You don’t have to be the world’s greatest strummer to make great sounding music. In fact, if you can play a simple strumming pattern solid and in time it will make you sound like a real pro. In this lesson on strumming we are going to take a look at a simple exercise that will help you develop your overall sense of timing.
If you have a metronome, set it to 100 bpm. If you don’t have a metronome you can simply put on one of your favorite tunes; most songs are recorded with metronomes nowadays so it’s pretty safe. Now, choose any chord you like and strum straight quarter notes to the beat. Remember to alternate down and upstrokes. Play the quarter note strumming pattern for four bars or so. Once you have strummed several bars of quarter notes, switch to eighth notes for four more bars. Move on to eighth note triplet strumming for the next four bars. Kick it up one more notch by playing sixteenth note strumming for four more bars. Work your way back down all the way from sixteenth notes, to eighth note triplets, to eighth notes, and finally back to quarter notes.
I actually stole this exercise from a drummer friend of mine and let me tell you, this is a great way to help you develop your strumming and overall sense of time. This exercise really doesn’t take long to do and it is very effective. The first time you try this exercise you will probably immediately notice how good, or not so good, your timing really is. Don’t be discouraged if you timing isn’t so great at first. A little consistent practice with this exercise works wonders.
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