Semi-quaver strumming patterns and knocking on heavens door – Bob Dylan

09 Mar

HI there,

In my last blog you were shown how to play crotchets/quavers/semi-quavers and how to count + strum them.

Now what you want to be able to do is have a mixture of these rhythms to increase variety.

A common strumming pattern that I teach in lessons and seems to come up time and time again is the Down, Down, Down, up pattern.

This pattern is a 2 beat pattern that’s repeated twice in every bar (of 4 beats) and is a really good one to start changing between 2 chords in 1 bar.

Here it is below:

Now as you can see beats 1 + 3 are crotchets and last for 1 beat.

beats 2 and 4 are made up of 3 notes each.

Now the first half of beat 2 is a quaver so that should be counted as ‘2’

the second part of that beat is 2 semi-quavers so this would be the ‘+ A’ of the beat.

So you’d count this as ‘2 + A’

You wouldn’t need to count the ‘E’ in beat 2 as the quaver covers the 2 and the ‘E’

Also pay attention to the strumming pattern. This coincides with how you strum crotchets/quavers and semi-quavers.

Here’s an audio clip below that will show the 2 beat pattern alone, and then repeated to make the full bar:


So now you can play hundreds of songs that use this very common pattern. Take Knockin’ on heavens door for example:

and then part 2:

This song is great as it has 4 chords and repeats them over and over again:

Check this audio sample for help:



Posted by on March 9, 2012 in Songs


Tags: , ,

2 responses to “Semi-quaver strumming patterns and knocking on heavens door – Bob Dylan

  1. @GuitarDialogues

    October 14, 2013 at 6:20 am

    Many thanks for a fantastic site
    According to Am should go Down Down Down-Up
    Down Down Down-Up
    Confused which is the correct one ?

    • jsmusicschool

      November 28, 2013 at 10:39 am

      Hi there – glad you enjoy the site. With strumming patterns i like to simplify them as much as possible. Bob Dylan is not going to play the same strumming pattern all the way through and he will add extra sixteenth notes and ties to vary things up. So i’m certain both will work fine as long as you are doing the right strokes with your strumming hand


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