How To Play Motown Rhythm Guitar

Posted by Mike Schuck

Motown music is one of the most recognizable musical genres in America, with songs such as “My Girl”, “Like A Test Drive Line-Up”, and “Can I Get Some Help Here?” defining the genre.

Many people learn how to play rhythm guitar by learning some chords and playing along with popular songs that feature rhythmic guitar licks or patterns.

However, there are many styles of rhythm guitar beyond just using power chord shapes to create rhythm licks. You can pick any style and add your own touches to it!

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In this article, you will learn about five different styles of rhythm guitar for beginners. These include alternating bass patterning, hammer-on/pull-off techniques, picking riffs, walking bass lines, and adding legato notes to your rhythms.

Once you have mastered these basics, you can choose which ones you would like to explore more thoroughly.

Learn the most important chords

how to play motown rhythm guitar

The first thing you will need to do is learn your chord foundations, or as they are more commonly known, your major and minor chords. These are definitely some of the most fundamental things that guitarists should have!

The easiest way to start playing rhythm guitars is by learning the open position chord. An open position chord does not contain any notes, it is just a root with no other strings attached.

To play an open position chord, simply press down on string number one (the index finger) and then lift up on string number two (the middle finger). Repeat this for all three chords - barre, bass, and treble.

Once these are mastered, move onto the next step which is adding extra notes to make a harmonic shape. A harmonic shape is when you combine lower and higher pitched strings together to create a tone. For example, if you wanted to create a D5 note, you would use a low E string and a high A string.

Practice making shapes every day until you can perform them easily in songs.

Practice making the different chords

how to play motown rhythm guitar

Chords are one of the most important parts of playing any music genre, including rhythm guitar. There are eight common chords that every guitarist should know how to play, at least on the first try!

The easiest way to learn your chord structure is by learning major, minor, dominant, or tonic-mediant (or root) chords. The term “chord” comes from the word “to choose,” as in deciding which notes make up each shape.

A major chord has three of its tones; usually it’s the third, fifth, and seventh. A minor chord also has those three notes, but with the second being missing.

Learn to read chord charts

how to play motown rhythm guitar

Chords are one of the most fundamental concepts in music. Almost every song is made at least partially of chords, and there are many types of songs that rely only on chords for their structure!

Tracing the roots of popular music goes back centuries, with musicians creating new styles by mixing together different chord structures. Even if you’re not planning to create your own style yet, knowing how to play some basic chords will help you connect more clearly with the music you love.

In this article, we'll go over some basics about rhythm guitar — bass lines, timing, and chords. Then, we'll move onto some easy songs to practice and improve upon.

Play along with some of your favorite songs

It’s easy to pick up rhythm guitar by learning how to play some of your favorites, like maybe “Ain't That A Shame.” Or perhaps there's something about that funky bass line in Jay-Z's "The Go Getter." You can always find syncopation in music, so why not learn it as it applies to music?

There are many great resources available for beginners to explore. Many guitar schools offer courses that focus on rhythm guitar. Some even have books or apps that help you get started more quickly!

You don’t need any special equipment to start playing rhythm guitar.

Learn to sing along with the song

how to play motown rhythm guitar

The next step is to be able as easily as possible to sing each of the songs you want to play rhythm guitar on. This will help you in two ways. First, it will give you some basic vocals that you can use when practicing or performing the song. Secondly, it will aid in helping you learn the lyrics of the song!

A great way to do this is by learning how to sing-along with the music. When playing the guitar, you should be able to sing what the instrument is singing (or trying to say) for every note!

This is very important to learn because it helps develop your ear and tone for the instrument. You will also need to know how to read music so that you can properly teach yourself how to do this.

There are many resources available via YouTube and online sites which have free lessons and videos to show people how to do this.

Learn to dance

how to play motown rhythm guitar

A rhythm guitar part is not just some unadorned patterns that never change. There are many licks, or repeated riffing patterns, in music that people have made famous. Some of these riffs can be quite complex!

To play some of these riffs well, your dancer must know how to move their feet. If you’ve ever watched anyone do the Macarena or The Twist, then you already have this technique down.

Knowing how to step correctly gives you enough time to add more layers to your playing. By timing when each foot hits the floor, and how long each one stays on the ground, you create space for other instruments or lead parts.

Have fun

how to play motown rhythm guitar

Motown rhythm guitar is a style of music that anyone can pick up quickly! There are many ways to take your bass playing skills to new heights by adding some additional instruments into your arsenal. This article will go over several different types of songs you can learn to play using this method, and then we’ll add some beginner tips for improving your bass playing skill set.

Motown rhythms use a simple pattern that always consist of four beats in a row. These patterns usually start with an intro or verse section followed by a chorus or bridge. The song we will be practicing together here uses this structure, and it will all fit within one minute and twenty-five seconds!

Music theory tells us that the notes in a melody occur in sequence, and the same thing applies to timing. When musicians talk about tempo they refer to how fast or slow the notes occur in relation to each other. In Motown rhythm guitar, the tempo is typically faster than what people would normally sing or play, so there are sometimes challenges linking the lyrics to the music.

There are many great resources available to learn more about Motown rhythm guitar. You may also find it helpful to compare yourself with professional bass players to see how their techniques differ. Having such a rich history filled with influential artists makes these professionals inspire aspiring musicians, so looking at those videos and studying from them could help you develop your sound as well.

Create your own Motown guitar rhythm

how to play motown rhythm guitar

A great way to play some really cool music is by creating your own style! This can be done by mixing and matching pieces of other styles, or by developing your own signature sound that sets you apart from others.

There are many genres of music that use rhythmic patterns as a foundation. One such genre is called “rhythm guitar”. You can choose any style or theme of rhythm guitar for inspiration in how to play it.

A good way to start playing rhythm guitar is to learn the basic rhythms used in songs. These songs usually have a pattern that repeats throughout the whole song. These songs with this pattern are easy to pick up once you know what note group they contain!

The easiest one to recognize is the classic walking bass line found in songs like The Beatles' Let It Be-bass part, then back down, then up, then back down, etc. There are many ways to play this pattern depending on the speed you want it to go at, and whether you want it to feel natural or not.

You can also learn about chord progressions which make up most of a song. Chord progressions typically begin with an established chord (such as G major) and then move onto another chord (often a secondary dominant).

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