In our previous lesson, we focused on the boom chick strumming pattern. While the boom chick strumming pattern provided plenty of rhythmic diversity to your typical strumming pattern, the boom chicka pattern will do wonders for your playing.
While the boom chicka pattern has its roots in folk and country music, it can be applied to a wide variety of different styles of playing. Today, we’re going to teach you the boom chicka strumming pattern, along with a fun chord progression.
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Boom Chicka Strumming Pattern Basics
The boom chicka strumming pattern is a popular country guitar rhythm/strumming pattern. In turn, you can also find the boom chicka strumming pattern in bluegrass rhythm guitar. Since both country and bluegrass are related, this is a foundational strumming pattern any guitar player should learn.
The boom chicka strumming pattern combines a bass note and a strum for a surprising effect. On beat 1, you’ll pick the root of the chord. After that, you’ll strum the full chord on beat 2 and the “and” of two (the eighth note in between the beat). Then, you continue the pattern and play a bass note on beat 3 while strumming the whole chord on beat 4 and the “and” of beat 4.
When thinking about pick direction, keep in mind the golden rule of strumming: downbeats have downstrokes and upbeats have upstrokes. Simple, right? This means that the bass note will have a downstroke. Following that, any time you play a numbered beat, you’ll use a downstroke. Any time you are playing on the “and” of a beat, use an upstroke with your pick.
This is the basic breakdown of the boom chicka rhythm, but keep in mind there are many variations you may come across on your acoustic guitar journey.Some of these variations include paster patterns, expanded bass lines, and more.
Boom Chicka Strumming Pattern Exercise
For an easy way to practice this essential country guitar rhythm, we made up a fun exercise that involves 2 chords: the A minor chord and the E minor chord. This exercise is going to sound a little spooky, which should be a fun sonic palette for you to experiment in!
- Make an E minor chord by placing your middle finger on the second fret of the A string and your ring finger on the second fret of the D string.
- Play the single E string for beat 1.
- Play the entire chord, starting on a downstroke, for beat 2 and the “and” of 2.
- Strike the single D string for beat 3.
- Strum the full chord on beat 4 and the “and” of 4.
With that, you have the beginnings of the bluegrass guitar rhythm. To continue the exercise, transition chords to an A minor chord. As far as the bass notes for the A minor chord. Use the open A string and then the D string (your middle finger should be on the second fret of the D string if you’re playing an A minor chord). This bass pattern works because it uses the fifth scale degree in the A minor chord: an E.
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