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Bluegrass Guitar Lesson: Embellishing Your Boom Chuck Strumming with Bryan Sutton


One of the most important and common rhythm guitar methods and strumming patterns utilized in the bluegrass genre is known as the Boom Chuck. This Boom Chuck strumming sequence is designed to emulate the rhythmic parts of both the upright bass and mandolin players within a traditional bluegrass ensemble.


The guitarist accomplishes this by strumming each chord’s lowest note, or bass note, on beats one and three of each measure with the bass player, and the rest of the chord with the mandolinist on beats two and four. Last month, we published an in-depth bluegrass guitar lesson outlining the basic sound and style of the Boom Chuck approach, which you can view here.


In this online guitar lesson, Grammy Award-winning guitarist, ten-time IBMA “Guitar Player of the Year,” and ArtistWorks bluegrass guitar instructor, Bryan Sutton, expands on the fundamentals of the Boom Chuck and teaches several techniques to vary your strumming and embellish the traditional pattern. As you continue to progress on the acoustic guitar, this will help keep your playing fresh and interesting as you navigate a growing number of bluegrass tunes.


LEARN MORE: Want to learn how to play bluegrass guitar from a master musician like Bryan Sutton? Try some free online guitar lessons now!


“Adding strumming embellishments brings a different sort of energy to your playing,” Bryan explains. “The embellishments provide a lift in liveliness. They provide more activity and raise the dynamic level. This is why we use these techniques.”


As you begin exploring these embellishments to the Boom Chuck strumming pattern, it’s important to be cognizant of when to employ them and when not to. Just because you may be capable of playing the rhythmic pattern with more complexity doesn’t necessarily mean you always should.


“There’s nothing wrong with playing the most basic Boom Chuck pattern,” Bryan explains. “Sometimes leaving that extra space is critical and completely correct. It’s important to either add complexity or simplify our playing in the right contexts. As players, we need to be nimble.”


To learn more about the Boom Chuck pattern, methods for embellishing it, and how to expand your rhythm guitar vocabulary, dive into this online guitar lesson from Bryan Sutton:


Embellishing Your Boom Chuck Strumming with Bryan Sutton:



This lesson is part of a series of lessons called the “Rhythm Guitar Toolbox” that Bryan recently added to his comprehensive bluegrass acoustic guitar course here at ArtistWorks. If you enjoyed this lesson, sign up for Bryan’s course, keep your momentum going, and take your flatpicking to the next level. Click here to join today.



Have you always wanted to learn how to play acoustic guitar? Through our comprehensive guitar lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn from internationally renowned players, like Bryan Sutton, and get personal feedback on your playing.


Bryan’s course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner guitar to advanced flatpicking techniques, classic bluegrass tunes, and beyond. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as flatpick guitar players and musicians.


Try out some free sample music lessons here and see what makes ArtistWorks courses some of the best online music lessons around!



Bluegrass Guitar Lesson: The Boom Chuck Style & Sound with Bryan Sutton

Bryan Sutton’s Bluegrass Acoustic Guitar Course: Additions & Updates

ArtistWorks Music Series—Bryan Sutton Interviews His Father, Jerry Sutton




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