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Thursday, 30 September 2010

Basic Guitar Strumming


Basic Guitar Strumming

One thing which is the really annoyed me when starting out was the fact that everybody just wrote patterns down like -- DDUUD.

How are we supposed to figure out what the rhythm of strumming is? The secret lies in finding out the beat of the song. Time Of Your Life is an 4-beat song (4/4).

The thing about strumming soft acoustic numbers (esp. pop numbers) is that your hand must have a continuous down and up motion (that is without actually playing DUDUDUDU for an 8 beat song, your hand must be doing this motion).

Try to this for practice first : Hold a chord and do a DUDUDUDU for the 4 beat duration.
Keep on going with this till the time you get a sense of the beat.
Motion must exist at the wrist level, and not at the elbow or arm.

Now coming back to the song...

Let's divide a typical 4 beat song into 8 parts. It would help beginners to speak it aloud, makes you more oriented to the rhythm.


1 | & | 2 | & | 3 | & | 4 | & || 1 | & | 2 | & | 3 | & | 4 | &


Try to count and see, which syllables of the first line land on which beat counts specified above. (I tried to include this under the beat counts but it became pretty messy).

Example : An-o-ther starts on the 2nd (An-), -o- starts on the 2.5 (the & after the 2) and is sung till the 3rd, and -ther starts on 3.5 (the & after 3). This may be boring / annoying / pointless for most, but give it a shot, it may help you figure out the remaining part of this post. Now to come to the strumming : remember, the strumming hand (rather the wrist) should have a continuous down up down up motion. Therefore, this is what your strumming hand should be doing.


1 | & | 2 | & | 3 | & | 4 | & || 1 | & | 2 | & | 3 | & | 4 | &
D | U | D | U | D | U | D | U || D | U | D | U | D | U | D | U


Hare it is the motion based on which you'll get your strumming pattern.
Now, for the strumming pattern, having the same motion of the strumming hand.


Just make contact with the strings where it has been denoted in bold below:


1 | & | 2 | & | 3 | & | 4 | & || 1 | & | 2 | & | 3 | & | 4 | &
D | U | D | U | D | U | D | U || D | U | D | U | D | U | D | U


This strumming pattern is often called DDU-UDU pattern

(I've seen some other authors describing it this way).
If you choose to, you can always skip the 8th upstroke, whatever suits you. The pattern will then become DDU-UD. This is the strumming for the first part of this song. The second strumming is slightly different but follows the same 4/4 beat.

There are two ways of playing it : the actual way (bit complex), and a simplified way (which I saw on another site)


This part starts at the end of the first verse ie.
I hope you had the time of your life... This is the actual one, and singing along with this pattern may not be all that easy (DD-DUDU,UD-DUD):

1 | & | 2 | & | 3 | & | 4 | & || 1 | & | 2 | & | 3 | & | 4 | &

D | U | D | U | D | U | D | U || D | U | D | U | D | U | D | U


Note that the strumming pattern extends for 8 beats unlike the first one which repeated after 4 beats. This is the simplified pattern so that singing while playing becomes easier, but isn't the exact one used in the song (DD-DUDU):


1 | & | 2 | & | 3 | & | 4 | & || 1 | & | 2 | & | 3 | & | 4 | &
D | U | D | U | D | U | D | U || D | U | D | U | D | U | D | U


That's all there is to the strumming for this song. Let me give you the 2 patterns once again with the strokes not being played denoted as dots. Pattern 1 :


1 | & | 2 | & | 3 | & | 4 | & || 1 | & | 2 | & | 3 | & | 4 | &
D | . | D | U | . | U | D | U || D | . | D | U | . | U | D | U


Pattern 2 : Actual --


1 | & | 2 | & | 3 | & | 4 | & || 1 | & | 2 | & | 3 | & | 4 | &
D | . | D | . | D | U | D | U || . | U | D | . | D | U | D | .


Simplified --


1 | & | 2 | & | 3 | & | 4 | & || 1 | & | 2 | & | 3 | & | 4 | &
D | . | D | . | D | U | D | U || D | . | D | . | D | U | D | U


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