i am new to guitar and i'm trying to learn some acoustic songs. however, i am having an *extremely* hard time picking out the strumming pattern by listening to a song. do any of you have ANY tips to offer on how to get better at this? i feel like my learning is going absolutely nowhere.

like, for example...i'm wanting to learn "when you're gone" by hanson. i cannot figure out the pattern and match it to a 1&2&3&4& rhythm. once i have the pattern written out in that form, i can play it fine...i just can't get there!!

any help would be greatly appreciated.

just listen to the music and play with it.

tabs have wrong strumming patterns 99% of the time, so you just have to play it out.
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I have a hard time with strumming patterns sometimes too. but most of the time, I just kind of make it up. haha If it sounds like I know what im doing and it doesnt sound bad, then I just stick with it.
Its almost like cheating, i guess, but it gets the job done!
go with what sounds the best. Do your own thing. there is no need to copy it exactly if other people like it and know what your playing.
This is a really big generalisation and certainly doesn't work for all songs but try this...

Find the beat of the song (tempo) and tap it, 1 2 3 4 with your foot or in your head, whatever you find easiest. Do it whilst listening to the guitar in the song, and then when you hear a strum that falls on the beat do a down strum, if one falls in between then do an up-strum.
So say you're listening along and you hear a strum on 1 2 3 & 4 try strumming down, down, down, up, down. It sounds ok more often than you'd expect. It will also get your ear listening to the guitar rather than the whole ensemble and you'll start to pick out the changes in tone over time and hear whether the guitarist is trying things a bit differently.
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Why do we feel it's necessary to yak about bullsh*t in order to be comfortable?

That's when you know you found somebody special. When you can just shut the f*ck up for a minute, and comfortably share silence.

I usually start with getting the switchs timed out, then work on the pattern. Play it a few times over just switching the chords in time. After that just make it up. I find chord changes to be the my biggerst problem learning a song. If you get these down the song will sound relativly proper no matter how bad you butcher the pattern.