#1
Basically I suck at the guitar I own an acoustic guitar that I bought in Sept '05 and I practiced playing but I just don't understand how to do strumming patterns and when to change chords. I tried to pick a simple but challenging song to play and a friend suggested Bon Jovi - Always, I tried to play it but I realized I don't know when to switch chords nor did I know the strumming pattern. I just suck I'm so frustrated that I just basically gave up after 3 months of practice because my tiny brain couldn't comprehend the basics of the basics of guitar playing chord switching and strumming. I couldn't get it so I just moved onto songs that all you do is finger pick because it tells you where to change chords and which strings to pick so it's a lot easier. But I still want to learn how to play other songs I want to truly know how to play, can anyone just please put it simply for me on how to get the strumming for songs and when to change chords? For example when its like this:

B A-B-C#
but without you I give up

or

A C#m B
baby - Always

When do I know when to change the chords? and please someone explain strumming patterns, I know there are alot of different strumming patterns but seriously how do you know which strum pattern to use on songs and when to change the strum pattern in the middle of the song? I REALLY want to learn and this is kind of my last ditch effort to finally learn to play, when people come over to my palce and see my guitar and ask if I know how to play I actually want to say YES, I do. Instead of my usual "No, I own it but I suck fat balls at it and I can't play a single damn tune"

Anyways I know I sound extremely frustrated, because I REALLY do want to learn and I hope someone here can help me out someway. I really don't have the time for pro lessons so any help will do. Please help my stupid noob ass out. Thanks guys and gals.
#3
Yeah like he said just keep playing man... maybe buy some software like Guitar Pro to help you figure it out easier. You can listen to the song half speed and it will help you to understand the pattern easier.
#4
try powertab, its free software that plays a midi tune of the song as well as showing you the tab of what to play, just google it.
#5
^ Yes. That software will help (even powertab).

I agree with these guys, get this software and also listen to the songs. If you really listen you will start to develop the feel for when the chords change.

Also, I think one thing that might be hurting you is how you view your playing. Not grasping something is okay man, but you need to believe that you can do it (cue "I Believe I can Fly*). Seriously though, don't worry about it to the point that it hinders your progress.
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#6
Seems like that is the advice I always get from everyone, just listen to the song. But I can't differentiate with all the distortions and backup instruments all playing at once, I can make out the guitar but I can't hear whether they are playing down strokes or up strokes, and a lot of time they are playing WAY too fast for me to even know what strumming patterns they are using or when they change chords over the vocals. Apparently I'm the only tone deaf guitar player wanna-be in the world... no one seems to have this problem but me it seems. I mean I've listened to the songs over and over again, I still don't get it, I don't get how you guys just say listen to the song and you know when to change chords and know how to strum the song. Am I listening to the songs wrong or should I get only instrumentals for the songs I want to play.... effing confusing when I try to listen to the song.
Last edited by hopelessguitar at Jan 28, 2008,
#7
some people just aint got rhythm!

my mate is pretty good on guitar, but he's just stiff. akward chord changes and no strumming pattern.

only advise i could give to try and learn to feel a beat is the get hold of guitar hero for your favourite console...

or take up dancing!
-Keep on listening to the great Joe Strummer. Cos through music, we can live forever.
#8
^ thats not much of an easy song

If i learnt it it'd be alot of fingerpikcing more than chords and they're not ridiculously simple chords anyway.

Pick another song, took me ages to get the strumming pattern for wonderwall, my first song, and even to this day its not 100%, but it definitely helped
#9
Quote by hopelessguitar
Seems like that is the advice I always get from everyone, just listen to the song. But I can't differentiate with all the distortions and backup instruments all playing at once, I can make out the guitar but I can't hear whether they are playing down strokes or up strokes, and a lot of time they are playing WAY too fast for me to even know what strumming patterns they are using or when they change chords over the vocals. Apparently I'm the only tone deaf guitar player wanna-be in the world... no one seems to have this problem but me it seems. I mean I've listened to the songs over and over again, I still don't get it, I don't get how you guys just say listen to the song and you know when to change chords and know how to strum the song. Am I listening to the songs wrong or should I get only instrumentals for the songs I want to play.... effing confusing when I try to listen to the song.


Well, for a start, you don't need that negative attitude. It's not going to get you anywhere. Focus on the positives. If you know some basic chords - take, for example, E, A and D. These are probably the first 3 chords most guitarists learn, and all 3 are commonly used in music.

