Jump to content

Why doesn't anyone care about strumming patterns?


SuperMonkey
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Members

Talking about cover songs and the like here. For those of us who aren't the best at doing stuff "by ear", you'd think that one of the things included on a list of chord run-down of a given song would be the strumming pattern, right? I've seen maybe two of these, not counting mass lists of songs. And even on video lessons, it's something that gets glossed over.

 

Now, I like to think that I'm at a point in my playing ability where I can work these sorts of things out for myself, but this question has just been bugging me. Why doesn't anyone give a shit how you strum the song?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I raise by another two and want to see.

 

Why is it, that all the guitarists that ask for/play after strumming patterns always sound like little wind-up-monkeys, playing mechanically and always just a hair behind the flow?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I don't want to see! :eek:

 

Interesting point made here. This is the one aspect of guitar playing that seems to have come without concentrated effort to me. I agree with Stack that playing along with recordings, or better yet with others, is the way forward.

 

I think I use many patterns, but all of them are variations on two basic motions: up-and-down and down-only. Although I guess the windmill is sometimes up-only...:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

First, identify the time signature and understand what that means.

Then tap your foot to the beat.

If you can do that, you can strum.

In other words, just strum when you tap your foot. As you gain knowledge and confidence your strumming will become more nuanced and complex.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I raise by another two and want to see.


Why is it, that all the guitarists that ask for/play after strumming patterns always sound like little wind-up-monkeys, playing mechanically and always just a hair behind the flow?

 

Probably not the most polite way of putting it, but I've had that experience many times with an advanced beginner in our church band. He's a nice guy so I don't want to offend but I do try to give him some insights beyond mechanics because he seems to get stuck on them.

 

My point is that at some point the muscles should learn the mechanics and your senses take over so that you can then focus on dynamics. It takes some years to progress to that point though. FWIW it took me a good long while.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Shit given by me, too.

 

Unfortunately, for many beginners it's very hard to just go with the flow (or beat/rhythm as the case may be). I was taught a few strumming patterns when I was a child, but was also taught to listen to the song on the radio/record player and adapt the pattern to the rhythms and dynamics that I was hearing. Otherwise, the patterns did indeed sound monkey-ish and mechanical.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I`ll take the two shit`s (eewww) and raise Three Mo` Fo`s.

 

 

I think it`s important to not just flail away and keep it simple in a band setting. If you are laying down rhythm for a fiddle, banjo or lead guitar you want to play those bass note`s and build the strumming around the bass line, but not step on the bass players toes. . Playing solo is a bit different.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I don't think about strum patterns. I learned to play by playing along with songs. You should be able to learn the strum patterns as you learn the chords and get the feel of the timing of the song. In other words, it should come naturally.

 

My advice is to play along with the music you are learning. It puts everything into better perspective.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Some songs come natural but for me usually ones with similar strumming to what I already know or use.

 

I found sometimes I'm just applying the same strumming patterns to different songs.

 

To avoid that on new songs I'd rather learn a new pattern when possible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Another shit given from this corner. I normally play fingerstyle, but there's plenty of times I want to belt out some tune that requires strumming and I flat out suck at it. I realize a big part of my problem is a lack of practice, but strumming is just another aspect of technique that's not necessarily something you "just pick up over time." It requires practice, at least by most of us, and practice means having a place to start from, i.e. patterns.

 

Quick story: I had a teacher once who spent a couple sessions teaching the strumming pattern to Brownskin Gal because it wasn't at all intuitive on how to give it the right feel. Once I learned it, it was simple - but I'd have never come up with it on my own.

 

So yeah, that's my two cents/shits on the issue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Well said gthom ...

 

Given the number of possible combinations coming up with the correct strumming (for me me anyway) on some tunes would be a little bit like hitting the lottery.

 

Sure I can come up with something close that sounds ok but I would rather rely on someone more talented than myself for that for now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

One more quick point - there's a reason why styles like flamenco focus on these types of patterns, because they matter. A huge part of how you sound comes from how, when and where you attack the strings...in fact, it's a much bigger part than what mass-produced guitar maker's name is on that headstock. Yet we guitarists spend maybe 10% of the time discussing technique compared to what we spend arguing name brands. Granted, I'm always happy to discuss my Gibson/Martin/Taylor or whatever preferences, but mostly because that's a hell of a lot easier than figuring out the real reason why I sound like crap: technique (or lack thereof).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Okay, I gotta go against the grain on this one. Till you practice enough just don't sweat strumming patterns. If you can't feel them out by hearing them yet then all seeing them presented to you is going to do is wreck your ability to keep time. The fact is learning that strumming pattern isn't that important to the song, and I know I will get flamed for saying that. The fact is when you are beginning to learn you are better off sacrificing the original sound of the song in order to make it easier for you to wrap your head around. Just focus on keeping the proper time with the songs for a while and the rest will start to come naturally over time.

 

No shits given here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

kujozilla, I haven't found that method works very well with my students or with students I've inherited from other teachers. Perhaps it has worked with yours. From what I've seen with students, the ability to play a strumming pattern is in direct correlation with their ability to play in proper time. It doesn't wreck the ability to keep time; it reinforces, supports and propels it.

 

The inability to play a song usually means one of two things for a beginning student: that more practice is needed, or that it is too difficult for the level of the player (and an easier song needs to replace it).

 

I still give a shit. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...