How To Play Country Rhythm GuitarPosted by Mike Schuck
A lot of people get stuck when it comes to playing country rhythm guitar because they cannot play any chords! This is definitely not a good situation as there are an infinite number of songs that require some sort of chord progression or drop-in place for a known chord.
Fortunately, you do not have to be totally dependent on those pre-made patterns in order to start writing your own music! In this article, we will go over several easy ways to learn how to play your first few country rhythms. By learning these techniques, you can pick and choose which ones work best for you so you do not need to feel like you are starting from scratch.
Country music typically uses short harmonic progressions such as dominants, tonic-dominant forms, and half steps.
Listen to the song closely
It is very important to understand how to play rhythm guitar by listening to the country songs you love, and learning from their rhythms. When there are short breaks in the music, this article teaches you how to pick up the drums and use them as your rhythm guide.
When playing any type of rhythmic piece, like drum beats or bass lines, it helps to have an understanding of the meter (the pattern where there are more notes per measure) and the tempo (how fast the time goes). By knowing these two things, you can start creating your own rhythms and picking up tricks for using the drums to be your rhythm source!
This article will go into detail about how to play the rhythm track that uses only the index and middle finger of each hand. This way you do not need to use a kick pedal, and you do not have to worry about changing the pitch.
Learn the chords
Chords are one of the most fundamental things you will learn as a guitarist! They play an important role in many types of music, from pop to country.
Country is a great genre for beginners to try out because it uses a lot of rhythm! You’ll be learning how to play some simple timing patterns and sequences that can easily be transitioned into other songs. This article will help you start playing country guitar with this lesson about how to play your first chord.
What is a chord?
A chord is a set of strings (notes) that go together to make a tone or sound. A tonic chord usually starts the song and helps establish the melody.
In country music, the common chord structure used in almost every song is the standard major scale. The term “major scale” comes from the notes of the natural harmonic minor scale which have a sharped third (see diagram below). By adding a flattened fifth note, we get our normal major scale. These five notes create a solid base for any country tune.
The white keys on a piano also correspond to these notes in the scale. That means no matter what key a country song is in, they will still work for the same reason!
Standard Major Scale Chart
Step 1: Choose a string group – pick, bass, and treble
Choose a starting position by picking a string group- either bass, treble, or both.
Practice making the chords sound
Chords are one of the most important parts of playing any musical instrument. On guitar, they make up what we call an “ingredient” in many songs.
A chord is made up of at least two notes, usually separated by a space or a short amount of time. For example, the first note you take on the bass string of your guitar is A. The second note is G. These two notes combined create a BASS CHORD – the name comes from the bass part of a song that uses this chord as its main structure!
The next chord you play will be using those same two notes, but starting with the treble (high) strings instead of the bass ones. This means it will go UP in pitch!
These two notes combine into another tone, or third note. In this case, the third note is D. When you add these three notes together, they form a KEY CHARACTERISTIC OF THE CHORDS IDEA. This key characteristic is FREQUENCY.
This tells us how often the chord is played. There are twelve possible keys, or frequencies for a major scale, which has seven tones (or degrees). Each degree gets a different letter, so the major chord would be written like this: E-G-B-D-F#-G. The F# is called the FLUTE NOTE because it goes up very quickly before dropping down again.
Learn how to properly play the rhythm
The first part of learning how to play country guitar is knowing what hand you should use for each note, as well as which foot you should be using to accompany it. There are two main hands used in playing the rhythm or bass parts of any song: the index position and middle position.
The index position uses your thumb to press down onto the string, while the second finger presses upward on the bridge to hold the strings up. This creates a low-tone sound that can easily be modified by moving your fingers around or lifting them away from the notes.
To play an eighth note pattern with this technique, say one measure of music fast, then take a rest before starting the next bar of music, you would click the heel of your index finger against the side of your ring fingernail (making a noise like a high pitched tone) once per beat – making a total of eight clacks in a row! Then repeat for the other three beats of the eigth note pattern.
Learn how to use your hands properly
A lot of people get stuck playing guitar because they cannot position their left hand correctly. When you play an instrument, you must be able to access all of the notes on the guitar string easily, which means having enough space for your index finger to sit down comfortably.
If you notice that there is not enough room for your index finger to lie down smoothly, then try moving one of the other fingers or using a second pick instead of your first.
Some songs require only simple chords, so it does not matter too much if your index finger gets in the way. For more complex rhythms though, being able to position your hand correctly will make your music-making experience easier.
There are three main positions where your left hand can rest while playing country rhythm guitar. These are called the first position, the middle position and the third position.
Learn how to use your feet properly
When playing rhythm guitar, one of the most important things is knowing when to use which foot as a hammer. Your main hand can be using either the index or middle finger to tap out the pattern at a steady pace.
The easiest way to learn this trick is by thinking about walking. When you walk with your leg one set of muscles gets worked more than the other so we usually focus more heavily on the muscle group that gets less work.
When drumming something simple like the circle-one position uses both legs equally well. For example, if your drummer only uses her right leg then you would take advantage of this and only use her left leg!
This technique works for country rhythm guitar too. If the guitarist uses their back heel consistently they will not need to rely on their front foot very much.
Learn how to use your neck properly
When playing rhythm guitar, your hands can get pretty busy! The first part of learning how to play country rhythm guitar is making sure you are using your guitar’s neck correctly. Your index finger should be able to move up and down the fretboard easily, and being able to position it where you want it makes playing easier.
By thinking about your chord shapes in terms of major or minor chords, you will know what strings to press with which fingers. For instance, if you wanted to learn how to play an A Major Chord, your index finger would have to go into the second string (A) then third string (Major), and so on until you reach the final note, which would be the fifth string (A).
Knowing this will help you take things one step at a time and focus only on each individual note rather than trying to remember what order all the notes are in. You also must know when to rest your ring or middle finger on the barre/second fret while picking, as well as when to lift off the pick. This will keep your hand moving and syncopate the beat.
Another important thing to consider when practicing rhythm guitar is whether or not to include tremolo bars in your songs. Tremolos add some interesting flavor to a song, but they can become too long or excessive depending on how fast the music goes.
Learn how to use your voice properly
The first thing you should do when playing rhythm guitar is learn how to use your voice effectively! When playing an instrument, what people usually hear is the musician’s tone or their own inner voice. Your tone can be anything from singing, to moaning, to screaming – it all depends on what type of music you want to play!
Your melody or inner voice must remain consistent throughout any song, except for short breaks (references to other parts) that are okay as long as they don’t contain too much detail.
These micro-breaks give your mind a chance to relax and reorientate before moving onto the next part of the song. It also helps keep up momentum!
The second element to pay attention to while playing rhythm guitar is volume. You don’t need very loud headphones to be able to hear the rhythm, but making sure your amp isn’t cranking down its volume settings is important.
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