Strumming & Picking Patterns

Strumming patterns and finger picking patterns are fundamental in keeping time and tempo with the rhythm of a song. Good guitarists first learn rhythm before branching out to learning lead guitar techniques such as soloing and riffs which serve as filler notes within a songs basic rhythm.

Strumming & Picking Patterns
7
Strumming the strings of a guitar requires timing and picking to create the appropriate rhythm for a given song and should be learned by all guitarists, below are some patterns to practice.

Strum Patterns are (D=down & U=up) strokes with a guitar pick, thumb or finger brushed against the strings within the pressed chord(s) of a song.

Pattern & Tempo

#1 4/4 - DUDU DUDU
#2 4/4 – D DU DUDU
#3 4/4 – D DU D DU
#4 4/4 – D DU D D
#5 4/4 – D D DUDU
#6 4/4 – D DU/UUDU

#7 3/4 – D DU D
#8 3/4 – D D D
#9 3/4 – D DU DU

#10 2/4 – D DU

Finger Picking Patterns - T=thumb with ^ for thumb strum down of lower strings, fingers pick upward with i=index finger, m=middle finger & r=ring finger. 

Right or left hand finger pickers play strings as indicated in the tab shown with the Low(bass)e string on the bottom of the tab. (Generally, the thumb plucks the e, B & G bass strings, the index finger picks the D string, the middle finger picks the A string and the ring finger picks the high E string which are tremolo strings.)

Pattern & Tempo

#1 4/4
E------------r----------------------r---------
A------------m--------^-------------m---------
D----^-------^--------^------i------^---------
G----^-------^--------^-------------^---------
B----^-------^--------^-------------^---------
e----T-------T--------T-------------T---------
#2 4/4
E------------------r-------------------r------
A--------------m---^----------------m--^------
D----------i---^---^------------i---^--^------
G----------^---^---^------------^---^--^------
B----------^---^---^------------^---^--^------
e-------T--T---T---T--------T---T---T--T------
#3 4/4
E---------------------r-----------------r-----
A---------------------m-----------------m-----
D---------------i-----^-------------i---^-----
G----^----------^-----^------^------^---^-----
B----^----------^-----^------^------^---^-----
e----T----------T-----T------T------T---T-----
#4 4/4
E-----------------------r-------------------r--
A-----------------------^---------------m---^--
D-----------------i-----^-----------i---^---^--
G---------^-------^-----^------^----^---^---^--
B---------^-------^-----^------^----^---^---^--
e---------T-------T-----T------T----T---T---T--
#5 4/4
E-----------------r--------------------r-------
A-----------------m--------------------m-------
D--------------i--^----i---------i-----^---i---
G--------------^--^----^---------^-----^---^---
B--------------^--^----^---------^-----^---^---
e---------T----T--T----T----T----T-----T---T---
#6 4/4
E--------------r--------------------r----------
A--------------m-----------^--------m----------
D---------i----^-----------^----i---^----------
G-----^---^----^-----------^--------^----------
B-----^---^----^-----------^--------^----------
e-----T---T----T-----------T--------T----------
#7 3/4
E--------------------r-------------------------
A--------------------m------^------------------
D------^------i------^------^------i-----------
G------^------^------^------^------------------
B------^------^------^------^------------------
e------T------T------T------T------------------
#8 3/4
E---------------------------r------------------
A---------------------------m------------------
D---------^--------i--------^------------------
G---------^--------^--------^------------------
B---------^--------^--------^------------------
e---------T--------T--------T------------------
#9 3/4
E------------------r---------------------------
A---^---------m----------m---------------------
D---^-----i---^----^-----^-----i---------------
G---^---------^----^-----^-----^---------------
B---^---------^----^-----^-----^---------------
e---T---------T----T-----T-----T---------------
#10 2/4
E---------------------r------------------------
A---------------------^------------------------
D--------------i------^------------------------
G-------^------^------^------------------------
B-------^------^------^------------------------
e-------T------T------T------------------------

10 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    skip332
    Wrong explanation thumb plucks E, A and D strings fingers pluck e, B and G.
    PTAD
    Definitely useful and can't wait to get home to try these out. Thanks.
    Dummynix
    Keen to try out these finger picking patterns. Do you think you could also give examples for songs that would match these picking patterns?