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Root and Fifth - Advanced Strumming Technique

Updated: Mar 11

Like we looked at in the Root and Chord video, splitting chords up into their lower notes and higher notes is a lot more musical than strumming all the strings at the same time. Here we will go a step further and target the root note and fifth of the chord. This adds a nice bass line to your rhythm guitar part.

This is very common in music, something you’ll hear a lot in country and folk music but also in all styles of music.


A chord is made up of the Root, a 3rd and a 5th 

Looking at the D major chord, it is made up of the Root, 3rd and 5th notes of the D major scale.















D major guitar chord showing root and 5th fifth

On the Guitar, The layout of the open position D Major chord is……

Root note - D is the 4th string open

5th - A is the 5th string open or the 2nd fret of the 3rd string 

Generally you will play the Root on the 1st beat of the bar and then the 5th on beat 3, strumming in the gaps in beats 2 and 4.

A key thing here is to strum with the wrist as you will need the accuracy to play the correct strings.

The root of a chord is the lowest string in that chord. So in D the root note is the 4th string open. 

Finding the 5th is easy, it will be the same note/fret on the lower string, so in D, the 5th string open is the 5th of the chord. 

In a fretted chord like C, the root note is the 3rd fret of the 5th string, so the 5th of the chord is the 3rd fret on the 6th string.

The 5th can also be found on the string above the root note and 2 frets up, so in a chord like E, The root note is the 6th string open, so the 5th is on the 2nd fret of the 5th string.

So we can use the 5th below or above the chord, there are no rules, so just use which you think sounds best in the moment.

Root and 3rd, 

We don’t always have to use the 5th. In a chord like G, The root note is the 3rd fret of the 6th string, if we alternate that with the note on the 5th string (2nd fret) we get the 3rd of the chord.

So really we’re playing Root Note on beat 1 and on beat 3 another note of the chord, 3rd, 5th or even a different octave root note.


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