Guitar Strumming and Chord Progressions


Below are some basic strumming patterns that may work with a lot of different songs.

Further down are some basic chord progressions.

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Basic Strumming Patterns

These samples are done with Open E, A, and D chords but should be substituted with the correct chords for the song you are playing. Additionally, you will need to experiment with the tempo to make it sound right. The point is unless you can figure out the real pattern for the song one of these may work with minor changes in Speed/Tempo or Emphasis.

  1. First practice repeating the pattern over and over with one chord.
  2. Next practice them by changing the chord at the end of each pattern.
  3. After you are comfortable with that try changing the chords in the middle of the pattern without stopping the pattern since you will find many songs that play the same pattern over and over but change chords on word changes.
  4. If you are having trouble with the Up strums try just catching the bottom 3 strings. This works since the top 3 are normally still ringing after the down strum.
  1. "/" in the pattern indicates a slight pause or skip a strum. Just keeping your hand moving and missing the strum should be enough.
  2. "D" or "U" in a pattern indicates to emphasize the strum. You can emphasize any strum in many ways. My favorites are either strumming harder or lifting fingers slightly after the strum and placing them back down quickly.
Pattern       Possible songs Sample MP3
  • Simple practice pattern
Click to Play
  • Knocking on Heaven's door
  • Sweet Child of mine
  • Nowhere Man
Click to Play
  • Leaving on a jet plane
  • Stand by me
  • Love me do
Click to Play
Emphasize the first
down strum
  • Every Rose has it's thorn
  • Hey Jude (Play slow)
Click to Play
  • Just might fit something
Click to Play
  • Just might fit something else
Click to Play
Stop the first up strum with palm on the way back down
  • Maybe a funky rock tune
Click to Play

Basic Chord Progressions

These are some popular rock chord progressions taken from some classic rock tunes that are worth practicing
  1. Pick a strumming pattern you are comfortable with and practice them
  2. Start from the top of the list and work down
  3. Vary sequence of chords in each for versatility
Em D A
D A Em G
Em Am D C
C Am Em G
G Em C D
C Am F G
Am C D F Em
A E6 D
G D Am E7
C G F#m

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