Five essential guitar strums

with Kara

Kara Barnard and Jamie Anderson. Photo by Janice Rickert.

The question I get asked most by guitar students is “How do I know what strum to choose?” I could tell you I’m freakin’ brilliant and charge you $100 for a lesson. Or I could simply tell you that most songs* are either in 4/4 or 3/4 so you only need to know five strums, whether you’re playing guitar, ukulele, or a similar instrument.

Here are those five strums in a video tutorial. Because I’m that awesome.

Full tab for the songs I mention in the video:

Blowing in the Wind (DDUDDU)

Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms (BDBD)

House of the Rising Sun (DDDU)

Piano Man (DDUDU)

Good Riddance (DDUUDU) – I don’t mention this in the video but it’s a great song for this strum.

guitar teacher

Want lessons? I teach via Skype and in my studio in Ottawa, Canada. Contact me here.

More about my lessons here.

Happy strumming y’all.



*I’m talking about American/European songs such as pop, rock, folk, country, blues, etc. I know little about music of other cultures except that some of it is in time signatures outside of 4/4 and 3/4.


About jamiebobamie

Musician - teacher - writer - gets bored easily. I write an almost-weekly blog that includes true stories gathered from 20-plus years of touring, how-to articles for musicians and profiles of performers. Also, I love dark chocolate, I can play "Brown Eyed Girl" behind my head, and I twirl the baton badly.
This entry was posted in music, Music instruction, Playing the guitar and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Five essential guitar strums

  1. Pingback: How do I know what guitar strum to choose? | Jamiebobamie

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