Ups To The All Down

Let's explore the 16th Note Strumming pattern. It's about time, huh? :)

View the full lesson at Ups To The All Down | JustinGuitar

The “keep your hand moving” part, I get the point. Just curious how far you take it, if there are 5 or 10 seconds of no guitar for part of a song, you keep the hand moving to keep the rhythm, or do you just stop, and the timing of the first beat is easy enough to keep you on track when you start up again?

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If there is a bar or two of letting a chord ring (or silence), I definitely find it useful to keep my fretting hand moving…at least a little.

I also count in my head, or even out loud, especially if there are some tricky syncopations, or things happening in the middle of a bar.

My drum teacher showed me a good trick for really long pauses…count each bar on the “1”. e.g. for a 4 bar pause:

1 2 3 4 2 2 3 4 3 2 3 4 4 2 3 4

This takes a bit of practice, but really helps once you get it.


Hi Jesse,
If in the middle of a song there is no guitar to play for 10 seconds…, yell at someone to stop what he is doing and continue playing together… :roll_eyes: :wink:
I don’t know if Justin says it in this lesson,…but always keep moving, it doesn’t have to be big movements, sometimes they are barely noticeable to others but in your head and sometimes you move very lightly… …As for 5 to 10 seconds,…they’ll be over in no time,(but I’m sure someone else has something better to add)
Greetings ,Rogier


I tend to tap the guitar to maintain my sense of rhythm whilst continuing to tap my foot. I find it conserves my energy rather than continuing to keep my fretting hand moving. It also allows me to add some percussion if it fits the song.


Could these same patterns be used for a song with a higher BPM, say 160? I can match them both with Justin and a metronome around 120 BPM just fine, but my brain can’t even comprehend how they would sound at 160 BPM. I try and it just sounds like a mess, not sure if I’m just too slow at this point or these patterns aren’t as viable/noticeable at higher speeds. I can do 8th note strums at 160 BPM.

It’s too big a leap from 120bpm to 160bpm, try it at 130bpm and gradually increase the speed if you feel comfortable with it. And you may not even need to go any faster than 120bpm depending on what songs you like.

I assume you meant you are doing a strum for each click of a metronome at 160bpm. Technically 160bpm is 640 x 16th strums per minute which would be insanely fast :slight_smile: Ultimately you only need to go as fast as the songs you want to play.


Are the 16th strumming patterns supposed to fit to any fast song ?
Iam a bit confused .
I try to use them in songs i used the old faithful , but it doesnt feel right .
Actually it takes 2 bars to fit the 16th pattern .
I cant fit it in one bar .
Is it supposed to fit only in some kind of songs ;
Please help .

I doubt many guitarists can strum a 16th note pattern at 160bpm. Most of the songs with 16th note strum patterns I can think of are funk-style and are closer to 110bpm, often much slower than that.

The fastest song I can think of with 16th note strumming is “Le Freak” by Chic (a 70’s disco song) at about 122bpm.

“Old Faithful” is traditionally an 8th note strumming pattern.
8th note - 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & (one bar)
16th note - 1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a (one bar)

Hope this helps.

I absolutely love 16th note strumming. My first venture into it was with Justin’s Wonderwall lesson. I probably got a little ahead of myself by learning the actual pattern, but I was determined and the payoff was amazing; zero regrets. I’ve continued to practice 16th note strumming with other songs that sound best with (mostly from module 8), but by doing so have found that I have to take a minute to “re-learn” 8th note strumming for the songs where that sounds better (usually the slower ones) lol. With 16th strumming I find I most definitely “feel” the songs more too. I really get into it!

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Sometimes these videos get annoying with how long they are. He could literally split these videos in half and we would still learning everything he wants to teach…

Watch them at double speed then. :slightly_smiling_face:
Personally I think his videos are well paced.


Why this exercises doesn’t included in the automatically practice assistant as a practice routine?