Published on

Lesson Two

  • avatar
    Maria Catalina Higuera

8 Note Strumming Patterns

Learn to strum like the guitarrists in your playlists!

8 Note Strumming patterns are based on a 4/4 time signature, and utilize the “on” as well as the “off” beat. Out loud, that sounds like “One and Two and Three and Four and” and so on. “On” beats are usually up strokes, and “off” beats are usually down strokes. Your first practicing pattern looks like this:


Once you’re comfortable with the upstrokes, and you’ve gotten the pattern down well, you can start adding color by omitting certain strokes:



8 Note Strumming – Tweaking and Emphasizing

Here are two tweaks that greatly enhance this existing strumming pattern:


  1. Omitting the down stroke on “3”.
  2. Placing emphasis on the “2”.

Practice these tweaks until they become second nature. These patterns are two of the most widely used patterns in western music, especially in western music styles.

Which Chords Do I Play?

Knowing which chords to play in a song can be quite daunting. Later when we get to music theory, we will explore why certain chords go together, but for now, the chart below will give you a cheat-sheet as to which chords to play in which key:


Knowing which chords to play in which key is very important, because that lets you know which chords will sound good together. Not all chords will sound good when combined into chord progressions - but when you play chord progressions with chords that belong in the same key, you start sounding like a professional!

The best way to familiarize yourself with this concept is to simply pick a key - let's say G - and just make up your own chord progressions. Using the numbers above the columns as your guide, try the following chord progression in C, D, and G:

1 - 4 - 5 - 1

1 - 2 - 5 - 1

1 - 6 - 4 - 1

Barre Chords & Transposing

Transposing – Playing the Same Chords in Different Keys

In music, the term “transpose” refers to playing a piece of music or song in a different key than the original. Let’s say we started a song in C, but found that it was too low for our liking, and wanted to play in D instead. On the guitar, transposition is very easy. Generally speaking, if you want to transpose a chord, you move it up or down the fret accordingly. Let’s take A minor and B minor for example:



A Bmin is really an Amin moved 2 frets (a whole tone) up the guitar neck. The F barre chord is really just an E chord, moved up one fret by means of barring the first fret. The A and E shaped barre chords are the most common

Guitars, unlike pianos, are unique in that a capo can be used to transpose a song to any key, without actually changing the chord shapes you use to play:



Each fret represents a semi-tone. So if you want to transpose 1 full key, you place the on the second fret, if you want to go 2 keys, place the capo 4 frets up, and so on.

Fingerpicking 1 – Introduction to Fingerstyle Guitar

Fingerstyle guitar is my personal favorite skill. It brings out the true beauty of the instrument, and creates a way to play both melody and chords at the same time, similar to what a pianist would do. For fingerstyle guitar, we use guitar tab to create patterns which then can be played over chords.

In fingerstyle guitar, we use a particular finger for each string of the guitar. We use the thumb for the thickest 3 strings, and the index, middle, and ring fingers for the other 3 strings. This is called the PIMAC system. On the fretting hand, your fingers, starting with your index finger, are numbered 1-4 respectively:



Here are some simple fingerstyle patterns to get you started: