Learning how to strum is one of the most basic steps in guitar playing. After a beginner learns to do the basic 4/4 strumming, he can then move on to learning the 3/4 strumming technique.
If one wants to play a 3/4 song using a guitar, he must first know what 3/4 means: 4/4, 3/4, 2/4 are what musicians call time signatures. The time signatures are usually placed beside the clef sign.
The upper number (or numerator) indicates the number of beats per measure and the lower number (or denominator) indicates the kind of note that will receive one beat.
3/4 Chord pattern
In playing a 3/4 guitar riff, one has to count 1-2-3 and use this count as a guide when strumming the guitar. In practicing the 3/4 guitar strumming, one can use the chord pattern: D- A7- G.
This is a variation of the 4/4 chord pattern D-A-G-A. Again, this pattern is recommended because of the playability of the chords. This allows the player to be able to concentrate on strumming and chord formation simultaneously without prioritizing one above the other.
The strokes in practicing the 3/4 strumming pattern can be varied, depending on the player’s preferences. He can practice the pattern using only downward strokes, or upwards strokes or he can use both alternately to get the feel of the guitar.
The traditional song “Down in the Valley” can be used by beginners to practice strumming the guitar with a 3/4 time. Another song which could be used in 3/4 strumming is the song “Time is on my Side” by Jerry Ragovoy.
Another important thing that a beginner must learn in 4/4 strumming is chord shifting. This becomes an even harder thing to do in 3/4 strumming but it is not impossible to learn; it just takes time and patience. Don’t let frustration get into the learning process.
Let’s go back and review some of the important basic things one has to know in guitar strumming.
When a beginner first holds the guitar and tries out some chords, he usually does these things in an awkward looking position. This is acceptable because beginners will always look at the fret board, put their heads closer to the left hand, etc. But when you want to get serious about learning further things about guitar playing, he needs to be able to play the instrument using the right position.
Here are some few tips for playing the guitar in the proper position:
- position the body, legs and arms in so that tension is avoided
- if tension is present, reassess the playing position
- tilt the neck of the guitar upwards and never tilt it downwards
- keep the body of the guitar as vertical as possible
- avoid slanting the top of the guitar so that you an see better
Holding the pick
If you are using a pick to strum the guitar strings, hold the pick in such a way that the hand is stress-free. So do not hold it too tight or too loosely. The pick should make good contact with the strings but should be done in a moderate way.
When you are comfortable with playing some chords and chord patterns, you can then shift into reading guitar tablatures.
Tablatures or tabs are great tools in learning how to play the guitar as they translate the musical notation into readable symbols that reflect the way to play a musical piece using a guitar.
The lines that are in guitar tabs represent the strings of the guitar. If you place the guitar adjacent to the tabs, you can see what this is all about. The numbers in the lines represent the fret number which is to be pressed by the player.
This is basically all you have to know to be able to start reading tabs. Tabs are comprised of symbols and signs other than lines and numbers.
More advanced tabs also indicate the type of plucking or string bending technique that should be used for striking each note.
Learning how to play the guitar is an arduous process, but it’s also fun. One must take it step-by-step and must not rush to learn more techniques if he still can’t master the preceding technique. Have fun!