How to Strum the Guitar Like John Lennon

Written by cecelia owens
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How to Strum the Guitar Like John Lennon
Lennon played many different guitars, but was most associated with his Rickenbacker. (playing the guitar image by egirldesign from

Strumming like John Lennon can make the difference between playing the guitar with enormous confidence and grace and not having a stage presence. John Lennon, famous for his singing and songwriting, played a six-stringed Rickenbacker guitar. Strumming like John Lennon requires edge during fast songs and almost perfection during slow, romantic songs. Knowing how to strum like John Lennon can help you become a better guitarist.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Move or rock your knees up and down while nodding your head to accomplish the typical stage movements of John Lennon. The head bobbing will help you jam and mimic the movements of the guitar-playing.

  2. 2

    Use the pick to play the notes up and down. Songs such as "Can't Buy Me Love," "I've Just Seen A Face" and "Help!" have mad, intense strumming sequences that require quick, swift movements. The swift movements need to feel almost angry and frustrated.

  3. 3

    Place your thumb on the first string or "low E." Guitarists usually use their index finger to hold this string, but holding the "low E" with your thumb allows you to hold the note more securely, and therefore, produce a funkier, Lennon-like beat. When you have to go up and down the neck of the guitar, slide your hand and reposition your thumb on the "low E" cord.

  4. 4

    Hold the cord, and then strum the notes that you want to play. Lennon favoured the bottom three strings or the strings that are closest to the ground: high "E," "B" and "G." Hold these three strings with your fingers while holding the "low E" with your thumb.

  5. 5

    Strum the notes to a slow song as perfectly as you can. On slow songs, you do not have to use the "low E," but the high "E," "B" and "G" are still favoured. This means that you must stress every note instead of mashing the notes together. Not using the thumb will make for a softer melody. In songs such as "Imagine," "Woman" and "The Luck of the Irish," the slow movements of the strings make for a lower melody and a romantic song.

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