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Forward to: Songlets

The Second Five Minutes

Lesson 2: Strumming different Rhythms.
We do recommend you work on what we just covered in lesson 1 for a while, to get comfortable with that. A good rule of thumb is, if you are not bored, keep doing what you just learned. If you are bored, move on a step. If you get frustrated or over challenged, go back a step or two.

By now you should be able to strum down across the strings, while fretting a note with a finger on the left hand.

The next step is to begin to strum up as well as down. If you count in a steady beat 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4, you could strum down at each of those numbers. Notice what your hand does after each downstrum...it comes back up. Try strumming across the strings as you come back up. You may have to pull a little harder as you come up now because the strings are catching your pick. You are making sounds twice as fast now; if you count the same beat as before, but add the word “and” in between each number, you have 1+ 2+ 3+ 4+1+ 2+ 3+ 4+. The “+” represents the upstrum 1 2 3 4 1+ 2+ 3+ 4+. Practice this until you can do the upstrums smoothly and comfortably. It may take a little while before they move as easily as the downstrum.

• Tips: If the upstrum seems too draggy or like the pick is being pulled from your hand, play around with how deeply you hold the pick in your hand, and how far into the strings you are placing the pick as you come up. It always takes a little more force to get a smooth upstrum compared to a downstrum, because of the different shape of thumb vs finger.

Once you can do the upstrum smoothly, try adding it into the downstrum just once in a while instead of every time
like 1 2 3 4 1 2+ 3 4
or 1 2 3+ 4+ 1 2 3+ 4+

If you miss the strings, or hit them by accident as you do the upstrum, it is not a problem, as long as you are staying in time with your downstrums.

More advanced instructions will cover more rhythm techniques; leaving out downstrums, accenting, syncopation, etc., but you can make a lot of music using just what you know now.

Lesson 3: Changing notes while strumming different rhythms.

Now we are going to try changing whatever note you are fretting while you do different rhythms with the left hand. Before trying this you should be able to:
A. Change notes with the left hand.
B. Make the rhythm change by adding in upstrums after every beat, or once in a while.

Finger the 2nd fret on the first string.
Squeeze, and hold that note while you strum 1 2 3+ 4+ 1 2 3+ 4+
(that would be: down, down, downup, downup; down, down, downup, downup)

Now stop strumming, move to the third fret ( you can move the finger you are using, or put a different finger down), squeeze, and strum 1 2 3+ 4+ 1 2 3+ 4+ again.

Go back to the 2nd fret. Strum 1 2 3+ 4+ 1 2 3+ 4+ again. It is starting to sound like a simple song, isn’t it? Simply bounce back and forth from 2nd fret to 3rd fret, strumming 1 2 3+ 4+ 1 2 3+ 4+ each time until you get tired of doing that. If that goes smoothly, you are ready for lesson 4.


Strumstick®: The Second 5 Minutes


The First 5 Minutes

Strumming And Rhythm

Notes on the 2nd and 3rd strings