Guitar strumming patterns: 5 ways to improve your rhythm playing

Nile Rodgers performs with Chic in Bristol, England
(Image credit: Mike Lewis Photography/Redferns)

Strumming, indeed rhythm guitar as a whole, is a vital discipline that every guitarist should master. As much fun as it is to play blazing solos, the guitar is also an integral component in the rhythm section, and the ability to play chords fluently is a must. After all, in most styles, guitarists will spend the vast majority of their time focused on rhythm duties. 

There are key styles that use strumming as a main facet, and certain players who do it paticularly well. Funk guitar is heavily reliant on 16th-note strumming, fusing chords with ghost notes and syncopation for a sophisticated and exciting sound.

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Simon Barnard

Simon is a graduate of the UK's Academy of Contemporary Music and The Guitar Institute, and holds a Masters degree in music. He teaches, examines and plays everything from rock to jazz.