Tag Archives: quavers

12 bar blues – Spice up your patterns with triplet rhythms

Hi there,

Thanks for taking the time to read my blogs 🙂 Feel good about posting comments / questions, any other subject matters that people would like me to blog on.

Just to let you know i’ll be eventually adding some audio clips/ videos but they’ll be uploaded to my blogger page soon ( wordpress charge for mp3/ video uploads)

This blog (and the next one) will help beginner bass players to really start to mix up your 12 bar blues patterns with different rhythms. So using these new rhythms in conjunction with various arpeggios will give you more options/variety.

Below I’ve got 3 basic 12 bar blues progressions in A Blues. (the arpeggios are Major 6, Major and descending major bass line at bar 12 of each pattern)

Pattern 1 is ‘straight’ quavers :


Pattern 2 we’ve got a traditional ‘shuffle’ feel where each beat is split up into triplet quavers (1 + a, 2 + a, 3 + a, 4 + a). Each beat has 1 note lasting 2/3rds of the beat (1 and the +) and the 2nd note on the ‘a’)

** this is stated by the triplet 8th note feel sign at the top left hand side**



Pattern 3 is based on the triplet quaver structure of 3 notes per beat but the + is a rest. This provides you with another variation and choppy feel.



Practice these at various speeds with a metronome 🙂

Next blog will look at varying the rhythms within each bar!

Many thanks for reading.

James Schofield

Twitter: @jsmusicschool


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Posted by on February 4, 2015 in The Blues


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Counting and playing ‘off’ the beat – Quaver strumming patterns

Hi there,

Thanks for reading my blogs so far.

When you are learning strumming patterns, riffs or solo’s, it’s important that you can split up bars into segments to work out whether to play down/up strokes and whether they are on or off the beat.

Remember to count in your head or out loud + tap your feet to keep rhythm. This is important especially if you are playing off the beat, as you’ll need references to the start of each beat

I’d thoroughly recommend using a metronome regularly. This will keep pushing your playing abilities, and as a beginner there are not many better ways of forcing yourself to change chords.

Let’s remind ourselves first of a few of the symbols (you can click on the pictures for a bigger version)

notation symbols

The first symbol is a quaver rest (rest for 1/2 beat), second symbol is a quaver (1/2 beat), 3rd note is a crotchet (1 beat long) , 4th note is a crotchet rest (1 beat rest). The G major in the second bar is a dotted crotchet ( 1 1/2 beats long)

What we’ll do is learn basic strumming first on the beat and then off the beat:


The first bar uses crotchets and we simply play a G major chord with a downstroke on every beat.

The second bar you play off the beat on the ‘+’ so 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

The Hat sign signifies a downstroke whereas the V in the next bar shows an upstroke

Here’s our next pattern:


So here we play ( 1 + , 2, 3 +, 4)  and for the next bar ( 1 + 2, 3 + 4 )

Here’s the next pattern which mixes things up a bit more:


Here we play ( 1, 2 +, 3 + 4 + ) and then  ( 1 +, 2 +, 3 + , 4) in the next

It’s very important to count rhythm’s like the ones above especially when you have dotted crotchets that last for a beat and a half. You want to ring out that note from the ‘+’ of 3 til the end of the bar.

Now what you can also do once you’ve got grips with the above is then start to change chords at different points in the bar using down and upstrokes where appropriate.

Here’s an example of the above rhythm but with a changing chord pattern from the key of C major.


Hope you’ve enjoyed this blog and found it useful.

Feel good about asking any questions.

You can also find other great tips via my twitter feed @jsmusic

Many thanks



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Sixteenth note strumming

Hi there,

On a previous blog you were shown how to get a nice strumming pattern using just quavers, crotchets and ties.

Now to spice up your rhythm playing even more you can introduce sixteenth notes.

Firstly lets recap on how to count your various rhythmic values.

