How To Play Guitar Rhythm Patterns

Posted by Mike Schuck

When playing guitar, one of the most fundamental parts is knowing how to play rhythm patterns. These are songs that do not have any main chord changes but rather continuous rhythmic figures or strokes.

Many people start learning how to play music by studying chords first and then moving onto notes and melodies. But before you learn about notes and melodies, you must begin with the basics: understanding rhythms!

It’s easy to pick up some basic beats in a song like “Happy Birthday” or “YMCA.” Both of these songs use short eighth-notes as their rhythm pattern. Eighth-note quarter notes make up another common rhythm pattern called a dotted note figure.

Join the JA team and grab a cool t-shirt!

Check out our Jam Addict attire and become a part of the team that has been training drummers and musicians for years!
Jam Addict Course

Other popular rhythm patterns include half notes for normal timing and sixteenth notes for very quick timing. It is important to be familiar with all five of these rhythm patterns because it will help you achieve your goal which is to play several thousand different songs!

There are three types of rhythm patterns used in this article: triplet, double, and long meter. All three can be applied to any type of song, even if there are no chords changing.

Practice recording and playing back tracks

how to play guitar rhythm patterns

The next step is to practice recording your own songs or music that you want to learn how to play rhythm patterns on. This can be done with any instrument, not just guitar!

Practice by yourself first – this will help you recognize the pattern and what notes go into it. Then, try practicing at a slow tempo first before increasing the speed.

You can also use computer software to record your song or track and then edit the pattern in or add one yourself.

Work on memorizing patterns

how to play guitar rhythm patterns

It is impossible to play guitar without knowing how to read music, but that does not mean you have to learn very complicated music theory or skill with instruments! Learning how to play guitar rhythm patterns is one of the easiest things you can do to expand your guitar repertoire.

It will help you develop your song writing skills by learning easy songs start to finish. You will also be able to apply these techniques in other areas such as practicing basic chords and scales.

There are many ways to learn guitar rhythm patterns. Some people may already know some cool patterns so they could teach you those or maybe you’d like to pick up something new. No matter what, we all need to start from somewhere though!

The best way to get started is to choose a pattern that you want to practice and then work through each note step-by-step. Take your time and enjoy it – this will take around five minutes per chord section.

After that, move onto the next chord and repeat! Keep doing this until you reach the end where you can connect everything together into one long sequence.

Make a guitar rhythm chart

how to play guitar rhythm patterns

The next step in learning how to play guitar rhythm is making a guitar rhythm chart or pattern. A basic rhythm chart goes like this:

Start by picking an initial note, say the first beat’s pulse-beats per minute (ppm) one!

Then choose a second chord, either a major or minor third interval.

Next, pick your feet, which will be either syncopation (one foot moves forward then back) or double time (both feet move as one).

After that, you can add notes to the rhythm, either at the same tempo or faster/slower!

The timing of these notes depends on whether the rest between the chords is short or long. Short rests are usually half a measure long, while longer ones are a whole measure. Use the timing table below for help.

Try playing the chart

how to play guitar rhythm patterns

It is very common to learn a guitar rhythm pattern as a whole before breaking it down into its parts. This can get really tedious, especially if you are not used to reading music. Luckily, there is an easier way!

You can instead break the rhythm pattern up into smaller pieces or motifs that already have notes in them. These rhythmic motifs are called figures. You can use figure 1 for any number of beats, figure 2 for two, and so on.

Once you know how to play one figure, you can mix and match them together to make different patterns quickly. Let’s look at some examples!

Practice these practice exercises using this chord sequence and this metric structure. Start by learning the figural names and then move onto figuring out the timing.

Practice making perfect

how to play guitar rhythm patterns

The second way to learn guitar rhythm patterns is by practicing them in all possible situations! This can be done either via headphones or through music. If you are more familiar with other instruments, this method can be even easier to understand as you may already know some of these rhythms.

By learning how to play simple bass lines and drum beats, you will already have a head start when it comes to mastering the basics of playing guitar rhythm. Once you have those down, adding in additional pieces becomes much simpler!

Practice using authentic materials (guitars, microphones, headphones) and at a comfortable speed until you get really good results. When you feel like you’ve mastered the pattern, increase the intensity and tempo!

There are many ways to learn guitar rhythm patterns, so don't feel that one technique is better than another. They're all helpful for different people depending on their musical goals and stage in life they find themselves at.

Learn how to use a metronome

how to play guitar rhythm patterns

A metronome is a tool that helps you learn how to play rhythm patterns quickly. It works by ticking off a set time for your foot to be moving down each chord or note of a pattern.

The timing in the song you are practicing will have short ticks at the start, then longer ones as the meter (the regular pattern) shifts forward. You can also add an extra tick between two shorter ones if you want!

You can use a computerized one through a website or app, or even just a mechanical one where someone else sets the timer for you. Either way, it’s best to pick a slow tempo first so you can get some familiar syncopation before going faster.

Using a metronome really forces you to keep good timing, which is important when you are learning music theory and concepts like scales and chords.

Practice using a drum machine

how to play guitar rhythm patterns

The next way to learn guitar rhythm patterns is by practicing with a computer program that produces the sounds for you! There are many great software programs designed specifically to help beginner musicians start off by learning how to play some basic music theory such as scales, chords, and rhythms.

A very common starting place is playing along with a drum kit. By recording yourself hitting all of the drums in time with the notes of a song, software can piece together these parts into one continuous pattern that you can slow down or speed up!

This method is excellent because you do not need any equipment to use this software- there are plenty out there free to access! Some even have interactive features where you can drag your fingers across the screen and get different effects depending on what type of note you hit!

There are several apps that feature a variety of drum kits so that you can pick and choose which ones fit your style best.

Learn to play along with a recording

how to play guitar rhythm patterns

It is very helpful to learn how to play guitar rhythm patterns as you can use this technique for many things! You could practicing your basic drum beats, or learning some easy licks and translating them into a pattern.

Practicing timing is also important so that your subconscious mind gets used to doing it. This will help you move onto more advanced concepts later.

You can practice using either real time or an internal clock such as metronome. Using a timer helps ensure you do not have to keep checking the clock to make sure you are keeping up with the tempo!

I recommend using both techniques to improve your timing. Once you feel comfortable, only use one source for proofing.

envelope linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram