Learn To Read Strumming Patterns

Here’s How You Read Strumming Patterns

Before you can jump in and learn a bunch of strumming patterns you first need to understand the different kind of note values and how they all work together. So let’s fire away!

We get different kinds of notes that last for different amounts of beats. Luckily they’re pretty easy to learn.

  • A whole note a.k.a 1/1 lasts for 4 beats or the whole bar in the 4/4 time signature.
  • A half note a.k.a 1/2 lasts for 2 beats and we can fit two of them into a bar.
  • A quarter note a.k.a 1/4 lasts for 1 beat and we can fit 4 of them into a bar.
  • An eight note a.k.a 1/8 lasts for 1/2 a beat and we can fit 8 of them into a bar. 2 for every beat.
  • A sixteenth note a.k.a 1/16 lasts for a 1/4 of a beat and we can fit 16 of them into a bar. 4 for every beat.

To Read Strumming Patterns You Need To Understand Note Values

Here’s a chart that outlines clearly how these different note values relate to each other.

Note Values

Strumming Patterns also contain Rests sometimes…

So that’s the rhythm side of things. It’s pretty helpful to know the names of the different parts of the notes as well as the rests. Rests indicate silence and they also have the same note values as the respective notes. We will look at some cool strum patterns using rests elsewhere on this site.

Here’s the quick rundown…

Notes basically contain the following. A note head, a stem and a flag. A whole note doesn’t have a stem or a flag.

Half Notes and Quarter Notes doesn’t have flags. When we have a grouping of eight notes or sixteenth notes the flags form a beam.

Here’s a chart that outlines the basics…

Note Values and Rests

Understanding how these notes work will help you learn acoustic guitar much faster. You will be able to see the rhythms and get your right hand strumming sorted in a flash and even learn songs a lot quicker!

Learning to read strum patterns is a very wise thing to do plus it’s super easy!


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