Crotchets last for 1 beat and in a typical bar containing 4 beats you’d count it as 1, 2, 3, 4 like the below

The symbol below the note signifies a down stroke

So for quavers these last for half a beat each and you’d play this as below:

So a typical bar of 4 beats would have 8 quavers and you’d play down up (the V sign is an upstroke).

You’d count this as 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +. Notice that generally we play a down stroke on the beat and an up stroke off the beat.

So now for semi quavers. These last for a quarter of a beat so in a typical bar of 4 beats you could play 16 of these in total:

Now you count this as

1 E + A , 2 E + A , 3 E + A, 4 E + A

and strum down, up, down, up for every beat.

The idea is that you are connecting a phonetic symbol to split up each part of the beat.

So on every ‘E’ of the beat you play an upstroke and for every ‘A’ of the beat you play an upstroke.

‘1’ and ‘+’ would be played with downstrokes.

So in the next blog what we can do is mix the 3 rhythms up and play Knockin’ on heavens door by Bob Dylan

Thanks for reading


You can find me on twitter for other brilliant tips @jsmusicschool

Also feel free to ask questions on the comment section



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Technical : Basic strumming patterns

Hi there!

In previous blogs I’ve explained how you can move all your open chords up the neck and understand how your scales and chords all fit together.

Now you want to be able to link all this together with interesting rhythms and strumming patterns.

From my experience teaching, a lot of guitarists should be spending more time on developing their rhythm and strumming patterns.

As a beginner, if you can learn a bulk load of strumming patterns (15-20 or so), you’ll be apply to apply that to millions of songs.

Most tab on the internet is made by amateurs who really don’t know what they’re doing.

Often the chords will be wrong but most importantly strumming patterns aren’t included in the majority.

Basic strumming patterns are also massively overlooked in many college and grade base teaching.

Let’s go through a few basic rhythmic values to start with:

CROTCHET – this lasts for 1 beat and looks like the below:






In a standard bar of 4/4 timing (4 beats in a bar) you could play 4 of these – play all of these with downstrokes


QUAVER – this lasts for half a beat and looks like the below:







In a standard bar of 4/4 timing you could play 8 of these in total. A lot of the time you’ll alternate between down and upstrokes.

You count quavers as 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

Generally on the 1,2,3,4 you play downstrokes and on the + of each beat play upstrokes

So a full bar of quavers would be DOWN UP DOWN UP DOWN UP DOWN UP

If there are quite a few notes in a bar they will be joined up together to make it easier to read – here are 2 quavers joined together:





Now for our first strumming pattern we are going to play 1 crotchet followed by 2 quavers and then the same again:





You’d count this as 1, 2 +, 3 , 4 +

With your strumming hand you’d play DOWN, DOWN UP, DOWN, DOWN UP

Practice taking 3 chord progressions like A,D and E, C, F and G playing 1 bar of each chord using the above pattern. It’s a really nice pattern and it appears in thousands of songs.

We can now introduce another quaver on the ‘+’ of 3:





You’d count this is 1, 2 +, 3 +, 4 +

With your strumming hand you’d play DOWN, DOWN UP, DOWN UP, DOWN UP

Now for Ties.

Ties are a great way of adding variation to your rhythm playing. See an example below:







What a tie does is extend a note/chords length by connecting an additional note onto it.

This creates variety in your rhythm playing by missing out certain down and upstrokes and letting notes ring longer.

For the above you’d be playing on 1 + but not play on the first half of beat 2.

Now have a go at the below pattern – this song is used in so many songs it’s unbelievable, lots of rock bands like Oasis and Green day use this pattern all the time.







You’d count this as 1, 2 + , 3 + , 4 + BUT you’d not play the note thatn takes up the first half of beat 3 as it’s tied.

With the right hand you’d strum DOWN, DOWN UP, UP, DOWN UP

Have a go with various chord progressions using the above. Half the world away by Oasis and Rod Stewart’s ‘Maggie May’ both use this pattern.

Play along to a metronome with the ability to split up the bars into quavers

Thanks for reading


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Posted by on February 13, 2012 in Sightreading and Strumming


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