Hi everybody. I have a problem that I think plagues a lot of new guitarist. Strumming new patterns.
I just can't seem to get out of a few basic patterns. It's hard for me to learn new songs because of this.
Example: I'm currently trying to learn Five Becomes Four by Yellowcard. I've listened to the song for years so I know how it should be sung. But being stuck in my few patterns I can't play a rhythm that fits with the singing.
So my question is: What's the best way to practice so I can broaden my sound. I know I can progress more if I play things differently. Just don't know how to approach it.
Thanks in advance!
"I prefer the concept of abstract music."

"What would you do for [insert desire]?"
"Eat a Klondike Bar!"
-The Klondike Bar paradox
Use a Metronome for about 20minutes in your practice routine, and practice abstract patterns in timing with the metronome. Dont sing, just do 3 or 4 abstract patterns with simple chords, and spend some time on each one. Within a few days, you'll see the right hand becomes used to the new patterns, and then you can do them much more easily

Hope this helps, Best of luck man
How many guitar players does it take to change a light bulb?

Twelve. One to change the bulb and eleven to say they could do it better.

Thank a lot. I've never thought to do that, but I'm sure it will work. I work with a met a lot, just with a bass normally.
Thanks again.
"I prefer the concept of abstract music."

"What would you do for [insert desire]?"
"Eat a Klondike Bar!"
-The Klondike Bar paradox
What you are going through is perfectly normal. I suppose there is two ways to go about this, one is practice different types of more common strumming patterns. Learn a couple , adjust as needed.

Myself I do not use this. Every time I have looked up a song and someone had a strumming pattern for it it did not sound the same way in my head. Usually a strum more, or strum less. In short I just take what I hear and Play around with strumming till I get it for what works for me and I do not "think" up up down.

If I was you I would start with simple rhythm songs. Songs you are not strumming to the words , ones you are making a basic pattern and singing around the patterns. Use measures to help make these patterns. This will also greatly improve your playing. ( for instance strum 4 times 4 times 2 times 2 times 4 times , as you get better you will be able to "add" to it ).

These will be REALLY difficult at first trying to do chords, singing, rhythm at the same time. Sometimes you have to slow down the song so you can "THINK" that many things at once, speed up as you get it down, like riding a bike.

Another thing that helps me is speed increase and slow down your hand to help find that pattern. Also keeping your arm going in a swing and not swinging it OUT of the pattern. Keep your arm is a steady speed and do not change that pattern of your arm. As you get better you can add like a pause type pattern and more. A fluid motion.

I made a post about this a few months ago, I will give you the link and maybe you will get some ideas off there as well.


You are on the right track so don't let it get to you.
Thanks so much. All this will be added into my practice schedule.
"I prefer the concept of abstract music."

"What would you do for [insert desire]?"
"Eat a Klondike Bar!"
-The Klondike Bar paradox
You will get it down trust me.
I was lucky enough that picking up on strumming patterns in songs that aren't mine was easy for me.
"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."

~Leonardo da Vinci
Seriously just sit with your guitar in front of the television or something, and change between random chords while strumming random rhythms. This will make your technique more diverse and applicable to more songs.
Everyone has this problem. It's normal. Make sure you tap your foot though, there's no use in aimlessly throwing your arm about if it's not perfectly in time. Basically, something that really helped me was this (as a general rule) If it's on the beat it's going to be a downstrum, if it's off the beat, then it's probably an upstrum. Just listen to the song really hard then you'll get it. Soon, you won't need to think about it and it'll just happen.
I don't really follow a pattern, I just keep time and I don't seem to have problem. When I was just learning I watched old guys who had been doing it for years and they told me to just keep time and It seems to work for me.
I don't know though I could be doing somethng wrong.
Last edited by Silent_Crow13 at Jul 27, 2010,