Playing Rhythm Guitar: Understanding Triplets Part 2


In our previous tutorial, Understanding Triplets Part 1, we looked at the basics of how to count triplets.

In this tutorial, we turn our attention to playing triplets on the guitar.

Specifically, we will look at how to perform triplet strumming patterns.

Recall from Rhythm Guitar Basics Part 8, that eighth notes are often picked as follows.


Notice that we use down-strokes on the beat, and up-strokes for the upbeat (the “ands”).

How to Strum Triplets

When we move to triplets, something interesting happens…

Triplet passages can actually be performed three different ways.

Method 1

All down-strokes are used.

This way of strumming triplets is common in rock and pop music.

strumming triplets 1

Method 2

This picking pattern is down, up, down.  This is repeated for each subsequent triplet.

strumming triplets 2

Method 3

The third way of performing triplets uses alternate picking

strumming triplets 3

The way you count triplets remains the same regardless of which picking pattern you use.

Which Triplet Picking Pattern is Best?

Context will determine which picking pattern will work best.  This is why you will want to be comfortable using all three methods.

Be sure to practice all three triplet strumming patterns until they feel natural.

At first, mute all strings and strum the triplet patterns using the three different picking methods.

Once you feel comfortable doing this, try the patterns with some chords.

Make sure you use your metronome and count out loud as you perform these different triplet picking patterns.

In our next tutorial, we will take this a step further and apply triplet strumming patterns to chord progressions and mix up the rhythm figures a bit.

Recommended Resource

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Playing Rhythm Guitar: Understanding Triplets Part 2 — 1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Playing Rhythm Guitar: Understanding Triplets Part 3 | Guitar Accelerator Blog: Play Guitar - Electric and Acoustic Guitar Lessons

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