Tapping Your Foot

There's a reason why we tap our foot (or nod our head!) when we listen to music. Learn how this can help you play better guitar!

View the full lesson at Tapping Your Foot | JustinGuitar

I realized I already pretty much do this naturally, though with the wrong foot and I like stomp instead

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I find that if the strumming pattern changes, though the timing of the song stays the same, my foot (or heel) adds an extra tap in between to match the extra strums in between the main beat strums, if you get what I mean! Should I try and correct this?

Hi Steven and welcome to the community.

I would say that yes, you would want to correct this. You should only be tapping (or stomping) your foot on the beat.

It’s totally natural for your feet to want to follow the strumming pattern of your hand, but that will cause problems, especially as the tempo increases or the time signature changes.

I would recommend that you try playing with a metronome and tapping your foot at the same time. Start with just a single down strum on each beat, tapping your foot with each click of the metronome.

Once that feels natural, then try the “old faithful” strum pattern of D DU UD while tapping to the metronome. It will feel really difficult at first because your foot will want to follow your hand, but after a while, you will start to notice that your foot is going up on the up strums and down on the down strums. You will also get a sense for how it sounds and feels when you’re not doing a down strum on the 3 beat.

For me, this was a big step in starting to feel how different strumming patterns sort of fit “around” the beat and has helped my rhythm out immensely.

I hope it helps you too.


Hi Steven, great to hear from you. I similarly found tapping my foot to the beat to be a challenge especially in the early years. I agree with what @Rider2040 rob says and don’t be too worried if it takes a while. I’ve got some songs that I just couldn’t keep up the tap all the way through and now even when I don’t deliberately mean to start tapping my foot it just does it on it’s own.

Don’t trust the foot tap. The metronome speaks the truth. Feet can be fooled. And if playing along to the metronome proves too much of a challenge, don’t worry about it and try it again in a few months or longer, you’ll get there.


Ain’t that the truth. There have been times when I have been using the metronome on my phone that I have almost convinced myself that a glitch in the app was causing the metronome to be off and that my timing was right. I think my foot was lying to me.

Also, you bring up a really good point that playing to a metronome is really hard at first. I sort of abandoned it for several months in my first year of learning and then finally went back to it when I realized how bad my timing was. I wish that I had stuck with just a couple minutes of metronome work each day while I focused on learning other things and I am sure that it would have clicked a lot earlier.

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Thanks for all the advice guys, I will try the metronome - I’ve been playing for three years or so now and have probably got myself into some bad habits!