It's always good to learn new guitar strum patterns to spice up your rhythm guitar playing. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to find new ideas. This article shows you an easy way to create 625 four beat rhythm patterns so you'll never be short of an idea again.
You can create all these patterns with a simple tool that fits in your guitar bag or pocket, and the best thing is it costs nothing. You can make it yourself in just five minutes by following the instructions in this article.
Are you ready for some rhythms? Read on and you will learn how to make the set of rhythm cards that will give you 625 strum patterns to play.
Start with a sheet of blank paper, A4 or Letter size is ideal. You create four columns on the sheet by folding it in half vertically two times.
Next, open the sheet out again and draw five equally spaced rows using a ruler and pencil. If you have Letter size paper your rows will be 2.2 inches (approx. 55 mm) wide. For A4 paper, you need to mark 59 mm wide rows. The horizontal lines and vertical folds now give you a sheet with twenty rectangles marked on it.
The next stage is to add a strum to each of the rectangles which represent one beat in the music. You are going to add a symbol to show the strum pattern to play on that beat.
You can use music notation for notes and rests if you know it. You'll need quarter notes (one beat), eighth notes (half a beat) and their corresponding rests. If you do not know the musical notation you can just use the simple letters described below instead.
1. In each rectangle of the top row , put a capital letter "D" (without the quotes). This is a quarter note (one beat) strummed down.
2. In the next row put the letters "du" – these are two eighth notes (half a beat each), strum down then up.
3. Fill the next row with four " dx" – an eighth note strum followed by eighth note rest, strum down and then mute the strings.
4. Fill the next row with four " xu" – an eighth note rest followed by an eighth note strum, mute the strings for half a beat and then strum up.
5. Finally, fill the last row with four capital letter "X" – a quarter note rest, play nothing for one beat. You can choose to let the previous note ring on or stop it by muting the strings.
You now have five rows filled in, each with one of the strum symbols above repeated four times. Now you can cut out the rectangles to make twenty cards you will use to create rhythm patterns to play.
Time to play
To create a four beat (one bar) rhythm pattern shuffle the cards and pick four randomly. Place the cards side by side and you have a rhythm pattern to strum.
For example, you might pick the following four symbols: D, du, X, d x. So you strum down, down up, rest, down rest.
Pick up your guitar and play the pattern using a chord progression or song you know. When you get bored with it, put your cards back in a pile, shuffle them and pick four again to create a new pattern.
These cards with their five symbols allow you to make up 625 four beat patterns. That should give you enough rhythm ideas to work with for a while.
Even more rhythms
You can create even more patterns by swapping down strums or up strums. You can also create two or four bar patterns by picking eight or sixteen cards, respectively. You can also create variations by using swing feeling or adding more cards with triplets or sixteenth notes if you wish. The possibilities are endless …