How To EQ A Rhythm GuitarPosted by Mike Schuck
In this article, we will be talking about how to play rhythm guitar. This includes knowing what chords to use in songs, playing rhythmic patterns, and applying some basic technique to improve your sound.
While there are many ways to learn how to play rhythm guitar, one of the most effective is learning through song analysis. By listening to songs that include rhythm guitar parts and studying the licks and techniques used, you can pick up some helpful tips.
There are several types of rhythm guitars. We will focus mostly on using the index finger as your picking hand here. But before getting into specific exercises, let’s review the basics of note placement with our left hand.
Left-hand fingering for bass notes
To play a bass note, simply lift your first finger (the pinky) off the string and position it at a place two strings away from the fretboard. Then press down with your second finger (index), bringing the tip of the nail just barely grazing the next higher string.
Your third finger (middle) should be slightly curved upwards, acting like a hammerer helping to press out the tone. When practicing these steps, make sure your middle, ring, and little fingers all touch the other three together!
This method of bass note fingering uses your index finger to act as both a starting and stopping marker.
Listen to music to learn how to play rhythm guitar
First, you need to listen to music! There are many ways to learn how to play rhythm guitar. You can learn by learning individual licks or chords and playing those along with a meter (the pattern of beats) and a metric position (where each beat falls).
You can also learn how to strum patterns and how to combine different types of strums to make your song more interesting. All of these things depend on what notes you are hearing in the songs that you want to imitate or add to your repertoire.
Music theory is another way to learn about music. This includes studying intervals, modes, tritone substitutions, parallel motion, and others. These concepts apply to how you organize your songs and how you structure your riffs and melodies.
Intervals are what separate one note group from another. For example, an octave is a whole-half tone gap, a major third is a half-full toned gap, etc. Modes are recurring musical structures that use certain intervals frequently. Learning about both of these takes some time to grasp but once you do, you will have a lot of new tools to use for inspiration.
There are several great resources available online and through books that teach music theory as well as how to read sheet music. But no matter what method you choose, just listening and practicing will be the most important parts of your journey.
Make a list of songs that you like on rhythm guitar
There are many great songwriters out there, and their music is mostly made up of three main instruments: vocals, lead guitar, and rhythm guitar. When someone else’s song uses these tools effectively, you can usually tell how experienced they are as musicians because of this.
When it comes down to it, good rhythm guitarists just know cool licks and sequences well! They may also be familiar with theory concepts such as modes or chord shapes.
But beyond that, the best rhythmic guitarists have fun doing it! If a riff or sequence sounds cool, then play it! Or learn something similar so that your playing matches what the artist originally did.
And lastly, when practicing, try to focus more on timing than anything else. The most advanced players use common time (100 beats per minute) for practice, but even those start off learning triplet timing (33% faster than normal).
Figure out the chord changes
The next step in learning how to play rhythm guitar is figuring out which chords you are going to use for each verse. This process is called determining your song structure or figureing out the e-q-r pattern of the music!
A lot of songs begin with an intro, followed by a main part that contains the lyrics and then a coda (also known as a break). During these parts, the musician will go back and forth between playing a set number of notes and/or chords and silence.
When musicians talk about being in time they mean making sure that what note you are writing matches what time frame it belongs to. For example, if a bass line has eight notes in one minute, then it is in time when there is a full minute in between every eighth note.
Learn to read chord charts
Chords are one of the most fundamental concepts in music. Luckily, with technology, you can now access chords anywhere! There are many ways to learn how to play guitar using chords, but none seem more straightforward than learning how to read chord diagrams.
Reading chord diagrams is no different than reading any other type of chart – you start at the bass note and work your way up. The important thing about reading chord diagrams is making sure that you know what finger each string corresponds to.
For example, if you were to look at an A major chord diagram, you would see the first note as an A string, then the second as a major third (B string), and so on until you get to the top where it says “ring”. The ring string is typically the middle or pinky string for the given chord.
This article will go into detail about some easy to follow steps to quickly become familiar with reading chord diagrams.
Practice playing along with you
In rhythm guitar, one of the most important things is practicing how to play your songs! There are many ways to do this, but one of the best is to practice listening to music and playing what you hear.
You can take any song you like and learn the bass line first and then add the chords underneath. Or you can start by learning the chords and work from there.
Either way works, just make sure you know the notes in the chord and where they go before moving onto the next part!
Another good method is to pick an easy song that you know well and then try to match its rhythm at half speed.
Once you have those down, you can slowly increase the tempo until you get it perfectly matched.
Play using a metronome
Using a device that has become ubiquitous among guitarists these days is a good way to start practicing your rhythm guitar. A great way to use a metronome in your practice is to add it as a second song source.
You can have both songs set up with different tempo meters and see which one sounds better! The best way to do this is by having one be computer software and the other being an app or track on your phone.
The easiest way to find the correct meter for any song is to know what the main chord shapes are and how many notes there per measure. By looking at the chords of the song, you can determine the number of beats per measure.
Learn to use a drum machine
The second most important tool for rhythm guitarists is the computerized drum instrument, or MIDI-equipped device such as a drum machine. A drummer uses these instruments to create music by hitting different parts of the instrument with their hands or feet!
A good rhythm guitarist knows how to use a drum machine effectively. There are many types of software drums out there, some that cost quite a bit, and some free ones that work just as well if not better.
I will list several reasons why you should learn how to use a drum machine in this article, but first let’s talk about what kind of player you want to be.
What type of musician do you want to be?
Most musicians play more than one instrument, so whether you decide to focus on vocals, bass, keyboard, guitar, or whatever else, knowing how to use a drum machine can help you become very skilled at it.
But before we get into specific applications and features, like which type of drum machine is best for advanced players, I would like to discuss two things first.
Record yourself playing
If you’re looking to learn how to play rhythm guitar, first of all, you have to be able to listen! Recording yourself playing is one of your greatest resources for learning how to play the instrument.
Not only will this show people what you are capable of doing, but it will also help you notice any patterns or mistakes that may trip up tone, tempo, or style.
By listening to your own songs, notes, riffs, and solos, you can then use those as references to create new music or improve upon existing pieces.
The Jam Addict team is a revolving door of writers who care about music, its effects on culture, and giving aspiring artists tools and knowledge to be inspired and keep on creating.
If you have any questions or concerns or just want to drop us a line, don't hesitate to contact us! We always appreciate the feedback.