How To Get Better Rhythm On GuitarPosted by Mike Schuck
When you are learning how to play guitar, your first instinct will probably be to look at rhythm guitars. These have slightly off-beat or syncopated rhythms that can seem very tricky to learn!
That is totally normal! Many musicians struggle with creating smooth rhythmic patterns for years before they figure out what makes them tick. It’s definitely not easy!
Luckily, there are some basic concepts that help most people pick up this trick sooner or later. In this article, we will go over three of these tips. They will all focus on something called the pulse.
The pulse is an important part of music that many beginners often get wrong. Once you understand it, fixing the timing in songs should come easier.
Practice playing along with music
When you start practicing guitar, your first instinct may be to pick up a chord structure or position sheet and try to play what they tell you! This is definitely a good starting place, but there’s more to it than that.
You should never practice just by reading a book or listening to a playlist; instead, find an easy song you can learn the chords and lyrics of completely from scratch and play those.
Practice using real songs as guides is one of the most effective ways to get better quickly. And don’t worry if you make a mistake, chances are someone has already done this track before so there are lots of resources available for help!
Once you have the basics down, you can move onto learning some basic rhythm patterns. These apply directly to how well you will play the guitar in time!
This article will go into detail about some simple rhythms and how to play them on the guitar.
Learn to read music
The second key element to becoming a better rhythm guitarist is learning how to read music! This will not only help you pick up new songs, but also expand your repertoire as an improviser.
As we have mentioned before, reading music is one of the most fundamental skills that aspiring guitarists should learn.
But what does it mean to “read” music? It means to identify or recognize the notes, rhythms, and melodies in a piece. You can do this by either looking at the lyrics or listening to the song.
By doing both, you will soon be able to tell which parts of a song are more focused on rhythm and which ones have discrete melodies. By using these markers, you can focus more on adding some groove to the part that needs it, and remove any clutter by choosing different sections or picking another instrument.
There are many ways to approach reading music. Some people may already know how to read and they might feel very comfortable with it, while others may need some extra guidance.
Practice playing while taking a break
The second way to get better rhythm is by practicing how to play while breaking down the song or piece into smaller chunks. This can be done at home, in a studio, or even outside!
You can take your time and focus only on one part of the music for extended periods of time.
Learn to sing along with music
A very important part of learning how to play guitar in tune is being able to recognize what note each song is. Most people are not trained in this skill, which is why so many musicians have trouble playing their instruments in sync!
By training your ears to listen to music, you’ll be better at identifying notes and chords. Learning how to sing along with songs is an excellent way to do this as it requires no knowledge of music theory or equations.
You can learn how to sing-song-along by listening and copying the vocal parts of a song. The easier ones to know are the chorus, verse, and instrumental riffs – these are usually the most recognizable sections of a song.
Once you get the hang of it, try singing different melodies and lyrics to see how well you work together. Try using time signatures other than 4/4 too! Fun to do.
Practice playing while using a metronome
A fast way to get better rhythm is by practicing with a music-playing device called a metronome. You can use your phone, computer or tablet as a metronome!
A metronome will count down at a steady pace, then stop for a set amount of time, before starting up again. It can be helpful to have a metronome that has different tempo settings so you can test various speed levels to find one that’s perfect for you.
Some people even put their phones in front of them when they practice so the timing automatically updates.
Try using a guitar pick
A less popular way to get better rhythm is by trying use of a guitarist’s pick. Technically, a pick isn’t needed for playing most songs, but it can help you develop your rhythm skills.
A pick comes in many shapes and sizes, which makes them very versatile. You can try one with every chord!
Some people only ever use their picks as decorations because they’ve trained their hands to play without one. That’s totally okay!
But why not give this tool a second chance? Learning how to use a pick will improve your music-making significantly. And if you already know how to play some chords, picking up the art of timing is easy enough!
The trick is to learn how to use your pick correctly. For instance, rolling off the stick instead of pushing down directly onto each string would be best.
And remember, no matter what shape or size pick you choose, it should fit into your hand well and feel comfortable. Pick too big and it won’t work properly, pick too small and it won’t sound good.
Ensure your guitar is clean
After you have mastered the basics, it’s time to move onto more advanced concepts! The first thing you should do as a beginner guitarist is make sure your instrument is in top shape. This means checking that there are no cracks or breaks anywhere on the body of the guitar, that its strings are tight and matching, and that its equipment like pick guards, truss rod coverings, etc. are working properly.
If any of these are out of place then you could potentially hurt yourself later when playing the guitar. You don’t want this to happen! So, keep an eye on them and fix if necessary.
Also, try not to overstress the guitar by putting too much pressure on it while it’s still warm from the day before. That can cause it to warp or break down eventually. Avoid practicing with excessive force.
Use a humidifier in the room
In playing guitar, your rhythm is mostly determined by how quickly you are able to produce notes and how well you can combine these notes into longer sequences or patterns.
The timing of this process is influenced by several things, including your breathing, the temperature in the room, and the humidity in the air. If those factors are not appropriate, it will negatively influence your rhythm.
Too fast of a breath rate will result in notes that come too rapidly, making it hard to understand the music. Too slow of a breath rate will result in missed or broken chords, which does not sound good!
By having a constant flow of moisture in the lungs, muscles involved in breathing relax, which helps promote a more steady pace. Baking in a warm room may cause dry skin, but again, your timing won’t matter as much if you are unable to feel it.
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.
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