The Pop Strumming Pattern

Would you like to be able to play a cool rhythm pattern that you can apply to hundreds of different songs and chord progressions and sound awesome? Thought so!
Now you have played eighth notes, quarter notes, half notes, whole notes.
There are already loads of cool things you can do with combinations of these rhythms. Things get even more interesting when you add in rests.
Rests are silences that last for the same possible durations as the notes. So you can half whole, half, quarter and eigth note rests. When you see one, you should still move your arm, but you don’t strike the string where the rest is marked.It is written like this:

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You can see this pattern starts with a quarter note, (down stroke) then we have two eighth notes (down up). Then an eighth note rest (the little marking aligned with count ‘3’ that looks a bit like a seven).
It’s vital here that you still bring your arm down in time as per the marked downstroke, aiming not to strike the strings. This will put you in exactly the right place to hit the upstroke that comes right after.
It may help you to say this to yourself:
Although where ‘miss’ is written, you are still bringing your arm down, you’re just not making contact with the strings.
Expect this to feel a bit strange to start with, as it feels awkward to miss the down stroke. With a bit of practice it becomes comfortable and then you’ll be able to play loads of great strumming patterns. It’s also a pattern that fits many, many pop songs.
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Backing Tracks – Here are kickstart tracks for you to play this rhythm along with. You’ll hear a cowbell playing the same rhythm you need to play for the first few bars, and then a softer drum continues to play it afterwards.


Start with a slower track, like 50bpm. Only go for one of the faster ones when it has started to feel natural playing the rhythm. When you can definitely play it, a fun way to use it is to pick some chords you can play well and play those chords with this rhythm.

Click on the tempos below to open the audios


Pop Strumming Pattern 50bpm

Pop Strumming Pattern 60bpm

Pop Strumming Pattern 80bpm

Pop Strumming Pattern 100bpm