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Help! I am stuck in a rut with strumming!

Help! I am stuck in a rut with strumming! 

Ok, most guitar players get stuck with just a few strumming patterns and have a very difficult time moving beyond that to the modern worship strumming patterns of their favorite songs.

First of all, for all strumming patters I have one rule…

If you can’t SAY it, you can’t PLAY it. 

You have to begin to read some rhythmic notation and be able to say or chant the rhythm first.  Then, put it into your hands and get the correct strumming up and down technique for the pattern.

Underneath most patterns, there is a pulsing sixteenth note pattern that sounds like tic-a-tic-a  or  1 ee and ah.

For a new strumming pattern and to break out of your rut, start strumming all down on eighth notes and count   1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and

Another pattern that can help you break out is all sixteenth notes strumming up and down with alternating strumming and count 1e+a  2e+a  3e+a  4e+a

When strumming these patterns, you don’t have to strum through all 6 strings on every beat.  You can start by strumming down on the 1 beat through all the strings and then selectively strum the bottom 3 strings on the other rhythms.

Try these new techniques and see if you can break out into some new patterns.  I teach this in-depth in the videos and lessons in the Modern Worship Guitar Lessons Method available from 8chords100songs.com

But just remember, if you can’t SAY it, then you cant PLAY it!


Using a Capo for Leading Worship

If you are leading worship with guitar, be sure to have a capo and learn how to use it!  When I was younger and learning how to play guitar, I never used a capo.  I always used the moveable shapes of chords like Eb and C#m.  Once I began performing and leading worship I found that the capo enabled me to be more free and put my brain power toward the things that really matter.  When I transpose the song to a simple key like G or D and use the capo, several great things happen:

  1. I can play the song with simple chords without ever looking at the fretboard.
  2. I can focus on leading the people and the band instead of playing the barre form chords.
  3. The modern worship songs are much easier to play and sound better with the open chord forms.

I could play every worship song in the key of Eb and use barre chords for the whole worship set, BUT it is not necessary and it is much harder to do.   You see, even though I CAN play the barre chords I choose to transpose to an easier key and play the open chord forms.

Plus, when you get comfortable with the simple chords in G and D that I teach in my 8chords program, you can play any song in any key and it sounds modern and amazing.  Just a few minutes of preparation on the chord chart can save you brain power and help you succeed.  It is my opinion that all beginner and intermediate worship leader guitar players should always use the simple chord forms and a capo!

If you are paying attention, you will see that Tomlin, Baloche and every professional worship leader and artist that I have ever seen has used a capo instead of playing the harder moveable chord forms.  Even superstar acts like Taylor Swift will always use a capo and the simple G C and D forms that I teach in the 8chords program.

So, start using the simple chord forms and put your capo on!  If you need further instruction on the capo, you can learn it all in the 3rd method book of the 8chords program along with simple charts to help you transpose all the harder songs to the easy keys.

New Song: New Life Has Come

New worship song!  Featured Song for February 2011

Listen and Buy the MP3 Here!
Become a Fan on ReverbNation for Free Downloads Today!

Get the chord chart FREE on the blog!

10 Common Mistakes of Beginning Guitar Players

Check this list and make sure YOU are NOT doing these things.  It seems like the easiest ways to get off track are also the easiest things to fix.

  1. Not playing close enough to the fret
  2. Holding the pick wrong
  3. Strumming the guitar too hard
  4. Playing the wrong (more difficult) chord shapes.
  5. Forming bad habits.
  6. Playing with too much tension (hands and mind)
  7. Neglect to choose a good mentor/teacher
  8. Not enough practice time
  9. Never learning the easy strumming patterns
  10. Not changing strings often enough (at least every 3 months)

Need to go further, check out my complete program for worship guitar. I help you overcome all of these early problems and start playing and singing your favorite songs.

Eric gives you advice and explains the worship program

I have provided some videos to help you fully understand what my complete program is all about.  Have fun watching!

See all of the products at 8chords100songs.com

New Ebook Transpose and Play

I have just released my new ebook that teaches you how to transpose and play any song easily.  Watch the video to learn more and visit my new music theory series site.  This new book shows you how to transpose and play any song easily on guitar and piano!

