I'm having trouble
with my strumming. Although I can play most basic chords...
I follow a lead sheet and
strum the chords indicated, but it doesn't quite the way they play
it on the CD...
A songbook I
have only indicates chords, not any picking or strumming pattern
or how to play a song...
problems with my strumming patterns for different songs. I'm
pretty much stuck...
received guitar music from my youth director...
I'm having trouble
with my strumming. Although I can play most basic chords and some barre chords,
all my strums sound the same. Can you help??
There are many ways you
can make your strumming more interesting:
1. By creating or
learning a variety of strumming patterns that consist of various rhythms.
2. By appropriately using articulations
(accents, staccato, tenuto, etc.) and adding more contrast
3. By incorporating
several techniques such as muting, hammering-on, pulling-off, etc. into your
4. By learning and
playing alternative chord forms instead of just the same old basic open
These are some of many
things you can do to bring your strumming to the next level. Also, pick a song
or two you really like that use strumming, and try to emulate it. It not
only helps you to learn various strumming patterns, but also allows you to get the "feeling."
I follow a lead sheet and strum the chords
it doesn't quite sound the way they play it on the CD. What
am I doing wrong?
It's a little hard to give precise advice without knowing exactly what
kind of lead sheet or tablature you are following. However, the discrepancy may arise either
1. The chords you are following may be incorrectly written, or
2. The chords are correctly indicated, but the fingerings--or chord
voicings--may be different from the originals.
In either case, you may need to listen to the recording very carefully and
figure out exactly what chords and forms they are playing. As shown in More
Guitar Chords and Accompaniment and Jazz
Guitar Chords and Accompaniment, there is more than one way to play a
chord. Even if it says Cm, one needs to be aware that many other ways to play
the same chord exist and one voicing sometimes can sound very different from
another. After you know what chord voicing is being played, check out your accompaniment against
the recording and you may notice that the actual rhythms may be different from what's
written on the lead sheet.
A songbook I have only indicates
chords, not any picking or strumming pattern or how to play a song. I researched
on the Internet and asked some website owners, who just told me to listen to the CD
carefully. I tried, but I still can't figure it out. I'm thinking maybe I first
need to get the basic techniques down and learn how to create the patterns and
Many lead sheets and songbooks do not provide accompaniment
patterns or specific performance instructions. So, it's often up to the player
to figure out how to accompany a song, based on the musical style and some other
info specified on the lead sheet.
What you've started realizing is very important and is often taken lightly by many
beginners. Yes, as the people you've contacted have advised you, listening to an actual
song or recording is very helpful in learning how to play the song or
accompaniment. However, it takes long hours, patience and a lot of practice
before you'll be able to listen to a performance and copy it accurately.
As you've already figured out yourself, you can greatly minimize
your effort and most efficiently use your time by first learning the fundamentals, such as
common and basic accompaniment patterns and skills along with various forms of
guitar chords. Once you have the basics under your belt, it's MUCH easier to
emulate whatever songs or performance you'd like to play on your guitar. It also
opens a lot of doors and adds much fun to your overall guitar learning. Check
out Guitar Chords and Accompaniment, which
progressively teaches you the basic concepts and techniques.
having problems with my strumming patterns for different songs. I'm
pretty much stuck on the same pattern and can't change. Can you
please help me? Thanks, Steve.
If you feel you
are stuck with a limited number of strumming patterns, it sounds
like it’s time to explore different patterns and styles! You can
pick some CDs or music that you are currently interested in, and
then start imitating the patterns that you like. This'll take time
and patience, and it may be difficult without learning some basics
at first. An alternative to this approach is to get a book that
lists a collection of strumming patterns. Instead of learning all
the patterns, you can pick one or two at a time, and gradually
increase your repertoire over time. Combining both
listening to music and learning from an instruction book will
further accelerate your learning.
recently received guitar music from my youth director. I was
wondering if you could tell me how I can figure out the strumming
pattern for the music. The notes are listed above all the regular
music, but I have no idea on the strumming pattern.
accompaniment style or strumming patterns you apply really depends
on many factors, including the song’s:
1. Musical style
5. Number of
other accompaniment instruments in the band
The best thing
you can do is to talk frankly with your music director or
conductor and tell him/her that you’re having trouble figuring
out the guitar part and would like to know exactly what kind of
guitar accompaniment he/she is looking for. Based on his/her
response and advice, review the lead sheet one more time and
experiment with various accompaniment patterns. Through
trial-and-error, you should be able to come up with something that
is compatible with the song arrangement and the director’s
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