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Guitar Strumming

Let's have a look at the basic guitar strumming pattern.  If you use a steel-stringed guitar, have a pick handy. 
Guitar Strumming Pattern
Whenever your right hand makes one full motion, with a pick or your fingers, through all the strings of the guitar, it's called a strum.  Each arrow in this picture represents one strum - the blue ones a down strum and the red ones an up strum.  This strumming pattern therefore has eight strums. 

Now pick up your guitar and try playing this strum pattern while counting out loud a number with each down stroke and an 'and' with each up stroke.  It should literally sound like this:  'One and two and three and four and one and two...' 

Play it just like this without pressing any strings on the neck, we want to get your right hand used to strumming first.  It will sound 'wrong' since you're not pressing any chords, but don't worry, we're going to fix that in the next lesson.

     
Ready? Go!  This is what it should sound and look like:
Be careful not to strum to hard or soft, and make sure all strings ring clearly.
Popular Guitar Strumming Pattern
We alter our pattern a little bit, and it turns into one of the most popular strumming patterns used by musicians today.
Guitar Strumming Alternate Pattern
Everything is the same as before except, you're going to leave out the downstrum on the third count. The trick with this is not to stop the strumming motion when you reach the third count.  Keep the motion in your hand going, BUT lift your hand slightly from the strings so that you pick/fingers does not touch the strings.

       Ready? Go!  This is what it should sound and look like:
Well done!
These two strumming patterns will do for now and is more than enough for a beginner player, you'll pick up a few more down the road.
On the third count, lift your hand from the strings, but keep the strumming motion going!
- Before you move on to the next lesson -
It's important to get these two basic strumming patterns nailed down.  Learning chords (the next lesson) is going to be much easier if you don't have to focus on your strumming hand, so try and get to the point where playing these patterns are easy and somewhat natural. 

Don't worry if you struggle in the beginning and miss a beat or strum.  If you're just starting out with the guitar then it's only natural to struggle.  Remember: for your body and brain, this is all very new - groundbreaking stuff!  It might take some getting used to.

Practice these strumming patterns until you feel you know them well enough to learn your first chord.
Ready to learn about guitar chords?
Proceed to the next lesson - Basic guitar Chords

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