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Request for help with strumming

I received an e-mail request for help today:


On your website It doesn’t show how the chord should be played. Can you please tell me how I find out The Way in which the chord should be played example If I played the G chord should I play it Down Up Up Down or Up Down Down Up?

My response is below:


I'm afraid there's no single way that any chord should be strummed - it depends on the song and on the player's interpretation of the song. This is the main reason I don't put strumming patterns on the songs on the site.
The best advice I always give to anyone learning a new song is to learn the song in three stages. Firstly learn to play the song with just down strums, so that you get familiar with the song structure, chord changes, etc. Then, while listening to the original song, mute the guitar strings with your left hand, and practice strumming along to the song with your right. This will allow you to concentrate on the strumming patterns, without having to think about chord changes, picking out nifty runs etc.
When you've mastered these, the third stage is joining the two parts together, you should find the strumming just comes naturally now.
Enjoy your music,

If you haven't already, you really should check out the most complete and comprehensive guitar course I've ever seen online, at GuitarSecrets. Don't forget to sign up for the free 6-part mini-course!

P.J. Murphy
webmaster, PJ's Guitar Chords & Lyrics
Guitar Chords Blog: http://www.guitar-chords.blogspot.com
Guitar Tips Blog: http://www.guitar-tips.blogspot.com