How To Play Motown Rhythm GuitarPosted by Mike Schumacher
What is rhythm guitar? Is it playing chords while singing or is it playing licks, syncopation, or riffs? Does it matter which you choose? No! They all count as rhythm guitar for song writing purposes.
There are three main instruments that make up the rhythm section of a music group: The piano, the bass, and the drum set. When writing songs, there is usually one instrument that takes precedence over the others. This is because they create the most stable base tone for your song, and therefore have their own special name – the lead part.
The second element in a band’s rhythm section is the guitarist. Like the pianist, the guitarist does not necessarily get a lot of attention unless his/her job is making sure another person (the drummer) knows what notes to play next. But like the other members of the band, this person has a significant amount of responsibility in terms of creating a mood, supporting the vocals, and incorporating some well-placed licks into the song.
This article will go more in depth about how to play rhythm guitar by breaking down some easy steps and examples.
Listen to the song closely to identify the key and chord changes
In music, there is an element that many people may not know how to play but it makes up one of the most important parts – rhythm! The term “rhythm” can be tricky though because it sounds like something only humans can do, but really what it comes down to is making patterns or beats.
Music has rhythms in it, whether they are very steady ones (like a walking bass line) or quick ones (like a drum beat). There are even some songs with irregular rhythms where no pattern is clearly seen!
When playing using chords as part of a melody, the rhythm typically uses the same note repeated over and over again. For example, if the main theme of the song you are listening to used the A major chord twice, then your guitar would use the A string every time this chord appears. This type of riffing, or repeating, of notes is what creates the rhythmic effect for chord progressions.
Practice playing along with recording sessions of artists
The next step in learning how to play rhythm guitar is practicing by listening to music! If you love songs that have a strong rhythmic component, this is easy to do.
Songs contain several sections that make up their structure. These include verse, chorus, break, or intro, and then a final coda (also known as a out-bow). Each section contains either a melody note set off by a bass chord or a harmony note set off by a higher pitched string such as a violin strings 2 or A.
The bass notes and chords typically repeat throughout the song while the higher partials don’t. By picking out these parts, you can practice your ear to learn what each one sounds like and how to play them.
Next, pick an artist you like and listen to some of their music to see how they use the different timing components in their songs. For example, if their song has a very short break between the two main sections, you should try doing the same thing in yours!;
And finally, start experimenting! Find a simple pattern that you know well and add some variations to it to create your own new patterns. You can even mix modes – major pentatonic, blues pentathic, etc.
Learn to read chord progressions
Chord progressions are one of the most fundamental concepts in music writing. They occur when you combine chords together, creating a sequence or pattern.
A common example is the classic song I’ll Be Loving You (Just Like My Mamma Used To) by The Marvelettes. This song starts off with an E major chord and then moves onto A minor, D flat, G, F sharp, and back to the A minor.
That whole progression — known as an ABIGAE -or ascending broken-chord move—is what makes the song sound good! It’s catchy and well constructed.
You can also create descending broken-chords by starting with the submediant (the second lowest note in a scale) and working your way up towards the tonic (the first highest note). For instance, the song mentioned before starts with the third degree of the natural minor scale (Bb), which becomes the submediant. Then it goes up via the mediate (C), the supertonic (D), and the tonic (E).
There are many different types of chord progressions you can learn about. But the basics of reading them will help you start playing rhythm guitar more easily! And don’t worry, these lessons aren’t too difficult. Read through each step several times until you feel comfortable doing so.
Learn to use different riffs
A riff is a way of playing repeated notes or chords. A classic example of this is when you play the chord structure in one piece many times!
The most common type of guitar rhythm style is called swing rhythm, which uses eighth-notes as its base pattern. To play an eight-note group, you pick the first note, hold it for two beats, then move onto the second note and repeat.
This can be done very quickly so that it feels almost like running water after another stream comes down the pipe!
Swing music typically uses triplets (three notes per beat) in their rhythms, which makes them feel even faster. By using double bass drums, people are able to add some extra oomph to your song!
Another popular rhythm style is known as shuffle, where there is no set order to what notes go into what time frame. This adds a more free form feeling to the music which fits well with some songs!
There are infinite ways to combine these basic patterns to make new ones! The best way to learn how to play rhythm guitar is by experimenting and finding examples you love.
Learn how to use hammer-ons and pull-offs
Another important way to add more flavor to your rhythm guitar playing is by using either a hammer-on or a pull-off. A hammer-on comes after a note has been played, and instead of just stopping there, you say goodbye with a new note that goes along with it.
A common place to use this technique is in songs where the music drops down one chord and then moves on to the next. For example, if the song uses an Em chord as its main body, it will drop off at the end and move on to a G chord. By adding a second note before dropping down the first, the music sounds smoother and longer!
Using hammers effectively is another way to add flavor to your rhythm guitar playing. Plus, it can help make the rest of the notes sound better because they’ll fit into their surrounding chords more naturally.
Learn how to use time signatures
A rhythm guitarist does not have to learn how to play in 4/4, or even 2/2, but there is one other common timing structure that many musicians use when playing guitar. This is called a half meter (or 1/2) timing pattern.
A half-meter timing pattern works like this: The first note of each measure is stressed, and then the second note is delayed by one beat. For example, say you wanted to play a chord with your index finger and third fingernail as the root. You would place your index finger down on the fretboard at the root position and take your third fingernail up towards the next higher string, creating a bass tone. Then you would start ringing off the strings using the third degree of our starting chord as the root, while moving your third fingernail down along the lower part of the string.
This technique creates a nice smooth transition from the root to the third, and back again. It also gives us an easy way to create syncopation, which we will discuss later! After all, music makes use of syncope (the opposite stress) every now and then.
To make the song sound better, we must be able to recognize what kind of timing patterns are used so that we can apply appropriate chords and lyrics more effectively.
Learn how to use octaves
Octave is an integral part of playing rhythm guitar! What is an octave, you ask? An octave is like having a second voice. Your normal voice is called your tonal or pitch voice, and everything we say, sing, or play uses one tone at a time.
The octave is a way to have eight different tones in place of the normal one. To easily understand this, think about music that has very short notes. A note that is only a single beat long is a rest break. A song with lots of short notes would be easy to recognize because there are lots of rests in between each note.
When you run out of room to keep adding more notes, you go up an octave (or double in frequency) to make space for more notes. The easiest way to remember this is that it gives you “more space” for notes.
For example, if your current note is a B-flat, going up a half step makes an A-natural, as these two notes are one higher than the B-flat. By doubling in size, the note can hold twice as much information before being filled up.
Using octaves in songs
Many musicians use octaves in their songs to create bass lines, lead parts, or both.
Learn how to use legato and staccato
Legato is when you keep your finger moving smoothly across the string for a set amount of time, and it sounds something like singing with no breaks.
Staccato means lifting your finger off the string with a short break before re-placing it, which creates a nice snapping sound.
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