Lesson: Righteous Rhythm – Make Your Songs Noticed with Your Strumming by Nikki O’Neill

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Photo by Deb Morrison-Littell/Shots by Morrison
       

As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 18 – Winter 2021
Women in Business in the Music Industry

You can make a song memorable by singing melodies or playing riffs with cool note choices, but a captivating rhythm can be just as powerful, especially when you start off your song that way. Since we musicians often can become creatures of habit, using the same strums over and over, here are some great strum patterns to shake things up.

Strum Directions: d=down  u=up

Eighth Notes

Each 8th note is half of a beat.

Two eighth notes equal one beat, and you read them as “one-and.” In this case, the two eighth notes will be tied together with one beam.

Note: Notes that are marked with this sign > above them are accented. This means that you play them louder than the unaccented notes.

Two notes with a bowed line in between them (a tie) mean that the first note is sustained — you don’t hit the second note. One thing you can try with these strum patterns is to change chords on the tied note. This will create a cool, off-the-beat, feel.

Note: the notes marked with an x are muted notes. The muting can either be done with the left hand (still touching the string, but not pressing it against the fretboard), the right hand (placing your hand on the strings so they stop vibrating), or a combination of both.

 Strum Examples with Eighth Notes

Since we musicians often can become creatures of habit, watch the videos for this lesson below:

Example 1:

Example 2:

Example 3:

Example 4:

Example 5:

Example 6:

 

Sixteenth Notes

 Each 16th note is a quarter of a beat.

 

 

= 16th note rest (moment of silence)

Four sixteenth notes equal one beat, and you read them as “one-e-and-a.” In this case, the four sixteenth notes will be tied together with two beams.

Note: the notes marked with an x are muted notes. The muting can either be done with the left hand (still touching the string, but not pressing it against the fretboard), the right hand (placing your hand on the strings so they stop vibrating), or a combination of both.

 

 Strum Examples with Sixteenth Notes 

Funk rhythm

“New Perspective (Live)”
Panic! at the Disco

 

Punk rhythm