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As you can tell, I'm relatively new to this fun stuff.  I am at a point where I can handle the chords I need in order to play the songs I want.  BUT, my major problem is picking out a strum pattern for a song.  I can get the beat of the music, but all the songs I play have the same "sound" because I wind up with the same strum pattern.  What do you experienced players listen for when you hear a song so that you get the right/good strum pattern?  HELP!!  Keeping It Fun, Dean

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I'm thinking there are probably more patterns than there are players. try just downward strokes then just upward strokes then alternate down up down up  see what you like. then try down down up etc. most l importantly relax your hands. there are strum patterns that go with certain songs, and of course with certain styles of music. good luck and most important good practice.
You can also look for books that have strum patterns included into the music Dean and its good to see you are still at it. As for patterns well its already been played by them that way so I try to bring a new pattern or include something to make it different Dean.ship
Ok..... It sounds like there really is no hard and fast "rule" for it. Just listen to the song and "feel" what is going on. Thanks. Ps: Ship, I had the opportunity to visit Vancouver a few weeks ago. Although for just a short time on my way thru to the airport, I found it to be a lovely city. Keeping It Fun, Dean
I wish I could tell you, but honestly, I just seem to have a knack for strumming.  I can't finger-pick at all ... the entire process mystifies me, but strumming just comes ntaurally.  It's very curious, because I don't have a lot of natural rhythm.  I cannot dance at all, and I tried to play drums as a youngster and was a miserable failure.  My son has the same problem you describe and when he asks me for advice, I'm helpless to give it to him.  I don't know how to do it, I just do it.
My "coach" has the same situation.  He got me started on this git thing about 2 years ago.  He's been playing for over 45 years and is QUITE good.  He used to play in bands as a younger person but does a solo thing up here in northern WI now.  BUT, he can't really tell me what to listen for or feel when trying to figure out a strum pattern for a song.  He always says you just have to FEEL it.  BTW, he can't dance, either.  Thanks for the Reply,  Keeping It Fun, Dean

A lot of it depends on the type of music you're listening to. Each genre has its own style. I think playing any rhythm is a lost art that often gets overlooked. I listen to a lot of the progressive rock from the 70's. I've heard some people do fantastic things with simple strums and others that...well, there were times when I wanted to lean over and say "...why don't you put down your guitar for a while" There's a right and wrong way to approach it.

For me, the master of acoustic rhythm guitar is Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. I take A LOT of cues from his playing:


Often a very simple straightforward strum can carry a whole arrangement:



I agree with the notion that a strum pattern can easily carry the whole arrangement.  A great example in my opinion is the syncopated rhythm in "Tequila Sunrise" by The Eagles.  For me, this is a really great song that is extremely hard to strum and sing effectively and I'm a pretty good natural strummer.

It's funny.......I can get the pattern pretty well for that one.  It's very distinct.  It's the more subtle patterns I have a problem with.  The only saving grace is that I only play alone and can play it any way I want!  Keeping It Fun, Dean.


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