How To Improve My Rhythm Guitar PlayingPosted by Mike Schuck
A lot of people start playing guitar at a young age, usually learning how to play some popular songs. While that’s definitely a great way to begin, it is not necessarily the best way to learn how to play rhythm guitar!
You see, most music starts with an acoustic bass note (usually either a major or minor chord) before being embellished with other notes and chords. This process is called meter.
When you are able to recognize and count off the beats in a song, you have learned how to do rhythm! People who play rhythm guitar use these techniques to help them understand time signatures, modes, and even create their own rhythms and melodies.
There are many ways to improve your rhythm guitar playing but none more important than practice. You must consistently put in effort into practicing your technique so that it can be mastered.
It takes practice to achieve excellence in any skill or profession, including guitar playing. When you start practicing, try to do one thing every day for at least ten minutes. As with anything else, as your skills increase, you can reduce that time down.
But remember, even if you are just learning how to play the guitar, it will take a lot of work! You must be willing to put in effort into yourself daily.
Practice should be systematic, organized, and time efficient. There is no need to spend hours upon hours trying to improve what you are doing. That is why there are so many ways to learn music theory and technique.
Some people may suggest taking lessons, but this does not mean you stop practicing completely. In fact, working with a teacher is a great way to keep improving while also having someone who can help you stay focused.
At the end of the day, we all have different speed learners and this is okay! Some people are quick study theorists and then there are those who process information more slowly. This is totally normal and nothing to feel bad about!
What you should do though is recognize your natural rhythm ability and develop these areas through deliberate practice.
Create a practice schedule
After you have mastered note spelling, chord structure and rhythm patterns, it is time to focus on improving your rhythm guitar playing!
The first thing that will make a difference in how fast you improve your rhythm playing is creating a consistent workout routine. You want to pick a length of time each day where you can truly devote yourself to practicing your rhythm skills.
That means not watching TV or surfing the net while learning music, so that you have no distractions. You also don’t want to be too hard on yourself, as this could discourage you from practicing, but instead should be a gentle reminder to keep practicing every day.
How many times have we got out notebook and paper only to find ourselves wasting our precious practice time chatting with friends, doing something more interesting like studying another part of music, or just giving up and quitting because “today wasn’t my day”?
By having a structured habit of practice, you are going to avoid these pitfalls and maximize the benefits of your rhythm training.
You can do this by using a timer to set aside a specific amount of time for practicing. For example, if you spend one hour per week working on your rhythm playing then you would allocate 15 minutes per day for your practice session. Make sure to never start the session until the timer has been turned on!
After your practice session, you need to take a break.
Try to practice between sessions
After you have mastered one song, it is time to move onto the next! While some people may suggest practicing at night, this is not always possible for everyone. If you can’t practice when there are no events going on, then try to do so during the day.
Anytime of the day is good to practice as long as you don’t need special equipment or space to do so. You should be able to just take your guitar with you anywhere.
Practice every day if you can, but even a couple times per week is better than once in a while.
Use a metronome
A rhythm guitar player can use many different tools to learn how to play rhythms correctly, with consistency. The most common tool used to improve rhythm playing is a metronome!
A metronome helps create a steady flow of music by timing events (like notes or drum beats) in relation to other things. For example, it may make a tone sound for one minute, then silence for two minutes, and repeat. This effect creates a fluid bass line that shifts up and down depending on the rest of the song.
The best type of metronome for practicing rhythm skills is an LCD one that has time markers. You can press start at any time and let the clock do the work! This allows you to focus more on when each event should happen rather than having the device tell you when to start tapping.
You can also use the computer as a source of music if you have headphones or a speaker connected.
Learn to read music
The second key factor in improving your rhythm guitar playing is learning how to read music. While not every song needs complex rhythms, most songs contain some sort of pattern or structure that makes sense to play as you know them. By reading the music and figuring out what notes make up each part, you can create your own patterns that match the original ones!
Reading music is definitely an important skill to have if you want to truly improve your rhythm guitar playing. There are many ways to learn how to read music quickly. Some people may already be familiar with this technique, while others may need more guidance. Either way, it’s always helpful to know what tools and techniques other musicians use to hone their skills.
Here are five easy tips for beginners to learn how to read music efficiently.
Learn to use a digital recording device
One of the most fundamental things you can do to improve your rhythm guitar playing is learn how to use a digital recording device. There are many ways to do this, but we will focus on two main types: using your phone as a microphone or using an external microphone connected via USB.
The first way to do this is by choosing either the Track mode or Record mode in your smartphone’s music app. By doing this, you get to choose whether you want to have someone else speak into their phone or if you wanted to say something yourself, respectively.
By having someone else speak into their phone, the software converts that voice into computer-generated sounds which you can manipulate later. For example, you could slow down the pitch, add reverb, and so on. This is called autotuning and it’s very common practice for people who play instruments!
If you want to try out autotuning, you can easily find tutorials online or even ask one of your friends to help you out.
Compile a playlist of songs you wish to play
After getting your rhythm guitar basics down, it is time to start practicing! The first thing you should do is create a music collection or song list that contains songs you want to learn how to play.
By creating a pre-made playlist, you will be more likely to practice as you have organized and systemized the process.
You can use YouTube or any other site to find beginner level songs that contain easy rhythms. Once you have found these songs, organize them in order by album or artist so that you can quickly access a new track.
Distract yourself from bad habits
There’s no reason to feel like you can’t start learning something new because you didn’t learn it the day before. You can always start again!
If you think that there is no way that you could begin practicing your rhythm guitar skills, then I urge you to put those lessons aside for now and pick them up later when you feeling more confident.
Start by simply playing some simple patterns or songs you know already and work from there. Once you are able to play these easily, add in some difficult ones and keep going.
You will find that as time goes on, your skill level increases quickly. And don’t forget – practice makes perfect!
Practice every day and soon you’ll be rocking out effortlessly.
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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