Staggered Strumming (Guitar Lesson)


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Brendan Burns

Staggered Strumming

Brendan Burns explains how "staggering" your strums can assist in performing chord changes.

Taught by Brendan Burns in Tips & Tricks with Brendan Burns seriesLength: 8:08Difficulty: 0.5 of 5


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Member Comments about this Lesson

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BradleyABradleyA replied on December 15th, 2016

Now THAT was a very cool tip. That will be very helpful, at times. Btw, I appreciate how you played an arpeggiated version of the chords so we could hear that sounds, as well. Definitely made the progression much more interesting.

danonwheelsdanonwheels replied on August 30th, 2015

I'm enjoying all your lessons Brendan and they are really helping thanks man

ZerimarZerimar replied on August 18th, 2010

That was a cool lick you did towards the end of the video. Is there an exact name for that technique? Earlier on in the video you would hit one note before strumming. Is that "walking the bass"? I really want to learn how to play licks like you did towards the end of the video. Very nice.

Brendan.BurnsBrendan.Burns replied on August 21st, 2010

I'm not sure if has a name, I think of it as a style. Classic Rock, Southern Rock, Soul and other styles of music use that technique a lot. They are essentially hammer-ons using the open strings. Try it out on a couple of different chords. It doesn't work for everyone. Also, try researching open chord embellishments, or hammer-ons in JamPlay. I'm sure someone else has talked about this subject.

ZerimarZerimar replied on August 21st, 2010

Thanks Brendan. I have started playing around with this technique. I'm simply going back and forth from a C to Am. I'm going real slow to get the feel of things. I'm really liking this technique using hammer ons with open chords. It definitely puts some flavor in the music. Thanks again.

Brendan.BurnsBrendan.Burns replied on August 22nd, 2010

Check out some tunes by the Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Guns n' Roses. They use this technique all over the place.

dahndahn replied on August 21st, 2010

I've been playing for quite some time now, not even thinking about doing chord changes for the basic open chords as I did a year ago. Not that I wouldn't be able to play them, but seeing your fingers move so delicately I got embarassed I started practicing them again.

Brendan.BurnsBrendan.Burns replied on August 21st, 2010

Wait until it's been 5 years and 10 years after you've learned the basic open chords. It's so wild. The guitar and your fingers just transform over time. Best of luck. Keep rockin'! Brendan

udocudoc replied on August 19th, 2010

Excellent lesson, Brendan! All you lessons have been outstanding, but this one is the absolut winner. Now I can come up with my own licks while using any old chord progression. I would be interested in more of these fundamental insights into playing techniques. Thanks a lot!

aquiguillermoaquiguillermo replied on August 18th, 2010

Cool and crystal clear. Enjoyed it !

Tips & Tricks with Brendan Burns

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Brendan Burns covers tips for rapid chord changing and economy of motion.



Lesson 1

Pivot Fingers

Brendan Burns explains how pivot fingers can be used to achieve smoother, quicker chord changes.

Length: 9:04 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 2

Battle Plan

Brendan Burns discusses a "battle plan" for performing chord changes. The battle plan prepares you for the next chord in the progression through visualization as well as physical preparation.

Length: 8:16 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

The Strum Switch

Brendan explains how rhythmic consistency with the right hand must be maintained in order to perform effective chord changes.

Length: 9:27 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Staggered Strumming

Brendan Burns explains how "staggering" your strums can assist in performing chord changes.

Length: 8:08 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Connected Chord Voicings

Brendan discusses and demonstrates how to connect chord voicings together.

Length: 14:00 Difficulty: 1.5 FREE
Lesson 6

Connecting Chords: Dominant 7ths

Brendan Burns demonstrates and discusses ways to connect dominant 7th chord voicings.

Length: 10:35 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Connecting Chords: Minor 7ths

Brendan Burns demonstrates connecting chords for both the 6th string and 5th string minor 7th voicings.

Length: 13:15 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

Connecting Chords: Major 7ths

Brendan Burns discusses the major 7th chord voicings and ways to connect them.

Length: 13:15 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 9

Connecting Chords: Minor 7th Flat 5

The last chord voicing in the connecting chords series is the minor 7th flat 5. Brendan demonstrates uses and voicings for this chord.

Length: 7:52 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 10

Kline Electric Guitar

Brendan answers some frequently asked questions about his Kline guitar.

Length: 6:31 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 11

Practice Strategies

Brendan Burns discusses ways to get the most out of every practice minute you spend with the guitar.

Length: 22:28 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Prepared Guitar Techniques #1

Get ready for the wild and weird! In this two part series, Brendan shows us how to achieve some very unique, organic sounds by physically attaching various items to your guitar.

Length: 25:27 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Prepared Guitar Techniques #2

Brendan wraps up this short series by showing us some practical applications for the prepared guitar.

Length: 17:24 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

Harmonics Part 1

In part one of this mini-series, Brendan shows you everything you need to know about producing solid left hand harmonics.

Length: 23:39 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Harmonics Part 2

Brendan shows us how to play the simple tune of "Amazing Grace" using only harmonics. In addition, we'll learn how to develop other melodic ideas that enhance the original melody.

Length: 9:43 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 16

Harmonics Part 3

Brendan continues in his harmonics series by showing us how to bend harmonic notes behind the nut, culminating in the harmonic exploration of two traditional folk tunes: "Danny Boy" and "Shenandoah".

Length: 35:39 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Harmonics Part 4

Brendan wraps up his harmonics series by showing two really awesome techniques: tap harmonics and pluck harmonics. These two techniques will make the entire chromatic scale available to you via harmonics!

Length: 14:24 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Practice Strategies, Vol. 2

Brendan expands on a topic he shared with us a while back: practice strategies. Learn how to get the most out of your practice time with 8 very helpful and practical tips from a seasoned veteran!

Length: 26:57 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only

About Brendan Burns View Full Biography Brendan has been passionate about music since childhood. He began his studies on trumpet, in elementary school, and then moved to guitar as a teenager. He holds a Bachelor's Degree from Berklee College of Music, and has studied with Norm Zocher, Joe Stump, Bret Willmott, Bob Pilkington, Jay Weik, Tim Miller, & Charlie Banacos.

While at Berklee, Brendan was a member of the Music Mentoring Program, teaching private lessons to gifted high school students. He is currently teaches, and is chair of the guitar department at Brookline Music School. Brendan also teaches guitar for Tune Foolery & privately at his home in Cambridge, MA.

Along with educating, Brendan plays out often as a Solo Guitarist, performing standards, pop, and classical repertoire. He has recorded and played with the chamber-fusion band Ra Quintent, and as well as Vessela Stoyanova's Eastern Stories Under Western Skies Project. Brendan also performs as a leader, director and sideman for various Boston art-rock projects, and is former member of MIT's Gamelan Galak Tika.

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