New Guitar Techniques

The basic strum patterns in guitar are downward and upward motions. Basic strumming rhythms is for 4/4 time. Where the top note in the time measure is the count and the bottom note is the note that holds the beat.

In 4/4 time, there are 4 beats per measure and the quarter note is the main beat. The most basic time measure in all of music is 4/4 time. It is the most popular and is the easiest to remember for finger placement.


The Finger Placement for 4/4 Time:

  • Index finger on the first string
  • Middle finger on the second string
  • Ring finger on the third string
  • Pinkie finger on the fourth string

A diagram of what it should look like:

(The red dots indicate where you should place your fingers)

Techniques for the Best Sound:

  • When playing an acoustic guitar, strum directly over the sound hole. For electric guitars.
    Strum directly over the body of the guitar.
  • The loudest sound comes from the stronger strums. Weak strums produce a soft or “wimpy” sound.
  • For upward strums rotate your wrist away from you, and for downward strokes rotate your wrist toward you. This creates an ease with strumming and helps prevent cramping in your wrist.

Legato and Raguerdo; The basic strumming Patterns

Legato comes from the Italian language and means “to connect smoothly”. Most artists recognize this form as having a sort of “uneven” sound.

It is most recognizable in today’s jazz and pop music. The basic pattern is up and down strumming by shifting positions one fret at a time. In rest strokes, alternate middle and index fingers in the right hand and make sure to stay balanced.

Rasguendo strumming technique is a little more difficult than Legato and is most heard in Flamenco music. There are five basic patterns, but in all the patterns, the only thing that needs to be remembered is the down beat (or beat 2 or the second beat) is always accentuated.

Nothing is more important to remember in Rasguendo. It doesn’t matter how many attacks are used, just make sure to accent the downbeat. Tips to start out playing a Rasguendo technique include:

  • Keeping your right hand in a relaxed fist position
  • Strumming lightly and quickly
  • Extending your finger after you strum

Patterns within the Rasguendo Technique

Pattern 1 is the most traditional pattern because it is executed in sixteenth notes. This pattern is the most frequently used and can be used in a variety of songs.

Pattern 2 is a variation of the four stroke pattern. It is played very quickly and again emphasizes beat 2.

Pattern 3 is very easy to play and is executed by 8th notes. It uses a series of very quick and light attacks.

Pattern 4 uses the thumb with down- and upstrokes. Rotate your forearm from your elbow while doing this strum. Keep your wrist very loose. This pattern can be heard most in Rumbas.

Pattern 5 is the most difficult pattern because you need to make sure your index upstroke is even with the other attacks.