Mark 'Spanky' Gutierrez's Blog

It's Me.. Honest Its Me!!

The Rhythm Thing… Strumming

I get asked “What strum are you using?

Is it down down up up or is it down down down up down up down triplet down down?? My answer most of the time is “I have no idea”.

This is why… I think when I first started playing guitar and ukulele I did study strums that had very specific instructions but later I have found that I usually don’t  follow those strums.

Here is my method for teaching rhythm / strumming.

Step One) Crank the car stereo to your favorite tunes. Then strum your steering wheel like your a rock star. Make sure the thumping fits with the music playing. If it doesn’t back down to one strum per beat.

Step Two) Then once that’s happening (one strum per beat or your happy with what you got) add some subdivisions er… more strums in between the heavy down beats.

Step Three) Another, idea is to compliment/copy the rhythm of the singers words. This works and even gets better when you add a little bit in the long breaks of words.

The real trouble with strumming is its a lot like dancing. I can kind of dance but its much better when nobody is watching. So, confidence goes along way with strumming. To build confidence CRANK the car stereo and strum your heart out!

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