How To Strum Songs in 12/8 Time Signature

How To Strum Songs in 12/8 Time Signature

This is a time signature you have heard before: 50’s ballads.

12/8 really feels like 4/4, but it has a tertial subdivision of every beat.

A 12/8 measure feels more like:

ONE two three
four five six
SEVEN eight nine
ten eleven twelve

… than it feels like “ONE two THREE four”

Other notable song examples in 12/8 are “House of The Rising Sun”

Or Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey”

Here’s a cool 6/8 strum rhythm

It’s interesting because it involves two different speeds in the strumming arm.

Down down up down
Down up down

In the first 4 strums, the strumming arm moves faster, in the last 3 strums, it moves more slowly.

It looks like this:

For 12/8, you’d just play that pattern twice in a row.
This will all make more sense in the following video.


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