Real Guitar Adventure for Grownups

Best 5 Strum Patterns for Beginning Guitar

in Chords And Strumming | 31 comments

Strum Patterns You Must Learn How To Play


Along with scales, chords, and songs, guitar strumming patterns are one of the important elements to master when learning to play guitar. Which strumming patterns for guitar are best to learn when you're beginning? Should you learn the easiest strum patterns first? Are there some guitar strums that are more useful than others?

From my years of teaching students and training guitar teachers I found there is a series of patterns that are best to teach in the beginning stages. These strum patterns incorporate the basic movements that can be used to play many more strum patterns in the future. They also help to develop good strumming technique when done properly and together with common chord patterns give the student a path to playing solid rhythm guitar.

These can all be done with either a guitar pick or with your fingers. I will give you an example of how to do it both ways.

Guitar Strum Pattern 1 to 5


1.  Basic Down-Up Strum – The first strumming pattern I call the basic down a pattern. The basic movement is down, then down up. The keys to doing this properly are to stay relaxed, start slow and play evenly.

 2.  Mute Strum – The mute strum is the second of the strum patterns I like beginners to learn. It uses a basic mute technique that can be used in many more advanced strums.

 3.  Calypso Strum – The next strum I call the Calypso strum. This incorporates both the mute technique and a raking technique to add some extra interest and a kind of a Latin Caribbean sound.

 4.  Pop Rock Strum – This strum can be used for many type of popular songs and is very common.

 5.  Basic Fingerpicking Pattern – The final strum is actually a simple fingerpicking technique. This is the basis for many fingerpicking patterns and really makes the acoustical guitar come alive.

Tell Us What You Think - Please Comment Below!

We would love to hear your comments and questions. What specific things are you struggling with while learning guitar?

Tomas Michaud


  1. hello Thomas !
    a nice video , clear , precise , well described and easy to follow
    i liked the two options illustrating : fingers and mediator
    are you planning a more flamenco oriented video ? i’ll enjoy it !


    October 22, 2013

    • Hi Levy,
      Thanks for commenting. Yes, I’m working on a course right now. I think realistically it will take another 8 weeks to get it ready for release.

      Did you see the New Flamenco series I did here?:


      October 23, 2013

  2. Am glad to receive the best 5 strumming patterns hope to master them too soon and am really grateful for the lesson. An saying thank you master


    October 10, 2015

    • You’re very welcome Femi.

      – Tomas


      October 11, 2015

  3. Hi Tomas,
    Thank you for providing this teaching moment in strumming. I am an older beginner guitarist and found
    your teaching methods very helpful. I love the variety in strumming patterns.
    I recognized the last strumming pattern, as I am learning Let it Be, by the Beatles.
    Again, a big thank you, it’s very helpful.

    Karen McCombie

    November 9, 2015

    • You welcome Karen. I’m glad you enjoyed the lesson. – Tomas


      November 9, 2015

  4. Hai Thomas,


    November 27, 2015

  5. Hai Thomas,
    Greetings from India
    surely this strumming pattern is very helpful
    I am very weak to strum guitar. during playing songs on guitar there is lost of mistakes happen with me.
    now this lesson will help me to correct my strumming.
    Thanking you.


    November 27, 2015

    • You’re welcome Shashikant. – Tomas


      January 13, 2016

  6. Tomas I am a 50+ year old newbie, i love the fun clear informative way you show us all that with time effort and help from maters such as yourself, we can all achieve what we want..

    Please keep up the awesome work..


    December 13, 2015

    • Thanks Gary. – Tomas


      January 13, 2016

  7. Thank you for the 5 strumming patterns , very nice teachings.

    Sam Olvera

    December 13, 2015

    • You’re welcome Sam. – Tomas


      January 13, 2016

  8. Thanks Tomas! I never have used a pick as I have a classical guitar (I am working on getting an acoustic, I really want one!), so I never noticed how bad am I at using one… But I’m glad you said using just fingers is okay too:)


    December 30, 2015

  9. Really new at this, having trouble wrapping my fingers around the guitar neck. At 62 I just bought a second hand electric guitar.
    I will not learn to do the notes over night.
    It is my one of my New Years Resolution’s the other is to retire.

    In advance, Thank you!

    Stuart MacNairn

    January 14, 2016

    • You’re welcome Stuart. – Tomas


      January 16, 2016

  10. I am very impressed with email and your videos Thank You.It is great to know that you enjoy teaching and I can learn from from someone who cares I am 63 and trying to learn my first instrument. Thank You.


    February 11, 2016

    • You are very welcome Richard. – Tomas


      February 19, 2016

  11. Hi Tomas,
    Thanks so much for sharing the basic strum patterns. I’m learning on a classical guitar.


    March 16, 2016

    • You’re welcome Ron.

      – Tomas


      March 22, 2016

  12. Thank you for this!


    September 16, 2016

    • You’re welcome Ellie.


      September 17, 2016

  13. interesting and helpful. What a great idea to use bluetack to hold
    your pick when its not needed. (i never use them myself though as I prefer fingerstyle
    on classical guitar.)


    September 22, 2016

    • Thanks Jeni. It’s nice to hear from you. I do like finger style the best. – Tomas


      November 19, 2016

  14. I’ve been stuck on down down down up up pattern.. this will help tons!
    Thanks much

    Debbie Sanders

    September 4, 2017

    • Glad to see you “stretching out” Debbie. – Tomas

      Tomas Michaud

      September 20, 2017

  15. Thank you for teaching your skills. I am an absolute beginnier, I’m finding learning to strum is more difficult to learning chords. Will practice your methods.


    November 5, 2017

    • You are very welcome Maria. Take your time and be persistent. ost people think it’s difficult at first. -Tomas

      Tomas Michaud

      November 6, 2017

  16. Hello TOMAS
    I was very happy to learn in your style.
    U r awsum in teaching n it was fun to learn.
    I loved your both styles with finger n pick.
    God bless u n fly.


    May 7, 2018

    • Hi Madhumita,

      So glad to hear you’re loving it!

      – Aimee
      Customer Care

      Tomas Michaud

      May 31, 2018

  17. So simple to follow, yet to effective. Than you Tomas. Much needed boost for any beginner 🙂


    May 26, 2020


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