#1
I am not sure if this should go to this forum or Music Theory, so please forgive me if in the wrong spot.

I have this habit of falling into the same strumming pattern over and over, like a fall-back-generic-rock-strumming pattern. Except when I play some songs I know (I am sort of a beginner) because it is already in my head. When I want to play or make up some original stuff I keep falling into this pattern. I swear I am almost robotic in this regard.

Is there any advice to help with this? Is it a common problem with newbies?
Epi G400 '66 Reissue
w/ Airline Vintage Voiced Single Coil Pickups
#2
Variants of this problem are pretty common for everyone at various points.

Basically you're falling in to it because it's what your hand is used to doing, the best way of getting away from that is to stop playing and start thinking about the sounds you want to make. Once you know how you want to sound then you can figure out how to do it physically. If you don't know how you want to sound then don't play.
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#3
I agree, been there many times (in all kinds of different areas of playing). About strumming specifically, I've been working on my chords quite a bit lately as I feel that they are behind other areas of my playing. For 20 mins every morning I'll pick 4 chords that I think will work together nicely, and chill out strumming and arpeggiating them in lots of different patterns. Whenever I feel myself settling too much into a comfortable pattern, I'll stop and come up with something new. One thing that's especially effective (and this ties in with what Zaphod said about thinking about what you want to play first) is to stop playing, and tap my foot, and experiment with slapping out different rhythms with my hands against my leg. When I find one that's interesting, then I'll use that as my strumming pattern on the guitar. You mentioned being at a beginnerish level - in that case time learning that ability to quickly take a rhythm you hear and play it on the guitar is really time well spent.
#4
the Dummies AND Idiot's books on Guitar (the introductory ones) give all kinds of
strumming patterns... AND demo them on the CD!!!
free, free FREEEEEE at your local library...
Dave Jay Turser J-200 strat lookalike...