Explore 3/4 Time

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Posted by Jane Miller

Many traditional classics (“Greensleeves”), pop songs (James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James”), and standards share the time signature of 3/4, which is characterized by one strong beat followed by two weaker beats. Having a collection of strums and picking patterns ready to play in 3/4 is an essential skill for guitarists of all stripes.

Examples 4-7
Click to enlarge tab.

John Mayer plays something similar to Example 4 in his song “Daughters.” To stress the meter, create an accent on the first beat by lightening your attack on the chords that fall after it. Example 5 shows a different pattern that could fit as an alternative to the strummy pattern in Example 4.

When you’re comfortable strumming simple patterns, bring them to life by adding some movement in the bass. Example 6 captures a nice “Mr. Bojangles” groove with a bass line that descends on the first beats of measures 1–3 and ascends in measure 4. Example 7 shows a jazzier version of this technique with different chords.

Excerpted from Acoustic Guitar U

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