The purpose of this article is
to notate and strum consecutive eighth-notes.
In “Quarter-Note Feel“, you learned that one beat is notated using a quarter-note slash. To notate two events of equal value within the same beat – i.e. the beat is divided exactly in half – “eighth-note slashes” are used. Eighth-note slashes are written as a solid slash with a stem and a “flag“. If there are four beats in each bar, you can have 8 eighth-note slashes in each bar – two for each beat.
To make it them easier to read, the flags of eighth-note slashes can be joined together to create a “beam“. Eighth-notes are commonly beamed in groups of two or four. This is only for visual ease of reading and does affect how they are played.
Creating A Good Feel
There are two main consecutive eighth note feels you will want to create. Each can be achieved depending on how you strum. First, you could use all down-strokes when playing consecutive eighth-notes. This creates a driven or aggressive feel that is common in many types of rock music:
You will still want to distinguish beats 1 & 3 from beats 2 & 4 as you did in “Quarter-Note Feel” – by strumming all the strings on beats 2 & 4 and only the bottom strings the rest of the time.
Another common technique used to distinguish beats 1 & 3 from beats 2 & 4 is to “accent” beats 2 & 4 with a heavier force. This is often combined with the “bottom strings/all the strings” technique. Accents are notated using a marking similar to the greater-than sign. In the following example you are being asked to accent both eighth-notes on beats 2 & 4.
In the next example you are being asked to accent only the first eighth-note of beat 2 and beat 4.
The second consecutive eighth-note feel you will want to create is achieved by alternating down-strokes and up-strokes. This creates a much less aggressive feel than strumming all down-strokes:
When alternating down-strokes and up-strokes for consecutive eighth-notes, it is not common to accent both eighth-notes on beats 2 & 4. It is common to accent the first eighth-note of beats 2 & 4.
Strumming an eighth-note feel with all downstrokes, and with alternating down-strokes and up-strokes has the same foundational importance as strumming a quarter-note feel. Virtually every song you play will contain, and often depend on, some combination and/or variation of these two feels.
Reuse all the Practice Loops in “Quarter-Note Feel“.
Recommended next article: “Eighth-Note & Quarter-Note Combinations” or “Rests, Half-Notes & Whole-Notes”.