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Green Day's strum patterns


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#1
Jollyroger118

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So after spending most of my life listening to Green Day I've realized they use a lot of the same strum patterns and whatnot and I was wondering if those are common in other bands too? Green Days great at somehow making the same patterns and chords sound different and unique every song (probably due to the melodies) but are those patterns used by other bands and do they do similar stuff like that too?? I've been trying to really figure out how music works and this would help



#2
Céadóg

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Well, yeah, they're just bog-standard punk power chord strum patterns. They've been used by every punk band ever. No one ever accused Green Day of being creative :P



#3
Eva

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They use the same strum patterns because they started out in the punk scene. A lot of the fast pop punk stuff developed from The Ramones, and Johnny Ramone only played power chords and down-stroked for most of their songs. The basic guitar style hasn't changed much because that's what makes punk music punk, stylistically speaking, and that's probably why they have the same strum patterns. It's a genre thing.



#4
Zack.

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Aside from simple eighth notes the whole way through (a lot of their songs) there aren't many notable ones. Good Riddance comes to mind with Quarter Quarter Eight Eight Eight Quarter Eighth Eighth Quarter Eighth Eighth Eighth and I'm pretty sure they have some with Quarter Eighth Quarter Eighth Eighth Eighth.



#5
Hermione

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I have to say that I know literally nothing about real strum patterns, but from being very familiar with playing "guitar" on Green Day Rock Band as well as most other Rock Band/Guitar Hero games I have noticed that there does seem to be something distinctive about the strumming, based on how it's translated into the game anyway :D. Kind of the same with other punk/pop punk songs as well (like, lots of the same chord fast in a row), but it seems Green Day in particular will go da da da da da and then dada quickly before changing to another chord, like da da da da da dada dee dee dee dee dee. And there's other stuff as well that's harder to pin down, their songs just feel the same to play (same with other bands who have multiple songs on those games too). I am curious to know if this is any kind of true reflection of a real pattern in their songs :lol:



#6
Zack.

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I have to say that I know literally nothing about real strum patterns, but from being very familiar with playing "guitar" on Green Day Rock Band as well as most other Rock Band/Guitar Hero games I have noticed that there does seem to be something distinctive about the strumming, based on how it's translated into the game anyway :D. Kind of the same with other punk/pop punk songs as well (like, lots of the same chord fast in a row), but it seems Green Day in particular will go da da da da da and then dada quickly before changing to another chord, like da da da da da dada dee dee dee dee dee. And there's other stuff as well that's harder to pin down, their songs just feel the same to play (same with other bands who have multiple songs on those games too). I am curious to know if this is any kind of true reflection of a real pattern in their songs :lol:

I know exactly what you're talking about. They only do it on some songs in the recordings but Billie does it nearly every chord change live. You can especially hear/see it in the acoustic version of Redundant.



#7
Sarcasm

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the most creative element of Green Day is the lyrics, thats no secret. Many songs are confused with each other. I don't see the bad thing in it, they did FBHT and The Network which was a bit broader musically.

#8
Funky Kong

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They use basic power chord punk structure but that's their sound it's given them success so might as well stick to it.



#9
Cat C

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I've always liked Basket Case's strumming pattern. There's nothing worse than hearing a cover from somebody who hasn't quite grasped it. It always used to surprise me how many people got it wrong but I guess we all can't be super fans! :)


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#10
Morrissey.

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I've always liked Basket Case's strumming pattern. There's nothing worse than hearing a cover from somebody who hasn't quite grasped it. It always used to surprise me how many people got it wrong but I guess we all can't be super fans! :)

It's a bit of an odd one to be fair! Took a while to get down for me, not even because of not knowing it but because it's not quite what one would expect and doesn't feel natural.

#11
The Disappearing Boy

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Yeah I still haven't got the strumming pattern for Basket Case down.I suppose I've never really bothered to learn it properly.



#12
Cat C

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It's a bit of an odd one to be fair! Took a while to get down for me, not even because of not knowing it but because it's not quite what one would expect and doesn't feel natural.

I picked it up quickly, but I was really familiar with the song beforehand so it felt natural. It's definitely more about feeling the song itself than it is being loyal to set ways of playing. 


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#13
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They use the same strum patterns because they started out in the punk scene. A lot of the fast pop punk stuff developed from The Ramones, and Johnny Ramone only played power chords and down-stroked for most of their songs. The basic guitar style hasn't changed much because that's what makes punk music punk, stylistically speaking, and that's probably why they have the same strum patterns. It's a genre thing.

pfft, Johnny used barre chords :dry: :P



#14
Eva

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pfft, Johnny used barre chords :dry: :P

it's pretty much the same concept though



#15
Zack.

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it's pretty much the same concept though

Barre chords are colored. Power chords are used explicitly to avoid color. Alternately because n00b guitarists can't into finger strength, but that's a side effect and not a feature.



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#16
Travis.

