Learning Guitar Strumming Patterns: Guitar Video Lessons

As I previously mentioned, I’ve been working on some guitar video lessons for you.  The first two lessons are on learning guitar strumming patterns.  If you are just beginning or learning guitar then I think you’ll find these video lessons helpful.  They are easy to apply to your guitar playing.  

In part 1 of these video lessons, I first explore the basics and foundations of strumming patterns.  I talk about setting good time.  It’s better to play a simple strumming pattern in time than to play a really fancy and complicated strumming pattern out of time!

In part 2 of the video lessons, I go on to talk about how you can add more substance or “meat” to your strumming patterns by better understanding the framework of time surrounding your strumming pattern.  

Part 1

Part 2

Let me know what you think! Sorry for the loud birds in the background! It was a beautiful spring day.

About Brett McQueen

Brett McQueen is a musician, songwriter, and the founder and editor of Guitar Friendly and Ukulele Tricks. Learn more about him here and follow him on Twitter at @GuitarFriendly.


  1. good vids and very well done!

  2. kenneth

    Hi there. The videos are great. I would like to know how long do I play a chord in a song. Like if there’s a part in a song where I have to play a G chord, how do I know how many times to strum and how long to play it? Thanks a lot.

  3. Kenneth – Good question!

    Generally, you’ll play a chord in a song until the song changes to a new chord. It’ll totally depend on the song!

    More specifically though, songs are divided up into measures. Most commonly songs will have 4 beats a measure. A waltz-type feel will have 3 or 6 beats per measure. This classification of beats per measure is commonly classified as a time signature.

    In most simple pop songs, chord changes will happen on the first beat of the measure.

    The goal is to strum in time with the count (A.K.A. beat or tempo) of the song. Something to keep in mind that you can strum as many times as you want within this count, as long as it keeps in time. So don’t think of it as how many times you can strum, but more of keeping your strumming in the framework of good time no matter how many times you strum.

    This is why I counted a lot in these videos. It’s better to start simple and keep good time than try to tackle a really busy strumming pattern and be unable to put that in the framework of the song’s tempo or count.

    I hope this is helpful to what you’re asking. Let me know.

    Also, let me know more specifically if there is anything more you have questions with. I’d love to try to help you out in anyway possible.

  4. Kenneth

    Thanks. That helped a lot. I would also like to know how do I decide what kind of strum to use for different songs. When do I use the one strum per count, or the 2 down strums follwed by one upstrum and then another downstrum or the 8 strums in 4 counts.

  5. Kenneth – I’m glad that helped you out.

    The strumming patterns showed in the videos are best used in songs that have 4 beats per measure.

    If the song feels like a waltz, then these strumming patterns probably won’t work well. A waltz usually has 3 beats or 6 beats per measure. It has a count of 1-2-3, 1-2-3, etc.

    I think you’ll find that these strum patterns will work for both fast and slow songs. I find that the strumming pattern with two down strums followed by one upstrum is most versatile.

    If there is a song you’re currently working on, and you’re not sure about the beat or how to come up with a strumming pattern, post the title of it and the artist. I could take a look at it and give you some suggestions or demonstration. I wish I had more time in the videos to apply the strum patterns to a song example.

    Just let me know. Feel free to fire anymore questions my way. :) I hope I haven’t been confusing.

  6. Hmmmm I think you just might be able to teach ME how to strum…. I’ve got what you have in lesson #1 & #2 – can we have more??? You are an excellent teacher :o) Thank you.

  7. Pamela, I’m glad they were helpful to you! I hope to get more videos up soon. Are there any specific things you would want to see taught in the next video?

  8. that’s really good coz im a beginner and i try to practice how to strum,thanks to this very good video,,,goodluck!

  9. Mark

    Holy crap I’ve been looking for this all over the place. I’ve bought books and all kinds of beginner stuff but oddly enough even though they tell you what a measure is none of them addressed the strumming. Thanks a lot now I can practice with some idea of what the hell my NOOB self is doing.

  10. charles

    hey am trying to figure out the pattern to the song victory by tye tribbett. its kinda fast for me to figure out can u get time to listen to it and punch me some suggestions on how i can strum to it

  11. Tim Levine

    This is great! I’m trying to play stupid kids songs and I can pick out the notes but I have no idea what strums would sound good. I’ve got one fancy strum and now all my songs sound the same. More specifically, eensy weensy spider sounds like ‘Hotel California’. Yikes!

  12. Tim, it’s funny you say that. I’ve found that some of those kids songs can be some of the most difficult songs to find a strumming pattern to!

  13. Justin Rodriguez

    Hey there, I am a begginer on the Electric Guitar, Everything is pretty simple so far but I ran into a problem. I started using Tabbalature at first which of course tells you when and how to hit the notes in most, nut now I started doing whole songs that look like this…..
    A Amaj7
    I can only imagine what it will be like, and so on,
    How many strums does each Chord get. It seems most songs are like this and I dont want to play the song the wrong way, can you help me please.

  14. thanks for the strumming lesson……by the way do you have yahoo.messenger so we can really interact with each other…. im here in philippines…..

    thanks a lot….

  15. i hope to see more strumming lessons on to you….. or strumming techniques…… that can easily remember and strum…. thanks a lot…

  16. Caroline

    Thankyou!! It was really clear and you went at a good pace.

  17. Mike

    Brett, your website is awesome! I’m very impressed. I’ve just started working on Paramore’s “Only Exception” to play at my daughter’s wedding, and your lesson on 6/8 strumming was most helpful. I’ve played for years, and I’m currently studying music theory, but keeping time and transposing drive me nuts. Please let me know if I can use your material with my students (I teach HS in Sacramento) in the future.

    Again, well done, and thanks for the tip.


  18. Mike, I’m so glad you found this material helpful. It’s definitely encouraging words like yours that keeps me motivated to adding more content. You are more than welcome to use my material with your students. Please feel free to share!

    Timing and rhythm has always been a fun challenge for me too. All I can say, is to keep counting out loud or use a metronome like your life depends on it. You eventually start getting the inner-clock working for you.

  19. I am learning guitar right now and I found these videos very helpful! I feel like strumming is one of the hardest things to pick up at first. A helpful trick to learn a song your familiar with is to get the strumming first then start switch chords after. It sure helped me!


  20. Paula Dunne

    Thanks so much, I think just watching and listen to you explaining everything so easily, I d learn guitar in no time… do you have more videos!!! :)

  21. Phoebe

    Thanks so much for posting these videos! I’ve been playing guitar for almost a week now and I’ve been trying to play a couple songs & I can do the chords alright but my strumming was awful until I watched this video, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing! I didn’t realise how important strumming was until I tried to play a song! Thanks so much, I hope you keep posting videos! =) Could you make a video about playing barre chords next? I can’t do them yet, lol

  22. mishianazie

    I’m really interested on how to play guitar, for now i’m starting to study it’s basics .


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