Grab your guitar, and, using your fretting hand, form a G major chord (review how to play a Gmajor chord).
The pattern above is one bar long, and contains 8 strums. It might look confusing, so for now pay attention to the arrows at the bottom. An arrow pointing down indicates a downward strum. Similarly, an upwards arrow indicates that you should strum upwards. Notice that the pattern starts with a downstroke, and ends with an upstroke. So, if you were to play the pattern twice in a row, your hand wouldn't have to vary from it's continual down-up motion.
Play the pattern, taking special care to keep keep the time between strums the same. After you play the example, repeat it without any pause. Count out loud: 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 1 and 2 and (etc.) Notice that on the "and" (referred to as the "offbeat") you are always strumming upward. If you are having problems keeping a steady rhythm, try playing along with an mp3 of the strumming pattern.
- if playing an acoustic guitar, you strum over the sound hole
- all strings ring clearly
- Make sure the volume of your downstrums and upstrums are equal
- Be careful not to strum too hard, as this produces an undesirable sound
- Be careful not to strum too softly, as this will produce a "wimpy" sound. Your pick should be striking the strings with a relatively firm, even stroke
- Think of your elbow as being the top of a pendulum - your arm should swing up and down from it in a steady motion, never pausing at any time.
- Most of the picking motion should come from a rotation of the wrist, rather than from the forearm. Be sure not to keep your wrist stiff when playing.