Guitar/The four quarters strumming patterns

Introducing stroke patterns


You'll learn a handful of strumming patterns here in the Campfire Diploma. Play these exactly as they are written. Later in the folk diploma you will learn how to vary the rhythms a little. But first, a secure rhythm is the most important thing besides the chords.

The 4/4-Strumming Pattern



The easiest strumming pattern is four downstrokes. Most of the songs you find in standard songbooks are written in 4/4 time. Therefore, “counting to 4” must become second nature through constant practice.

Emphasize the 1

It is important to develop a feeling for where the beginning of a measure - i.e. the "1" - is. You can hit the "1" a little louder than the other beats, or you can count it a little louder. The "1" often goes hand in hand with the beginning of a sentence, but unfortunately not always. Listen to the music examples and try to hear the "1" in a bar. Maybe pay attention to the drums in the background. Even if you can't read music yet, the bar lines on a staff can be helpful. Chord changes usually occur on the "1".

Many things come together when learning rhythm. Counting - consciously paying attention to the beat of music - practically executing a beat pattern - using the bar lines as a guide to the notes - the beat pattern images - everything works together. All the elements help make your first steps easier so you get a feel for the rhythm.

Strumming is not just a matter of the head, but hearing and the movement of your body (here more specifically: the strumming pattern you perform) are part of it. It's best to practice the strumming patterns with songs that you listen to at the same time. If you have a Midi file, MP3 or video download for the piece, you can use some programs (VanBasco, VLC, BestPractice, Music Speed ​​Changer app, etc.) to slow down the tempo so that you no longer have any difficulties. to play along.


Although the arrows are drawn the other way around in some books, in this graphic "top" and "bottom" are not swapped! Like the chord diagrams, the strings are always shown from the player's perspective; the way he looks at the strings from above. You've already seen it with the chord pictures, and when you learn the tablature later, you'll see that "upside down" is the general standard.

For each number, strike with the fingernails of your right hand (2-3 fingers or - if you want to be a little quieter - just the index finger) from top to bottom. Your fingernails are parallel to the strings. It doesn't hurt if the fingernails protrude half a millimeter or a little more. You use the same natural motion as if you were trying to remove a few cake crumbs from your pant leg.

Your thumb and index finger can touch each other a little, but they should remain mobile (almost as if you had a ball of plasticine or something similar between your fingers).


Alternatively, you can use a soft pick to start with. However, I would only recommend it if you have problems with your fingernails. You can get a better feel for the instrument with your fingers. Use picks more for playing loudly. Later it's purely a matter of taste whether you play with or without a pick. However, you should be able to do both.

The blows are delivered evenly, like the ticking of a clock. This movement is completely independent of the melody you are currently singing. You don't start to walk faster or slower when you talk to someone on a walk and sometimes speak faster and sometimes slower.

From the elbow


With the simple strokes, which are played at a moderate tempo as here, the movement does not come from a rotation of the forearm, at least at the beginning. The punch doesn't initially come from the wrist either (although both are possible). Later, when you play individual quick melodic sequences with a plectrum (small plastic plate), the movement by rotating your forearm or plucking with your wrist makes sense. This allows you to play very quickly but also very messily. Now for the first few chords it's important to have a clean, even beat. Therefore, the movement for the punch comes from the elbow joint. So the upper arm muscle has a lot to do. Although it is not possible to make extremely fast strokes with this movement, the strokes are much more consistent and that is what matters now.

It is entirely possible that different guitar teachers will have different opinions. They've probably forgotten that they started with smaller steps decades ago. But don't worry. Learning an additional, faster stroke style will not cause any significant problems afterwards, once you have a secure rhythm.

The strokes of an experienced guitar player does not come solely from the wrist, as in plucking and fingerstyle, nor solely from a rotation of the forearm, as when playing alternate strokes with a plectrum, nor solely from the upper arm taught here, as with a simple strum pattern, but rather it is a combination from all three movements. Trust that with more routine and fluency your strokes will become more fluid, subtle and relaxed, and don't expect yourself to be able to play like a pro in the first lesson.

Der 4/4 Schlag


The strumming pattern sounds even better when played slightly offset. You try to hit the top three bass strings on the "1" and "3" and the bottom three melody or treble strings on the "2" and "4". (If you hit four strings instead of three, it won't bother anyone. The consistent up and down movement is much more important here.) Don't stop somewhere in the middle of the strings, but move your arm evenly up and down. Feel free to reach out a little further so that your arm moves up and down almost as far as the width of the guitar.

As I said, this applies to the very first few hours until the rhythm is established. When you later play individual strings (like a bass line), your strike will naturally become more subtle.


Don't be surprised if the distinction between bass and melody strings is not made when specifying different strum patterns. This is mostly due to the limited capabilities of the used software .


For the D major chord, release the E string


There is one small thing to note about the D major chord, the first chord you will learn here. The top, thick E string must not resonate. You can recognize this by the (X) in the chord diagram. The reason: The note "E" does not fit the D major chord. We don't need to be interested in what the other notes are called at the moment.

We just note that the top thick E string doesn't fit the D major chord. To do this, we strike the next two or the next three strings (as I said above, it doesn't really matter...) [1]

We always strike "above", "below", "above", "below" . 1,2,3,4.

Forming the D chord
Campfire Diploma  
Chord changes from D to A
4/4 strumming patterns

  1. Contrary to some false claims, it is not forbidden to play the 2nd string from the top of the D major chord . The note A (which is the second string from the top) is part of the D major chord. It may be that some pieces sound better if you have the bass note D (the third string from the top) as the lowest note and avoid the A string, but it is generally not wrong if the A (accidentally or intentionally) but sounds along. And with the simple song accompaniment in the key of D major, almost no listener notices that the note A is in the bass and not, as is usually the case with plucking patterns, the note D. In the Folkdiplom we get into a lot with the plucking patterns pay more attention to the bass tones and then you will automatically get a better feel for the bass tone. Piano players know a D major chord with an A in the bass as a reversal of the basic position. In the key of G major (which we learn from the 3rd lesson onwards), such a reversal doesn't bother us at all. In plucking patterns with an alternating bass, the bass note D is usually struck first. But the lower bass note A is often played as an alternating bass the second time. Avoiding A as the bass note in the D major chord is a completely unnecessary difficulty for complete beginners and ultimately a hindrance to practicing the touches.