Watch Fred Armisen demonstrate “the strumming styles of the world”

Fred Armisen guitar strumming styles of the world
(Image credit: The Tonight Show / YouTube)

Fred Armisen was back visiting the The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last week and, armed with an acoustic, used the opportunity to guide the host through “the strumming styles of the world”.

As you’ll see in the clip below [from about 3.30], Armisen warms-up with a few wryly observed guitar tropes. These include the playing position of “every guitar player on Instagram for the last two years” and noting all guitarists’ propensity to always –always – play Dsus4 after a D chord.

“I totally do that,” notes Fallon and, we suspect, so will every other player watching.

The comic, who is currently on the road with his show Comedy For Musicians But Everybody Is Welcome, then treats viewers to a guided tour of strumming styles from around the world.

In the process, he skewers the fast major/minor changes of Australian indie rock, England’s syncopated folk rock (“I saw her by the river bend / A statuesque silhouette…”) and the apparently Norwegian habit of playing “the guitar as if they’re showing you that they are playing the guitar”.

Later, he trundles through some languid Francophile fingerpicking, Scotland’s Celtic quarter notes and minor chords and South American ska. It is the sort of instantly skewering collection of stereotypes that will have guitarists of all stripes scurrying back to the basement to tear up songs.

It’s not the first time Armisen has given Fallon a crash course in guitar tropes, of course, having previously treated the host to some brilliant musical impressions of punk guitar through the decades...

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar,, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.