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it's pretty much the same concept though

Yeah, it doesn't matter much to me :P



#17
Khris

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I've always liked Basket Case's strumming pattern. There's nothing worse than hearing a cover from somebody who hasn't quite grasped it. It always used to surprise me how many people got it wrong but I guess we all can't be super fans! :)

Haha I actually always notice that too, mainly on the intro/bridge. It actually bugs the fuck out of me when people don't play it right. XD



#18
Todd

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You guys make me feel like a shitty punk and guitarist :(

#19
Hermione

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I know exactly what you're talking about. They only do it on some songs in the recordings but Billie does it nearly every chord change live. You can especially hear/see it in the acoustic version of Redundant.

Thank you for the confirmation! Knew there was something in that.



#20
Morrissey.

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On top of what's already been said, they also like to do what's called a "push" a lot, too. It's very common in punk in general actually but it's a feature in practically every Green Day song ever. It's basically a syncopation technique where the chord change comes between the last beat in one bar and the start of the next one (so the seventh quaver [that's an "eight note" to Americans, lol] in the bar). Then that chord will be held for the first quaver, or sometimes crotchet (quarter note) of the next bar. It tends to drive the song forward and give it more energy, especially in choruses (see: Uptight). Interestingly, they like to use it in verses and play straight in the choruses sometimes, flipping the idea on its head. The second chord in the main riff of American Idiot is a perfect example of it. And the third, actually. Having the guitar and bass play ahead of the drum beat in this way is a really interesting technique, and gets overlooked due to it being used a lot.
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#21
Jack

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I notice the quick little double-strums that Billie Joe sometimes does between chords. Since I don't really know how else to explain for those who aren't sure what I mean, here's a few seconds of "She's A Rebel" acoustic strumming that I recorded on my phone.

 

This seems to be more of a live thing for Billie Joe than something we hear on studio tracks. I think he tries to keep it out of most recorded songs, because it's basically just a percussive noise. I like it, though...adds some power to certain songs being played live.



#22
Hermione

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On top of what's already been said, they also like to do what's called a "push" a lot, too. It's very common in punk in general actually but it's a feature in practically every Green Day song ever. It's basically a syncopation technique where the chord change comes between the last beat in one bar and the start of the next one (so the seventh quaver [that's an "eight note" to Americans, lol] in the bar). Then that chord will be held for the first quaver, or sometimes crotchet (quarter note) of the next bar. It tends to drive the song forward and give it more energy, especially in choruses (see: Uptight). Interestingly, they like to use it in verses and play straight in the choruses sometimes, flipping the idea on its head. The second chord in the main riff of American Idiot is a perfect example of it. And the third, actually. Having the guitar and bass play ahead of the drum beat in this way is a really interesting technique, and gets overlooked due to it being used a lot.

Interesting!

Surprised no one has mentioned the quick little double-strums that Billie Joe sometimes does between chords. Since I don't really know how else to explain for those who aren't sure what I mean, here's a few seconds of "She's A Rebel" acoustic strumming that I recorded on my phone.
 
This seems to be more of a live thing for Billie Joe than something we hear on studio tracks. I think he tries to keep it out of most recorded songs, because it's basically just a percussive noise. I like it, though...adds some power to certain songs being played live.

That's what I was referring to with my much harder to understand description haha. I'm glad to know other people have noticed this.

#23
Jack

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That's what I was referring to with my much harder to understand description haha. I'm glad to know other people have noticed this.

Yep, I wondered if you were talking about the same thing, haha. Figured I'd show what I meant anyway. But yeah, it seems to be just a part of his playing style.



#24
Jollyroger118

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So ultimately these patterns and techniques are used by many punk bands?



#25
Zack.

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So ultimately these patterns and techniques are used by many punk bands?

Some of them.



#26
Jollyroger118

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Thanks for all the info guys, I learned some cool stuff



#27
John Aquino

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On top of what's already been said, they also like to do what's called a "push" a lot, too. It's very common in punk in general actually but it's a feature in practically every Green Day song ever. It's basically a syncopation technique where the chord change comes between the last beat in one bar and the start of the next one (so the seventh quaver [that's an "eight note" to Americans, lol] in the bar). Then that chord will be held for the first quaver, or sometimes crotchet (quarter note) of the next bar. It tends to drive the song forward and give it more energy, especially in choruses (see: Uptight). Interestingly, they like to use it in verses and play straight in the choruses sometimes, flipping the idea on its head. The second chord in the main riff of American Idiot is a perfect example of it. And the third, actually. Having the guitar and bass play ahead of the drum beat in this way is a really interesting technique, and gets overlooked due to it being used a lot.

Yeah I notice that in many Green Day songs especially in the earlier days. I think a lot of the times when he plays those live he would also do a down stroke instead of an up stroke when he switches the chords.



#28
Cat C

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Adding to what Hermione and Jack said, they tend to do a slower version of that open up-and-down strum between chord changes live. It's a classic technique, but I wouldn't say it was particularly punk because it slows the change down. Boulevard is a good example. 



#29
November's Storms

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A very interesting little thread :) I can't believe I've had to listen to Basket Case and American Idiot again to hear new stuff, their two biggest songs. :lol:



#30
Vic_Rattlehead

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Billie's palm muting strumming pattern, like the one in Basket Case, is actually pretty hard to replicate.




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