How To Play Better Rhythm GuitarPosted by Mike Schumacher
When it comes down to it, rhythm guitar is all about timing. You have to know when to start a note, how long to hold each note, and when to move onto the next one. It’s also important to know what kind of rhythms you can play, such as syncopation or polyrhythm.
There are several ways to learn how to play rhythm guitar. By practicing both slow and fast patterns, and mixing them together, you will naturally pick up some very basic skills. The best way to improve your rhythm playing is by doing, which means trying out different techniques in real situations.
You should never feel like you have to stick to a technique that doesn’t work. If something feels wrong, try another one! No matter how experienced you become, there is always more you can learn.
Pay attention to the timing of the song
A rhythm guitar part is made up of two or more sections that are usually one note per string, but some may have multiple notes per string! These sections can be broken down into even-numbered beats (normal tempo) or odd-numbered beats (double tempo).
Become a 'Drummer 4/4 Life' with our exclusive JA t-shirt!
Show your dedication to rhythm with our unique 'Drummer 4/4 Life' t-shirt. Proudly display a music staff with the 4/4 time signature, the heart of most popular music beats. This piece of Jam Addict attire not only makes a bold statement about your passion for drumming, but it also lets you be a part of the JA community, a team dedicated to fostering musicians for years.
The hardest part about playing rhythm guitar is knowing when to add new pieces to the pattern and how to blend them in with what exists already.
It’s hard to say if you’re just not listening well or if it’s because you don’t know what songs contain these rhythms and you’ve never practiced them before, but either way there are ways to fix this.
This article will go over some basic concepts for learning how to play rhythm guitar and apply them to a familiar song – check out Link: How To Practice With A Metronome.
Learn to read chord symbols
Chords are one of the most fundamental concepts in music, and it is easy to learn how to play them! Almost every song contains at least one or more chords, so learning your fingers how to recognize these chords is an integral part of playing guitar.
Knowing which notes make up each chord is also important, as this determines what keys you can use the chord in. For instance, if you know that A major chord has three notes, then you can determine that any note except A makes up the third chord position.
The first position is always the root (or bass) tone, usually written with a lower case b. The second position is either the fifth or octave degree, depending on whether the chord is minor or major, respectively. The third position is the seventh, which is sometimes called the leading tone.
By knowing these positions, you can start creating some cool melodies! For example, say you want to write a melody using the A major chord. You could place the tonic (root) note as the A, and then add a natural (fifth) flat as the second chord element. Then, add a sharp (seventh) as the third chord element, and you have created a simple arpeggio pattern that repeats twice.
This process can be done in reverse as well; starting from the last chord element and working towards the root.
Learn to sing along
It is very important to be able to sing along when playing guitar. You can do this easily by using your voice as an internal microphone! When you play a note, you can say it out loud or you can simply think of it and then speak it into your device (laptop, phone, tablet).
Alternatively, you can use one of the many apps that have singing features which allow you to sync with music.
Practice playing along with songs
The second way to play rhythm guitar is by learning how to play along with a song. This can be done either quickly or slowly, depending on your time frame.
Quickly practicing this technique will not only help you learn how to play some cool riffs and licks, but it will also give you an understanding of how music works in general.
Practicing along with a song gives you an opportunity to analyze what parts of the song are making the melody and how the notes relate to each other.
This article will go into more detail about how to practice this method.
Learn to use your own rhythm
It is very important to know how to use your own internal rhythm when playing guitar. Your natural instinct will usually be to match whatever music you are listening to or reading with what note goes up, down, or stays the same in a song.
This is great if you want to play like Taylor Swift! But it can get boring for the listener if you keep doing this. And it does not work well if you want to learn how to play your own songs.
You have to learn how to play using your own rhythm otherwise it will sound boring and flat. Boring for the audience and yourself as well!
There are many ways to achieve this. You do not need to know all of them, but you should at least understand the basics of how to use your own rhythm.
Learn to use your own timing
The second key factor in playing rhythm guitar is learning how to use your internal clock to time when to play notes. You can learn how to do this by practicing, practice, more practicing!
Practice slowly at first so that you can understand the rhythms better and then speed up until you are gliding across the fretboard without thinking about where next note goes or what tone it needs.
This will take some time to achieve but once you have, you’ll find yourself using your natural timing much more effectively. Also, having a basic understanding of music theory can help you identify the right tones for each chord as well as recognize which chords go with which rhythmic patterns.
Learn to use chords
Chords are one of the most fundamental concepts in music, and it is very easy to learn how to play them! There are two main types of chords: major and minor.
A chord that contains at least three different notes is considered a tri-tone chord (also called an “odd” chord). For example, G–B–D would be a Gmaj7(or sometimes just Maj7) chord. The first letter represents the root note, which is usually written as an index position next to the word “G.” Then there is a – B, or second degree tone, and a – D, or third degree tone.
Knowing this basic concept makes it easier to understand the term “pitch circle.” A pitch circle is the area where all members of a given octave share their corresponding tone. In other words, all of the notes within a single octave have the same size pitch circle. This means that if you want your bass guitar to sound like E flat, you can either look up what that note is, or find the smallest possible pitch circle for the string and then lower that pitch down by that amount.
The easiest way to remember this is that notes with larger pitch circles are higher pitched and those with smaller ones are lower pitched.
Learn to use your own bass line
The next level of rhythm guitar playing is being able to create your own bass lines! This can be done by simply picking out notes that fit together into a pattern or creating your own patterns with simple rhythms.
The easiest way to start is just using an existing bass chord as a template and then changing the lyrics to match what note each string of the instrument is struck. For example, if you are learning the first position Bass Chord, play it as shown here:
Bass – G Major Chord
String 1: Open String
String 2: A String
String 3: High E String
Then change the lyric to say “I’m going down for the count” and play the following bass chords:
G Minor – String 1- Low E
– String 1- Low D Sharp
– B Flat – String 2- Mid E
– F Natural – String 3- High E
You get the idea! Just take any bass chord and switch up the lyrics to make new songs.
Another easy way to learn how to play basslines is starting from one bar lengths and adding onto it. Starting at a one beat length, add another rest (no pick) and keep adding onto it until you reach a half meter or whole meter length.
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.