How To Get Your Guitar Strum Timing On Track

How To Get Your Guitar Strum Timing On Track

By Paul Kleff

Getting a solid consistent strum rhythm is very important for all guitar players. 

UnYou can improve your sense of timing and rhythm as you learn how to play guitar strum patterns by becoming aware of what a steady tempo is and how to maintain it as you play.  Today we will learn how to keep it steady and get rid of breaks in your guitar strumming rhythm.

Please do not be fooled by the apparent simplicity of this lesson—it is extremely important and is really the foundation for developing more complex guitar strumming rhythm patterns. Without this steady foundation you will encounter a large amount of difficulty as you learn how to play guitar strum patterns.  Mastery of the concepts and techniques in this lesson will pay massive dividends in all areas of your guitar playing and general musicianship forever.

Let’s look at locking in our guitar strumming rhythm using some four count rhythm patterns (this means we are going to count to four over and over and use this as the basis for our rhythm pattern—a very common rhythmic division in music.)

Let’s start by playing a G chord with our four count rhythm pattern.  Start out by counting out loud at a slow, steady tempo “1  2  3  4” and strum the G chord on the “1” of the next four count cycle, like this--make sure you count out loud:


Count:        1       2       3       4       1       2       3       4


Strum:       G                                  G


Note: You will get much greater benefit out of this if you record yourself—it doesn’t have to be fancy, you can use your phone, just something so you can listen back.


Keep counting out loud and strum the G chord on the “1” each time.  Really focus and notice the following:


·      Is your tempo even?  Your counts should not speed up, slow down, or be rhythmically uneven.

·      Are you strumming the G chord “exactly” on the “1” each time?  Is it a little bit early or late?  This is why you want to record yourself—so you can listen back and critically hear whether your strum on the G matches up directly with your voice on the “1.”


This may seem simple, but in reality is really the key to becoming a great guitar player and strummer.  Many guitar players jump right into trying to learn how to play guitar strum patterns and complex guitar strumming rhythms.  These are important, but not at the expense of building an excellent rhythmic feel.  Otherwise, any guitar strum pattern you play will not sound good, steady and tight.

Using a metronome

Use a metronome—start by setting at 60 BPM (beats per minute.)  Count out loud on each click and strum the chord on the “1” each time.  Record yourself playing this for a few minutes and listen back.  Be critical—are you really strumming the chord EXACTLY on the “1” each time.  You may be surprised when you first begin to practice guitar strumming rhythms like this.  By focusing your practice on being perfectly in rhythm you will quickly build a strong sense of rhythm and timing that will make it much easier as you move into more interesting and complex strum patterns.


Remember that developing this sense of timing is a large fundamental part of becoming a great guitar player and overall musician.  Learning how to play guitar strum patterns must be paired with learning to maintain a steady rhythm and tempo feel.


Practice hitting the “1” with your strums—right on the “1” every time.

About Author

The best lessons for beginner guitar players are the kind that are easy to understand and show you step by step exactly what you need to do to make fast improvement on the guitar.  If you have been floundering on the guitar as a beginner, you deserve to get the kind of guitar lessons that will help you get moving forward now. has lessons, videos, resources and tips designed to help beginning guitar players get big results on the guitar.