Playing the guitar in an advanced way requires you to know some strumming patterns, not just any strumming patterns – the advanced guitar strumming patterns listed below. The advanced stages of playing the guitar increase your knowledge of rhythmic possibilities. In this stage, without being aware, you stop thinking and feeling takes over.
Some guitar players like playing solos, so they kick off with learning scales and practicing complicated stuff. However, playing rhythm is also important. To be better at playing the guitar, you should have an insight into what rhythm is.
Knowing how to play various advanced guitar strumming patterns is very important to developing your sense of rhythm as a musician, and it also helps you play all kinds of songs. Fortunately, there are different strumming patterns that will allow you to play almost any song. But what are strumming patterns, anyway?
A strumming pattern or strum is playing a stringed instrument with the finger or plectrum (pick). It is a preset pattern used by a rhythm guitar. It involves strumming down and strumming up.
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5 Advanced Guitar Strumming Patterns for Pros
Pattern 1: 4 Beat Downstroke
The four-beat downstroke pattern is a straightforward strumming pattern. It helps to build your sense of timing and help you acquire the courage to move to the next complex strumming pattern. Simply play a downstroke on each beat of the measure. Move your strumming hand down the strings on every beat. Keep increasing your speed as you play, and also remember accuracy is key; do not sacrifice accuracy for speed.
Songs that use this pattern are: the first 30 seconds of this song by Feme Vanille. One could use a 4 beat downstroke strumming pattern to play most of the simple 4/4 songs that you still can’t get the exact strumming style.
Pattern 2: Downpicking
This can also be called down-stroke picking. In Down-stroke picking, you have to take your hand back up, which needs a high level of stamina and endurance. In downpicking, the player plays the plectrum or picks the plectrum downward, relative to the guitar position, against one or more of the strings to make the strings vibrate.
Songs that use this pattern are: Punk rock, Metallica and Slayer songs. The basic thing here is to synchronize your playing with the beat.
Pattern 3: Finger Picking
This style has been used in many famous and legendary songs over the years. It is done by plucking the strings directly with the fingertips, fingernails, or picks attached to fingers.
Some Fingerpicking Patterns we should know;
Firstly, pluck the first string with your thumb, then the fourth string with your forefinger while using your second finger on the fifth string, and the highest note of the chord with your third finger. This style can be played with any songs in 2/4 or 4/4 time.
This fingerpicking style is used for songs in 3/4 time, mostly used in folk music and rock music where it becomes 2/4 (two main beats, divided into three shorter beats).
- (One and Six, then Two-Five-One Six-Three)
Here is the right order in which you pluck the strings: Pluck one and six together, two, five, one, six, three (1+6-2-5-1-6-3). The fingers you use is not of basic concern, but it’s essential to get the motion right, that the first note and every second note after that be made with your thumb, which alternates between the three bass notes.
Pattern 4: Alternate Picking
This is one of the most effective ways to playing fast because you alternate between plucking down and plucking up. Alternate picking means alternating the way you pick individual strings. It involves using upstrokes with downstrokes.
One of the challenges encountered when alternate picking begins when you are faced with notes that are regularly changing strings. So, let’s learn a simple picking exercise to that end.
Alternate picking involves alternating downward and upward strokes continuously.
Firstly, we will take a scale, arrange it using a repeating pattern of 4 notes. Start with the first note, play the first 4 notes of the scale, then go to the second note and play the next 4 notes starting from that point and so on. This can be called a scale sequenced using quadruplets.
Pattern 5: Tremolo Picking
This is a form of alternate picking; it is done at high speed focusing on one note over a set duration. Tremolo also means quick reiteration of a note. It is an advanced technique that needs consistent practice and discipline to master.
- Use the tip of the pick.
- Angle the pick slightly by slightly bending your thumb.
- Use your arm instead of your wrist to pick while using your elbow as a pivot.
- Make sure your muscles and arm are relaxed.
How to Convert Melodies to Tremolo
Tremolo can be applied to any single line just by quickly picking the single notes. Quickly picking the single notes has the cause of sounding like one big, long note and is a perfect way to increase sustain. Tremelo picking effect is often heard in Latin styles of music and surf rock and heavy metal.
How to Master Strumming and Strumming Patterns
One of the best methods to master your strumming is by counting it just imagine strumming as a synonym for counting. That is taking all your downstrokes.
Angle the pick so the tip will point to your feet on up strums to your chest on down strums. This permits you to strum from the wrist and play lightly.
Strum from the wrist: Here, your wrist will be loosed and dance up and down across the strings. Hence, you want to maintain some control of your wrist; your wrist should be loose while your elbow doesn’t move far from being at a 90-degree angle during the play.
When learning a new strumming pattern, attempt it at a speed you’re comfortable at. Even if it sounds awkward, do it; make sure you don’t give in accuracy for speed. Start slow.
Watch other guitarists: Select an artist in which you love the most and look up their videos. Watch other talented artists, watch professionals; you may not be as fast as they are but go easy with accuracy then your speed will fall in place.
After trying these guitar strumming patterns, keep practicing until you have them down by memory. Remember, music always starts with a solid rhythm. You can do away with playing the wrong notes and bad chords as they’re properly timed. That’s the power of rhythm.
Over time, you can start to play the patterns faster and try more difficult patterns. However, the most important thing here is practice; you have to try the patterns out more. Continuous practicing will go a long way.