Can You Play Rhythm With An Electric Guitar?Posted by Mike Schumacher
An electric guitar is different from other types of guitars in one major way: it has strings that can be tuned to any note, anywhere between a high C and a low B flat! This allows you to make whatever notes you want, for whatever song or style you desire.
But before you get too excited, there’s a little something important you should know about playing rhythm with an electric guitar.
That thing is this: unless your guitarist happens to play in a really fast tempo, most songs are usually around 120 beats per minute (bpm). That means each beat takes three seconds at least!
So if your guitarist plays a short drum roll as a rhythm pattern, it will probably go like “dum-da-DAH dahhhh…” instead of something more like “DUM DUUUHHHH…”
This may sound pretty boring to you, but it’s not very inspiring! The best way to learn how to play some decent rhythm patterns is by learning some basic bass lines first.
I’m talking about beginner level bass lines here — just enough structure to feel natural. Then add some additional drums and a few chords underneath to make it a fully functioning groove.
Here are two easy bass line patterns you can practice using your feet!
Practice them slowly until you can do them without thinking and quickly as possible.
How can you use rhythm in guitar
The first thing we need to recognize as rhythmic instruments is that they all have a pulse! This means, regardless of what kind of music you are listening to, if there is a part where the song sounds like it is lacking in timing or has no steady beat, then it is probably because there is not enough rhythm being applied to the notes.
The easiest way to identify this is by paying close attention to the time signature. If the number of measures per row (or column) is not a whole number, then there is not enough rhythm present.
A common example of this would be a song with 4/4 time signature. That means each measure contains four beats. Songs with a 5/8 time signature will have five beats in one measure, and so on.
When learning how to play using rhythm, start practicing by playing single note strokes. These should be short, but very steady. Your hands do not need to touch for too long, however you may want to practice with some sort of meter to make sure your tempo does not slow down.
Once you get those going, add small melodies onto the stroke.
Learn the basics of rhythm
Now that you have mastered how to play some chords, it is time to move onto the next level!
The second way to learn how to play guitar rhythmically is by learning the basics of music theory. This includes things such as note names and intervals. You will also need to know about modes and tritone substitutions.
Modes are just like diatonic scales, but instead of only having notes from the natural or root position, they contain notes one whole step higher (eg A major mode contains F, G and A) and half steps lower (E minor contains E, B and D).
Tritone substitution means replacing a normal tone with another slightly different one. For example, the tritone substitute is the phyrne. In A major this would be G# (which looks like an inverted-G sharp), which sounds similar to the tonic in other words, it goes up one full step.
You can use these rules when practicing your rhythms! For instance, if you want to practice the song The Way That I Heal, there is a part where the bass line uses the same chord structure twice within a row. To make it more interesting, add tritones between each pair of beats, making sure to sync them together.
Practice using rhythm
When you practice playing with an acoustic guitar, you are usually focused only on how to play the notes of a song. But what if we asked you to take those notes and add another layer to your music making? What if we ask you to use some sort of meter in your songs as well?
That is when things get more interesting!
You would need to know how to count, or sync up your meter with a known time signature. A time signature is just like a number scheme for counting down (the most common being 4/4). This means that there are four beats per measure, which makes one whole quarter note hang off each beat.
This is why it is called “common” timing – because it is very familiar to us. We have all learned this basic timing before!
How to learn piano rhythms
If you are already able to play some simple melodies then you can start adding the second element into your music making by learning some easy piano rhythm patterns. These will include either regular rhymes or irregular ones!
Regular rhyme patterns go: and then, hit, tap, tick, slap, etc… An example of this would be dum da DA HARD BASS. The first part is a steady bass line and the other parts are hitting the instrument hard and fast.
Try playing using rhythm
In fact, you can even play your guitar without any strings at all! This is called an electric guitar or pick-up guitar. Some people also refer to this as a hollow body guitar because there is not solid wood used for the body like in a regular acoustic guitar.
There are many ways to play an electric guitar by hand. One of the easiest ways is to use rhythm. By using rhythm, it becomes easier to add bass notes to your songs since you have an instrument that already has low notes.
You can choose to do this either quickly (smoothly) or slowly (metronomically). There are many types of rhythms that you can learn how to play with different styles of music such as swing, funk, reggae, and others.
Is rhythm difficult to learn?
Even though most people can pick up guitar now and play some simple songs, not everyone is gifted with a natural sense of rhythm. It seems like there are never enough tutorials or examples that teach people how to play music with a steady pulse!
It’s very easy to get stuck thinking that you have to be trained in percussion to play the instrument effectively. This assumption comes from the fact that many musicians use drums for creating rhythms. After all, what good is an empty drum set?
But just because drums use a solid surface doesn’t make them any less abstract than a stringed instrument! Drums don’t actually “beat out” a constant tone like a xylophone does, so it’s wrong to assume that every drummer has a built-in internal clock like someone who plays the violin.
That said, having a basic understanding of timing is important when playing the guitar. And even if you’re not totally sure where each note goes, there are ways to help you develop your intuition.
This article will go into more detail about how to start practicing your rhythm skills on the guitar.
What are some tips for playing rhythm?
The first tip is to learn your main rhythm pattern slowly!
Most people start picking up guitar quickly by copying what someone else does, but this isn’t the best way to do it. Copying other musicians’ songs is great if you want to create your own music, but if you want to play along to existing music then you should pick out your favorite patterns and notes and work from there.
By learning your main rhythm pattern slow, you will more easily recognize it when you hear it. This can help in two ways: you may already have part of the pattern in mind so you can just match those notes, or at least know where it starts.
The second tip is to practice with a metronome. A metronome works by timing how long it takes to go down a whole note, or up a half-note, or whatever note unit you use to measure time.
You can make the tempo very fast (too fast) or very slow (too slow), and usually they have several settings. Using a faster speed helps you get into a quicker rhythm, while using a slower one helps you keep a steady beat.
Some people also add clicky sounds to their beats, which really set off the rhythm.
Rhythm is important
Even if you can’t read music, you can still learn how to play rhythm! There are many ways to do this. Some people start by singing or humming patterns that go together to make a song.
You can also use instruments to help you get the hang of it. An easy way to begin playing rhythm using an instrument is to clap along with the notes as they come in.
For example, say there’s a one-two -one- two-three pattern in a song. Clapping like this would be your “claps.” The first clap will be on the one, then the second clap will be on the two, and lastly the third clap will be on the three.
Now try doing the same thing but only put some holes in between each clap. That is, instead of having a solid line of silence between every note, have a short gap.
This technique is called syncopation and it creates a fun rhythm effect.
Find the right rhythm
The first way to learn how to play rhythm with your guitar is by finding the correct timing pattern for the notes of the song you want to play. When playing any type of music, there are three main components that make up a piece-meter, time, and note value.
In music theory courses, these concepts are learned in detail, but for now just know that meter is what makes up the structure of a song or piece. A metric sentence like “And then I got out of bed” would be one example of meter!
The second part of learning how to play rhythm with your electric guitar is knowing when to use each type of meter. There are two types of meters – syncopated and polyrhythmic.
You will mostly probably start off practicing using syncopation before moving onto polyrhythmics.
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