The God I Know. Share Your Story…

I didn’t expect for a song to impact me at such a deep level.  Only a few songs have done that in my life and it seems they are always near a transition period of my life.  For example, The Voice of Truth was a song that kept me grounded during a tough ministry transition as a young worship leader.  The God I Know was completed only weeks before I was laid off from my job last October.  Even if you see something coming, it can still hit you like a brick.  I spent the next week taking care of business and wrapping things up for my church.   Even when people surrounded me, I would randomly begin singing the words to this new song “The God I Know knows all about me, the God I know sees what I need.” The melody and words would just come out of me and I would begin humming them or singing them in an instant.  And the truth of God began to sink in deeper.  In fact, during my latest transition, I am learning how to truly trust my Savior God all over again.  At age 32, that is refreshing.  Life seems to barrel over you sometimes and the simple things get tossed around and lost in the shuffle.  Faith and sincere trust in God alone is easy to write or sing about but it is a different thing to really live with them at your core.  I am learning to live with them at my core again and this song is helping to remind me every day about the God that I met at age 17 on a hill in my backyard.  There is a lot going on in my life right now that I could not have orchestrated including my learning to really trust God as I start my new career as a piano technician and songwriter.  I was blessed with a mentorship with the President and Vice-President of the Master Piano Technicians and now I am graduating from the Randy Potter School of Piano Technology to become a certified MPT in July 2010.   Along with learning a tremendous skill for great income, I am able to work for myself full time again and Emily and I have been writing more songs.  We have begun to follow our dreams as songwriters again.  There is less mess and confusion in my life when I focus on a simple trust in God.  The God I know has always been there but I needed to sing it and let it soak in to my heart.  He is infinite and yet he is my intimate friend.  He ultimately rescues me from sin and keeps my soul at rest when I focus on Him.  I thank God for His life in me and for the ability to craft songs with Emily that reach back down into my own heart and make such great changes.  Please share your story with others and us by posting on our blog or sending an email from my website.  I want you to share with others about the God YOU know.


Get the chord chart and leave your story here!

Welcome to the 8chords Worship Guitar Blog

Free 5 Part Mini Course

Learn simple chords and play Amazing Grace with this NEW Exciting 5 part mini course from Eric Roberts

Free Mini Course - Sing up for the newsletter and get access now

Free Mini Course - Sing up for the newsletter and get access now

Be still and know…

Today during worship, I let go for just a moment and stopped looking at the worship band, the stage, the lights and at every single part of a worship service.  I stepped back with my mind and looked at the whole picture.  I saw something very nice.  I began to see just 1 big picture…  a scene of people and efforts all praising God.  And I let myself go with it for a few minutes and began to see that God sees the big picture too.  He hears the bigger part of the song.  Sure He is in the details and He sees each heart, but he also stands back and hears the sound of the saints gathering and singing praises to Him and about his son Jesus.  He is well pleased.  It is no small miracle that all of these “not so perfect” people gathered at this place and time and have laid themselves aside to sing a praise song to God.  It is a huge blessing to our Father.  So many people seem to just stand and watch, but inside our hearts, the songs and words flow in an out and up to God.  I read in the bible that we are to be still and know the He is God.  Not to be so wrapped up with all the hype of church and worship services and just to listen and worship God with simple quiet hearts.  That is what He is really looking for, and today I believe that He found it.  Many worshipers got it right in churches all over the world!  Not all, but many worshipers connected and God is pleased.  Next time you are all caught up in preparing and working for the worship service or practicing and getting every chord right as you play, remember to also be still and know that God is really just interested in connecting with you.  So take the time to connect with Him.  Take a step back and connect.  Let it all soak in that you are moving and living under the hand of the Great God.

Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Listen to the song and read the lyrics from Steven Curtis Chapman…

Be still and know that He is God Be still and know that He is holy
Be still, O restless soul of mine Bow before the Prince of peace
Let the noise and clamor cease

Be still and know that He is God Be still and know that He is faithful
Consider all that He has done Stand in awe and be amazed
And know that He will never change Be still

Be still, and know that He is God
Be still; Be speechless

Be still and know that He is God Be still and know He is our Father
Come rest your head upon His breast Listen to the rhythm of His unfailing heart of love Beating for His little ones
Calling each of us to come Be still, Be still