Breaking It Down For Beginners: Strumming a 3-Chord Progression

Walking Bassline Challenge Episode 3 (of 8)

OUR GOAL: To learn how to add walk-ups and walk-downs to our chords and strumming which will give us access to a must-know country and folk idioms – and this is no small feat!

In order to accomplish that we will have to break it down into the tiniest bits, isolating each technique or skill, and gradually put it back together.

Worksheet, covering walkups and walkdowns from all 8 episodes of the Walking Bassline Challenge, can be found on my Patreon page.

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Today, it’s pretty simpleā€¦ we’re just going to take what we did last time and work on assembling it.

At this point, we have our strumming pattern, which is “root, down, up” four times over each chord shape. To help us play with a steady rhythm, I also want you to try going “root, down” (not bothering with the upstroke).

We’re going to take it in five steps.

The first step: review your switches and make sure they’re still nice and tight.

The second step: practice the strumming pattern over each chord shape.

Step three: We practice the chords with the strumming pattern in pairs. A to D, and then A to E.

Step four is optional, but I think you should do the simple strumming pattern through the entire progression, over and over. This will fix a lot of timing issues, as long as you focus on counting aloud and keeping a steady beat.

If you feel solid you’re welcome to skip ahead to step five, which is to play “root, down, up” four times over each chord in the progression, over and over.

Not the not the most glamorous lesson, but an essential step in putting this whole thing together. We’re learning something that, at the end of it, is quite complex, so I need you to get very solid with each little step along the way.

I’ll see you next week where we’ll add one thing that’ll transform our simple strumming pattern into the quintessential country-folk strumming pattern.

You’ll find all 8 episodes of the Walking Bassline Challenge on this page, here!

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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