Learning to Strum on Acoustic Guitar

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Learning to strum on acoustic guitar involves such basics as using downstrokes for downbeats and upstrokes for upbeats, either with a pick or with your fingers depending on the types of strings you use. Get the scoop on strumming in this free video of acoustic guitar lessons.

Part of the Video Series: Acoustic Guitar Lessons
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Chay Alexander Wright, guitarist in Los Angeles, California, currently playing with Corbin Bleu. Today, we're going to learn to strum an acoustic guitar. Strumming is when you first take your picking or strumming hand, and you literally just run the fingers down the strings of the guitar, or up the strings of the guitar, depending on what direction you're going, what technique you're using, what you're playing, and you see the strumming one note sounds off after the other. So, if I slow it down, if I play it in slow motion. This is an open E chord here, E Major Chord. If I play it slow you'll hear one string at a time sound off and when you're strumming it's usually an up and down rhythm. You start downbeats for the downstrokes, upbeats for the upstrokes. So we'll do an eighth note strum pattern, downbeats are strokes, upbeats are upstrokes, downbeats down strokes, upbeats, upstrokes. You just want to practice that with like an open E chord or you can even just practice that you know, with just the open strings as if you're just strumming it right out of the box, but we're going to play it with an open E string or an open E chord rather. I can't use a pick because I'm on my nylon acoustic guitar. I'm using my fingers but you can use one finger, you can use a coupe of fingers. You can use a combination of two fingers and your thumb. And you want to take that eighth note pattern and gradually speed it up until it becomes somewhat of a sixteenth note pattern, and then you can practice that strumming with all kinds of combinations of chords. And then, also with strumming, since you have the eighth note or sixteenth note pattern going up and down, you cannot strum depending on what kind of pattern you want. So, if I am not playing a straight sixteenth pattern I might want to do something that's you know a couple of sixteenths, a rest then another sixteenth and so on and so on and you can practice all kinds of strumming patterns just by not strumming either on the down or the up depending on what's coming. Or maybe, I want to eliminate a downstroke. So, you can do a number of patterns and rhythms just by not hitting a downstroke or an upstroke, depending on what you are going for. I'm Chay Alexander Wright, and that's learning to strum on an acoustic guitar.

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