Strumming Lessons for Rhythm Guitar - Lesson 1

Many beginners know how to play basic chords,But what they really need to know is how to strum for songs.

David has shown us few 4/4 patterns.(check them out if you haven't seen them yet - Guitar Video Lessons)
While surfing the internet I came across some excellent guitar videos by Justin Sandercoe .I thought to share some selected videos of him showing how to play rhythm guitar.These basic lessons are a good foundation for aspiring rhythm guitarist.After few lessons I will discuss how to apply those techniques for Sinhala songs.

Transcript of this video lesson

Hi, how you doing? It's Justin here. Today we are going to start looking at a little bit more strumming. But only a little bit. Still very conscious of making sure that you get your chord changes fast enough to handle our strumming patterns. But I do want to introduce the next concept which is that of an “and”.
Now we previously mentioned that in a bar we have four beats. So we would regularly
be counting one, two, three and four. And we also noted that these four are all down strums. So we are always playing, if I just pick a G chord, one . . . two . . . three . . . four . . . And you are just doing a down strum on every beat . . . The one, two and the three and the four are referred to as the beat. Well, any one of them is the beat. Playing on the beat. Putting a down strum on the beat. Lots of ways of saying that.
Now if you just watch my strumming hand again, as I am doing this I am going . . .
one . . . two . . . three . . . four . . . And you will notice that in between every one of those down strums is an up strum. And this is the big secret for rhythm guitar. If you can say that it is a secret. You have to keep your hand moving evenly all of the time. So if we want to add something in between those beats this is where we introduce a thing called the “and”. So normal counting music you would have like one and two and three and four and. The and's being exactly half way through between the numbers or the beats. Now as our hand is moving down on the beat every time that means that your hand will be moving up in between every beat. So what we are going to introduce now is adding one up strum to our regular beat.
We are not going really fast but that is because I want you to go really well not really fast. And I want you to spend a bit of time making sure you have got this rhythm really solid. So I'll pick the E chord just because it is a bit easier to hold down than the G chord just in case any of you are struggling with that. You can play along with this if you like. In fact that would be quite a good idea.
I am going to give you a three, four count in and what we are going to do is we are
going to put an “and” after three. So I am going to be counting one, two, three and
four. One, two, three and four. And you will notice that the one, two, three, four are still really even and it is just that “and” which his exactly half way in between and that is where your upstroke is going to be. So you are going to essentially be doing down, down, down, up, down. One, two, three and four. And you are going to make it really nice and even.
So let's have a go at doing that together now and then we are going to stick it to the metronome and make sure you can do it correctly to the metronome. Here we go,
counting you in. Three, four . . . Down . . . Down, up, down . . . One . . . Two . . . Three and four. Keep going. One . . . Two . . . Three and four . . . Really try and get this evenness happening . . . Three and four . . . Down . . . Down . . . Down, up, down. And it just continues. It's really even. Your hand doesn't stop moving. Now I have just thought of something. A very common question that beginners have when they start doing this up strum is “my up strum is sounding funny. What strings am I supposed to be strumming with the up strum?”. Well you can strum all of the strings with the up strum but it is more normal to just strum the thinnest three or four strings. You don't have to strum all of the strings. It is kind of up to you, but that would be a, if you like, a normal amount of strings to strum on an up strum. What we are really going for here is noticing that my hand is moving continuously all the time. So we are going to do it again now. We are going to get the metronome out and we are on sixty already, so here is 60bpm (beats per minute). Really nice and even. So if we were counting along with this it would be a quite simple down, down, down, up, down. One, two, three and four. One, two, three and four. Noticing, of course that the one, two, three, four are still exactly on the beat with the metronome and the “and” is just in between.
This is the key here. So our down strum is always going to be with the beat. It is always going to be with the metronome. And the up strum, the “and”, is going to fall in between the metronome clicks. So I am going to stick the metronome on. I am going to play a bit. I want you to play along with me at 60bpm and then sometimes I am going to stop and I am just going to move my hand for you at the screen and I want you to follow along and keep playing without me having to play.
So here we go, there's the beat. Here we go. So we are doing E chord. Three, four . . . One . . . Two . . . Three and four . . . One . . . Two . . . Three and four . . . That's down . . . Down . . . Down, up, down . . . Down . . . Down . . . Down, up, down . . . On your own. Down, down, down, up, down. Down, down, down, up, down. That's one, two,
three and four. One, two, three and four. Keep going. One . . . Two . . . Three and four . . . One . . . Two . . . Three and four . . . One . . . Two . . . Three and four.
Now this is what you need to be doing now to practice. Just putting the metronome on.That was 60bpm. If you feel really cool with 60bpm maybe move it up to 80bpm.
If you're really cool with that maybe even a 100bpm or 120bpm. The idea here is to make sure that you can consistently strum down with the click and adding that up strum after three. It is really, really important that you work on doing that. Also not forgetting that you should be able to tap your foot with the metronome and the down strum. So you
have got a few things to think about there. Foot, tapping. Down strumming. Metronome clicking and then occasionally doing an up strum in between all of that. A little bit challenging but definitely possible.
So that is the next stage on your strumming development. At some point you might
want to check out my Really Useful Strumming Techniques DVD which covers this
pattern and a whole bunch of other patterns some of which we are going to cover on
this course. It is a lot more thorough on that DVD being that it only deals with rhythm guitar, that's all.
Now you don't have to. You can explore this yourself and try putting that up strum in all different places as you see fit because it is a little bit about experimentation and making sure that you keep your hand moving. If you do really get into strumming or if you find that you are particularly struggling with it you might find that DVD helpful too.
So enjoy this little bit of new found rhythm groove. Remember we are not applying it to songs yet. We are just working on it, trying to get the rhythm right. We are going to be applying it to songs soon but I need to teach you another little trick yet called Forcing The Changes. Stick with this one, work on that rhythm and getting that nice and solid and I will see you for another lesson soon. Take care. Bye, bye.