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Transitioning and strum patterns


Local Dive Bar Favorite
Apr 16, 2022
So there are two things that are confusing me. First is something I kinda got down and that transitioning from a verse to a chorus or chorus to a bridge. What are some steps or ways I would to kinda build up verse to a chorus or another part of the song. Second is strum patterns. I have been having a lot of trouble finding good strum patterns to use in a song so what should I practice to start heading in the right direction. The only two I really know is just either straight eighth notes or the one strum pattern that Avenged Sevenfold uses in like 50% of their choruses (natural born killer, heretic, etc.)

Ed Seith

Supreme Galactic Overlord
Staff member
  • Nov 11, 2019
    Marana, AZ USA
    There are so many possibilities on this front that it would be almost impossible to catalog them all. This is where learning songs you love proves invaluable - it shows you a lot of what you're looking for by following in the footsteps of those whose craft you admire most. Embrace DIVERSITY - don't stick to learning just one band's songs.
    Upvote 0

    Chris Johnston

    Music Theory Bragger
  • Nov 11, 2019
    North Ayrshire, Scotland
    In terms of strumming patterns, there are loads and they will always vary, but some typical ones to try

    (ps. Every tip/rule regarding context can be broken with these, it's all personal preference):

    D : Down
    U :Up

    - D DU U DU (Good for verses/choruses at slow to mid tempos)
    - D DU D DU (Maiden style Gallop)
    - D DU U DU U DU U DU (Good for verses/choruses at slow to mid tempos)
    - D DUD D DUD (Triplet/Waltz feel - Great for Verses/choruses
    - D D U U D D U (Wish You Were Here Style Pattern)
    - D D DUD U UD DUDU (Green Day - Time Of Your Life style pattern)

    In terms of building from a verse to a chorus you could have (depending on the build length):

    - D D D D (x4) (Simple build up to a big chorus)
    - DUD U U U UDUDU (More of a grandiose turn around into a chorus or even a verse repeat)
    - D D D DU D D D DU, D D D D, D D D DU (Gallop style build)

    More often than not though, you'll find good strumming patterns naturally occur through your exposure to different rhythmic ideas, the above examples are ways to get exposed to those ideas but when writing, usually you won't necessarily be conscious of the strumming directions, only the rhythm that you're trying to get across (It can be difficult to derive the exact rhythm from text etc)😊

    Hope you can get use out of some of this!
    Upvote 0

    John-Robert Rueda

    One Stringer
    Nov 11, 2019
    As far as transitioning goes, one of the best things you can do is just write a ton of chord progressions and see how different chords react with one another. Start off by doing this in one key. You'll notice that the V chord and the VII chord are very unstable and want to resolve. going from V to I is a very common way to get from the verse to the chorus. (Ex. The stage, HTTK, Enter Sandman, etc.)

    This is essentially how harmonic minor was birthed, writers started using the V7 to get to Imi7 since this was a stronger resolution than the weak Vmi7 to Imi7 that exists in natural minor.

    Once you get familiar with how each chord feels within its key it'll be easier to write transitions based on how you want your song to feel.
    Upvote 0