent gap to get your fingers down for the chord change on one. Once comfortable with that then move to four downstrums on each beat of the bar. A lot harder but not impossible. Start simple and go up in stages rather than trying to overcomplicate things.

To some it’s natural, to others it really isn’t. Take your time and feel the groove happen.

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I actually thought about how learning drums would compliment learning guitar - is there a drum teacher out there as brilliant as JG?
I used to play music beautifully all throughout school and have only just picked up guitar for the first time after 13 years of not reading a single sheet of music, and it’s amazing how bad my rhythm is now.

So I’ve been doing the foot tapping to Dance the Night Away - The Mavericks on the JustinGuitar app, but I think I may be doing it wrong. I’ve been tapping between the A and D chord changes.

So I’ve been going:

tap, tap, tap, D, tap, tap, tap A

So on the fourth tap I’m strumming the guitar.

Is that wrong then? Should each chord be it’s own separate foot tap?

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That’s about right @rikky_boy, although you should also be tapping on the chord changes. In 4/4 music there are 4 beats per bar.

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@rikky_boy
First of all welcome to the community.
Just a beginner myself and I agree with @jkahn you strum on the first beat. I found quickly I wanted to strum on each beat, sounded so much better even if you slow down the bpm

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