Strumming question

Hi I am a beginner that just completed grade 1 but I do not want to move on to grade 2 until I feel comfortable playing songs.
My question is in a song like Hero by David Bowie the strum pattern is D D U U D (old faithful I believe).
There is 4 beat to a bar so what is the correct way to play this.
Thank you and I hope this makes sense


Move your arm like you’re playing both the up strums and the down strums but don’t actually play the strings in the parentheses

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Understood but my confusion is the 5th down strum on in a 4 beat bar

In 4/4 time strumming 8th notes means there are 8 strums in the 4 beats, 4 up and 4 down. Think about it as 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and where the down strums are on the count and the up strums are on the ‘and’s’.

Welcome to the forum Jack

When there are 4 beat to a bar you have 4 down strums and you have to move your arm up
to get another down strum. So there are 4 down strums and 4 up strums.
Old faithful has 4 down strum but strum 3 down is not played.
The count would be
1(and) 2and (3)and 4(and) the Brackets mean don’t strum the strings

So when Justin says D DU U D It’s the same as D(U) DU (D)U D(U)

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If you were to strum on both the counts and the “ands” you would be strumming 8 times per bar.

Okay thank you for the explanation .
When it shows D D U U D
I wasn’t sure whether you were supposed to strum D D U U D ,D D U U D or D D U U D, D U U D apparently I was wrong on both
Thank you for clearing this up for a newbie

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I am still confused as that is 5 strums played in a 4 beat bar.
For example to play an A chord if all down it woud be D D D D but when the strum pattern is D D U U D how should it be played

Sorry if I’m missing something Help :wink:

This may help better than I can.

This one might help even more

So do I play the last DU together
ie D D U UD

As there is 4 beats to a bar but 5 in the strum pattern

Theres 4 beats to a bar.

each beat is a whole strum, both down and up (indeed you cant eb ready for another down strum if your hand is below the strings…). Down happens first at the start. Regardless of if you are playing the strings or not.

beat 1 = Down then up.
beat 2 = Down then up.

The pattern is which part of those you are making contact with the strings

So in your example

Beat 1 you play Down
beat 2 you play Down and up
beat 3 you play up
beat 4 you play down

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@Crackedfingers do yourself a big favor and go back to the videos
I posted and learn them. You need to know how to count the
beat with the and before you go any further.

There are 4 beats to the bar but you actually can strum 8 times within it (in 4/4 time at least) by strumming down on the beats and up on the ‘ands’ in between the beats. The second video @stitch posted explains it way better than I ever could.

D (one) DU (two and) U (“and” of the third beat) D (four) = total four beats

@Crackedfingers try to forget the number 5… there is 4 downs and 4 ups always keep your hand moving down and up… but don’t hit the strings on (skipped)

1 down strum
and up strum(skipped)
2 down strum
and up strum
3 down strum(skipped)
and up strum
4 down strum
and up strum(skipped)


Thank you

for Heroes, I play
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

as a start.