The Rhythm Push

The strumming push is a rhythmic technique that adds excitement to your guitar playing!

View the full lesson at The Rhythm Push | JustinGuitar

Wow that D to G change in the push is a hard one for me. Pressure is on. More 1 min changes needed i guess.

I can do the push with nearly all others but my broken pinky is not wanting to play ball. I really struggle with D to G. Especially under pressure.

The not strumming on 1 also throws a spanner in the works. It felt really really really weird at the start. What did it for me was following your advice and not even fretting chords but just playing the muted strings. This is how i practice my strumming patterns so i dont annoy the neightbors too much.

I’ve been playing the “old faithful” pattern on a few songs like “I’ve never met a girl like you before” which changes from D to Am on the first up. So have I been doing this for a while now? (other than missing the whole not strumming on beat one thing, which will take a while)

I’ve not been comfortable with the “push” technique and so I hadn’t ever given it much attention. As I’m going thru reviewing the new BC I decided I really want to try to make sure I pick-up any techniques that I missed previously.
My question relates to the push strum, the & on 4. Normally on an up strum only the highest few strings are played, so with the push is this still the case or should we try for all of the usual strings for that chord. So for example, on a G-chord (or E, Em, etc) all 6 strings. The reason I ask is that for some of these chords like the Em, the only fretted strings are 4&5. Doing the up-strum on an Em and hitting only the highest 3 strings would be the same as an up-strum on all open strings. For example, on a G chord, should I try to include all 6 strings?
Hope this makes sense. thanks,

Hi Glen
You only need 3 note to create Major or minor chords. G major the notes are G B D. When up
strumming if you hit just the e B G strings the notes you are hitting are G on the e string B on
the B string and G on the G string so you are playing a G major Triad.

Em the notes are E G B so if you strum the e B and G strings you’re playing Em.
E major the notes are E G# and B when you strum the e B G stings you will hit the notes
E B G# this works with almost all your chords even 7th chords like G7 A7 etc.

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Ok, thanks Stitch. I hadn’t thought of triads on the lower strings in this context, it makes perfect sense.

Great lesson here Justin. The guitar shot with strumming pattern over the top, starting slow with the tempo and picking it up, provides a great way to learn. Thanks.

In the video Justin says that in the song “For What It’s Worth”, the strumming actually has a push in most chord changes. This is almost the only song i can play for now, and i usually do it with the old faithful pattern. If i were to try to incorporate the push, should i just switch to the pattern used in this video? Is it possible to mix and match patterns?? Or better, what’s the best way to progress in difficulties? Thank you!


The song Don’t You (forget about me) might be a simpler one to start with.

Only the Em chord is pushed.

@Tbushell Tom, thanks for giving the heads up on the song Don’t you forget about me. I was surprised that it was in the Grade 1 song list. I thought that I had looked at all the songs at that level. One question about the Em chord. I listened carefully all the way Justin’s video and didn’t hear an Em chord, just the E chord. Do you have a version with the Em chord?

Steve, the version I play is from the original App…more than a year ago, and sadly removed from the current App in the great song purge of a few weeks back.

It uses Em in the intro, and Dsus2 and Asus2 throughout, which I find works very well on solo acoustic.

As it happens, I’m currently working on a lead sheet for this song…would that help?

Correction: In the intro - C to Dsus2 change - the Dsus2 is also pushed.

(Web page won’t let me edit the original, for some reason)


Thanks. I took some initiative and did see Em used in the intro on other online chord charts, but using the Dsus2 and Asus2 is not shown. I’m starting module 11, so that might be a good one to try on the module 11 song list.

Hello Everyone. Regarding pushes. Does Josh Turners home town girl use a push with old faithful? Thank you. JIm

Thank you Justin for going extra slow with all of your strumming pattern lessons. It took me a long time to get this even with a slow rhythm. It finally started paying off with the rhythm push lesson. Not only was I able to perform the most commonly used strumming pattern slowly, but I was also able to do it at a pretty fast pace. You’re an amazing instructor!

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Can we call it a push also when the first note/syllable of a melody falls on the and after beat 4 of the previous bar? I hope this doesn’t sound as gibberish :see_no_evil: Just wondering as in my Wind of Change Chord Melody arrangement I hear I have a C chord on beat 3 and 4 of a bar and on beat 1 and 2 of the following bar and the Melody starts right on the and after 4 :thinking: (It must be like this accordingly to the 4/4 time signature) :thinking:

I’ve only heard “push” with reference to chords.

Maybe “syncopation” is more commonly used when referring to melody?

…and now I’m wondering if a chord push is a kind of syncopation… :thinking:

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I was just thinking about the meaning on the word “push” and it does feel like that note on the and after 4 really pushes for the Melody to start…

I know that you have syncopation when one or more beats are dropped, like in Old Faithful. But I think it’s not right to think of Melody and Rhythm as two separate things, Rhythm may exist on its own but Melody is nothing without Rhythm. Does it make sense?

I’ve been playing Matchbox Twenty’s Real World in the app since module 8 for stuck 3/4 chord practice and had sort of improvised my own strumming pattern to fit the song better than “old faithful.” Little did I know that tricky C to D change on the “and(Cadd9)-4-and(Dsus4)” had a name! I got it half right - now that I know to hold off on the downstrum on 1, it sounds even more authentic to the original!

I think I just stumbled upon another example of the rhythm push: in Neil Young’s album Freedom there are two versions of “Rockin’ in the Free World”, an acoustic one opens the album, and an electric one closes it.

On that electric version, my ears are telling me that in the chorus there’s a push on the transition from Em back to G.

I don’t hear it on other versions of the song, but it seems to be how it’s played on this one.

You can check it out here: Rockin' in the Free World - YouTube

(the first chorus starts at 0:44, and the first Em to G transition is at 0:51)