6 Strumming Patterns That Work For ANY Song

6 Strums That Work For Any Song

Hello, fellow guitar enthusiasts! James here, and today I am thrilled to share with you six strumming patterns that will work for the majority of songs you come across. These patterns have been carefully curated based on real data from approximately 350 song tutorials on my YouTube channel. So, get your guitar ready, and let’s dive into these essential strumming techniques!

Mastering Dynamics with Four Downstrokes (Pattern 1)

Let’s start with a deceptively simple but incredibly useful strumming pattern – four consecutive downstrokes. While it may seem basic, this pattern is an excellent exercise in dynamics. By varying the strength and target strings, you can add emotion and feeling to your strumming.

Tip: Emphasize beats one and three for a driving rhythm or beats two and four for a backbeat feel. Experiment with different songs to find which dynamic pattern fits best.

The Most USEFUL Pattern (Pattern 2)

The most useful strumming pattern for beginners
This is incredibly versatile and appears in various songs. It involves a downstroke followed by a muted downstroke and an upstroke.

Demo Songs:

“Come and Get Your Love” (Em A D Bm)
“High and Dry” (F#m A E)

The Most COMMON Pattern (Pattern 3)

the most common strumming pattern on guitar
With this pattern, the emphasis shifts to the upstrokes, creating a distinct rhythmic feel. This pattern works well for songs with a lighter, more relaxed vibe.

Demo Songs:

“Leaving on a Jet Plane” (G C D)
“Otherside” (Am F C G)

Capturing the backbeat (Pattern 4)

how to play a backbeat on guitar

This pattern is perfect for country and folk tunes, capturing that classic groove. Here, “R” stands for a ROOT, emphasizing the lowest note of the chord shape.

Demo Songs:

“Ooh La La” (D Em)

6/8 & Compound Time Signatures (Pattern 5)

strumming pattern for 6 8 time signatures

In songs with compound time signatures like 6/8 and 12/8, simplicity often reigns supreme. Downstrokes provide a solid foundation for these patterns.

Demo Songs:

“Everybody Hurts” (D, G)
“House of the Rising Sun”

Mastering 3/4 Time (Pattern 6)

best strumming pattern for 3 4 time signatures

While less common than 4/4 time, 3/4 time signatures are still encountered in certain songs. For this pattern, count 1+2+3+ during each measure.

Demo Songs:

“Tennessee Whiskey”

Another 3/4 Strumming Pattern (Bonus)

laid back strumming pattern for old blues songs in 3 4

This pattern has a more laid back feel to it and is perfect for all those old-school tunes that use the 3/4 time signature.

Demo Songs:

“Where Did You Sleep Last Night”


Congratulations! You’ve learned six (actually 7) versatile strumming patterns that cover a wide range of songs. By practicing these patterns and mastering dynamics, you’ll be well-prepared for the majority of tunes you encounter.

Stay tuned for the sequel to this lesson, where I’ll reveal how to take these patterns to the next level, making them work for nearly every song you come across. Make sure to subscribe to my channel for more exciting lessons, and if you’re eager to supercharge your guitar skills, check out the freebies and resources linked below.

Happy strumming, and have a blast exploring new songs on your guitar!

Develop the fundamental skills needed to play guitar with confidence. Hands-on learning, presented in a clear and concise manner. Learn the basics using real songs, strum with a steady rhythm, master the basic chord shapes, learn to count along to music and more!

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