Now, start a simple 1-2-3-4 count. Out loud or in your head, whichever's easiest. Each time you count to 4 like that, is called a bar.

Get in position to play the E chord. Stroke it down on 1, up on 2, down on 3, up on 4. This is the first bar. Do another bar of E chords, making sure you're strumming down once on the beat, then back up again on the second beat, down on the third beat, and up again on the fourth.

Now do 2 bars of A, 1 bar of D, back to 1 bar of A, then back to E.

Once you've learnt how to do this and keep in time with the beat, you'll have the basic infrastructure to learn songs properly. Take some easy songs - Always is quite long for a beginner, perhaps look at something shorter. I remember learning the intro to Green Day's Give Me Novacaine, my teacher told me it was an easy way to begin, and you just progress from there.
#10
Agreed. Powertab will probably help you out a ton. But I wouldn't recomend that Bon Jovi song man, have a go at "Wild Thing" by The Troggs. It's VERY easy.

It is literally like this:

A chord: strummed twice all downstrokes

e-0--0
b-2--2
G-2--2
D-2--2
A-0--0
E------


Now a D strummed twice the same way, downstrokes.

e-2-----2----
b-3-----3----
G-2-----2----
D-------------
A-------------
E--------------

Now an E, same way downstrokes.

e-------------
b-------------
G---1----1--
D---2----2--
A---2----2--
E-------------

And back to the D

e-2-----2----
b-3-----3----
G-2-----2----
D-------------
A-------------
E-------------

And there you have it the intro to Wild Thing. Once you master these few chord changes and strums you will be on your way to learning more complicated songs.
#11
3 months is a very short time, it's not like you're "underperforming" or anything so don't be disheartened.

If you're struggling to pick out chord changes listen for the bassline instead, it might not mirror the chords exactly but for a lot of songs the two will change at the same time so you can at least get an idea of when you're supposed to change chords.
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#12
Press down on the frets pretty hard, thats a mistake lots of people starting off make. At first, it will make line indentations on your hands. Start of slowly into very easy songs. Try Horse With No Name by America, simplest acoustic guitar song out there.
Here are some lessons.
http://www.guitarnoise.com/article.php?id=3
http://www.guitarnoise.com/easy.php
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#13
Quote by BillyBarrow
have a go at "Wild Thing" by The Troggs. It's VERY easy.


Good advice... it's what i'm starting with... there's a good video lesson for this song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXzWaNZ7ygE

Quote by hopelessguitar
...and please someone explain strumming patterns, I know there are alot of different strumming patterns...


It probably doesn't directly answer your question but you can learn a lot about various strumming patterns here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeLT1ru-Eyc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3qVxpDJvSY&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxBLwfgreJg
#14
I would try some simplier songs, play along with a program like Guitar Pro or invest in some training software like eMedia Guitar Method.
#15
Sorry I did come off with a bit of a negative attitude but these conventional method of "just listening to the song" doesn't work for me. It's frustrating because I was really hardcore for those 3 months, I was probably practicing about 3 hours a day just switching and strumming chords (no songs just chord switches, songs apparently are my kryptonite). Anyways the Bon Jovi song Always that I started on was a really watered down version of the actually song, quite beginner friendly, the tabs are actually on this site. Do you guys actually just know how to strum the song after just listening to it? Everyone was a beginner once how did you guys get better and know when to switch chords and how ot strum or change the strumming pattern in the songs you play?
#16
Sorry I did come off with a bit of a negative attitude but these conventional method of "just listening to the song" doesn't work for me. It's frustrating because I was really hardcore for those 3 months, I was probably practicing about 3 hours a day just switching and strumming chords (no songs just chord switches, songs apparently are my kryptonite). Anyways the Bon Jovi song Always that I started on was a really watered down version of the actually song, quite beginner friendly, the tabs are actually on this site. Do you guys actually just know how to strum the song after just listening to it? Everyone was a beginner once how did you guys get better and know when to switch chords and how ot strum or change the strumming pattern in the songs you play?


takes alot of time and practice man. dont get frustrated with your guitar it takes time i messed around with it and took like 4-5 months to learn chords and change shape perfectly it doesnt come overnight some people just know how to practice better than others and that why they get better.

