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Lesson 4:

Strumming the Guitar

By now you should know how to read chord grid frames and be able to place your fingers correctly on the strings and strum some chords.

In this lesson you will learn more about strumming patterns and chord progressions.

A strum pattern is the combination of both down and up strumming of a chord that produces a particular rhythm for a musical arrangement or song.

These patterns are often written on a musical staff.

music measure

The staff is divided into sections called measures, or bars, in order to make it easy to read the rhythm of written music.

A bar line is a vertical line dividing the measures.

Below are a few examples of strumming patterns that you might see written in music books or sheet music.

A chord progression is a series of chords played or strummed in a particular sequence to create a song or a musical arrangement.

In any progression you will strum the chord that is named above or inside the music staff. The symbol will tell you to strum down or up and how many times to strum for each measure.

The following examples show a simple 2 chord progression using the G and E minor chords with 3 basic strum patterns. Repeat each example until you are able to switch smoothly between chords.

down strumming progression

down and up strumming progression

down and up strumming progression

Sometimes you will see the chord written above or inside the staff of music without any intended strum pattern.

 strumming pattern2

In this case you can kind of use whatever strum pattern you want as long as it fits the correct number of beats per measure. In our examples there are 4 beats in each measure.


Print out strum patterns progressions and practice the progressions with each strum pattern. Start with the down strums then move on to the other patterns. Your goal is to be able to switch between chords smoothly from one to the next.

You can find more strumming progressions and easy songs in the resources page.

Lesson 4

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