to learn strumming rhytmn start with the very basics
just down down down
and then try just doing up up up
and then up and down and up and down

play the song for awhile this way and make when you know it in and out you be able to improve your rhytmn since your hands know the motion pretty good.

the first months playing usually are a little hard to pick up but once you do you do get better faster then you get to good and is hard as hell

try to play for the fun of it and not make it a job that you want to quit guitar.
learn some riffs mess around with other songs then come back to this one and maybe you will have improved a little that you can get it.

try to slow down your playing and analyze really carefully what you doing and that might help
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#17
What helped me learn songs much easier was PowerTab. It's free and has plenty of songs on this website. I haven't been playing too long but I think it has helped me tremendously. Later on if you have the money, try out Guitar Pro which has a few extra perks like: the ability to slow down music, repeat, etc.
#18
I had the same problem you had with trying to hear the strumming changes. I overcame it
by playing a song that just is down up strumming and listening to the drummer. I think listening to the drummer is the best way to learn ryhthm. I actually borrowed my friends drum set and learned how to play them and it helped my rhythm and timing tremendously by knowing what the drummer is doing. If you can't get a drum set download a simple drum beat and practice chord changes over the beat.
#19
Seems like you've got a lot of good advice... so its personal story time:

I was just like you when I started... for about 4-5 months, all I did was learn chords and how to switch between them... and I got to the point I could do that ok, but I still couldn't make music. My strumming was robotic... my chord changes were iffy at best. I tried going into just picking but got bored with it so quickly... I started to give up.

Then I just got determined... like you are doing right now. The best advice I can give you. Learn Bob Dylan's Knocking on Heavens Door. It's a three chord progression.

2 strums on G. 4 strums on D. 1 strum C, 3 strums C, 1 strum C.

Repeat.

That's the whole song. once you learn the actual chord changes... then just play that over and over until it gets fluid and sounds like music. Then move on to another 3 chord progression song. Mine was "Running Blind" by Godsmack (which also sounds good on acoustic). That is just E(minor), D7, C. Play that over and over until it starts to sound fluid.

You can use powertab to learn the rhythm to those songs.

Then, start making up your own little chord progressions... try A(minor), E, G, D... and play it in different ways that sound cool but fluid. Above all just keep playing and learning to strum so it sounds melodic, and change chords where it sounds good to you. Then you can start moving in on some other people's songs... because you will be able to strum to a rhythm and know when chord changes sound right. It was a process that took me nearly 6 months... because I struggled just like you did... but if you are determined, its well worth the effort. I now play in a few local bands as hte rhythm guitarist... you will learn... its all about patience.

-zC
#20
To find out strumming patterns I'd certainly recommend Guitar pro/ power tab/ etc. Also I'd try humming if it's possible. Lastly, I recommend simply listening to the song with guitar in hand and mute all the strings and without actually fingering the chords, just try to strum the the beat. Personally, it's one of my biggest problems as well but just face it with patience and confidence and with time and practice, you'll overcome it. Just don't give up
#21
I found that although I'm originally a drummer, so I have rhythm down pretty well, I had a lot of trouble strumming an acoustic guitar when I first started but luckily I got the best advice ever from my girlfriend's dad, "Just make sure to keep you right hand really loose when you strum". Without even fingering any chords or anything, just practice strumming up-down-up-down and try to keep your right had as loose as possible while you do it, eventually it'll just fall into place. Just keep practicing, and don't worry it gets MUCH less frustrating as you learn more and more.
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#22
simple song thats easy to hear is good riddance by green day
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#23
Quote by punk_metal2007
simple song thats easy to hear is good riddance by green day


This is actually not the easiest song in the world. The beginning if played correctly can be difficult for a beginner as it's not just strummed. Even the strumming in the second half of the song is not that easy if the beginnger does not have an understanding of how to hit just the bass notes on the first beat.
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#24
Quote by LESH89
This is actually not the easiest song in the world. The beginning if played correctly can be difficult for a beginner as it's not just strummed. Even the strumming in the second half of the song is not that easy if the beginnger does not have an understanding of how to hit just the bass notes on the first beat.


I agree I am a beginner and I can play the song if I don't try and do the bass notes but soon as I try playing it correctly with bass notes it falls apart. It takes me to long to locate which string to pluck. Although learning the strumming pattern is good because it seems to be used in a bunch of songs.