How To Play Rhythm On Electric Guitar

Posted by Mike Schuck

When playing guitar, one of the most fundamental things is rhythm. You will learn how to play some basic rhythms here! This article will go into detail about how to play an easy rhythmic pattern called the quarter note triplet.

This can be used in many different songs with different chord changes and meter. The song below uses this rhythm pattern as its main hook.

Song: Rhyme Or Reason – Quarter Note Triplets (Hook)

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Let’s look at the pattern more closely and see what muscles it exercises.

The first thing to notice is that there are two beats per measure. These beats each have a short rest interval followed by a longer one.

These shorter and longer intervals are referred to as the pulse or metric notes. In this case, the metric notes are the ones that contain a whole note.

A whole note takes up a full beat length, which means it has a short rest time and a long one.

So, our metric notes are the three dotted quarters - one short, one long. These get mapped onto the timing chart above. Make sure you pay attention to when these pulses occur within a bar.

Identify the different beats in the song

how to play rhythm on electric guitar

The first thing you will want to do is identify what kind of beat your music listener wants to see you play. Is it a steady rhythm? Or does the song contain mostly quick beats? If the latter, then you should play as many notes as possible between each one!

It may be helpful to think about how someone might dance to this type of music. If they are moving slowly, maybe there are not very many strong beats in the song. A weaker rhythm can work well for that. You could also try playing every other note, or an alternating pattern of two chords with one chord hanging over the next.

Another way to create a weak beat is by using tritone substitution. This means replacing one note with another that is one tone lower (a half step down). For example, if the note you replace is D, then the new note would be C. Both notes are still considered part of the same scale, so you must know which scale this piece belongs to before doing this!

If you are able to find the timing of the weakest beat in a song, you can use that as your guide to writing out some of the notes of the song. Starting from the top, add the right number of notes to achieve that timing, then repeat for the rest of the licks.

Find the center of the beat

how to play rhythm on electric guitar

The first thing you will want to do is find the center of the beat. This can be tricky at times, but not impossible!

You will need to pay close attention as you play your guitar. If there are too many things going on, it may hard to identify the heart of the song.

Make sure your bass line has a steady pulse that everyone in the band can agree on. An easy way to determine this is by looking at the feet of the people dancing to the music!

Once you have found this area, count how many beats it takes to reach the half-way mark then add one more to make a full measure. That number is your rhythm unit. For example, if it took three beats to get to a quarter note and one extra for a whole measure, then a one-quarter meter would be one rhythm unit. A one-half meter would be two units, and so on.

Now try playing something using only one unit! Or use three units instead of two! Once you feel like you understand the concept, you can start adding onto it.

Find the accents on the beat

how to play rhythm on electric guitar

The first part of playing rhythm guitar is learning how to recognize the beats in a song. A drumbeat has specific parts called accented or stressed notes that are one bit longer than your normal note length. These special notes are where you play along with the music!

The number of accent marks in a bar can change slightly, making it difficult to know which notes are stressed and which ones are not. This makes it hard to learn the basics of timing correctly until this is fixed.

Luckily, there’s a simple way to identify the most important beats in a song! By listening to the song twice, you will be able to tell what notes make up each beat. After doing this a few times, you’ll find yourself adding the appropriate accents as you play.

Another good way to learn the basics of time keeping is by using a metronome. A metronome sets exact timing intervals for you to follow. You can use the slow setting to help you develop your sense of time or faster settings to test out your timing.

There are many ways to learn about time keeping on guitars, but the best method depends on your level.

Use your inner ear to identify the different rhythm patterns

how to play rhythm on electric guitar

The first way to learn how to play rhythm guitar is by using your inner ear or sense of timing to recognize what pattern the music is in and then figuring out which notes go with that pattern.

This is called matching a note up with a beat. You can do this easily by thinking about something simple, like the song “Happy Birthday” where there is a one two three four measure structure with a tonal chord at the end.

The easiest way to match a note with a beat is to take a normal tone (or pitch) sound and add either a pulse or a drum hit onto it. A good example would be hitting the B string as a normal tone and adding a strong pulsing bass line together with the rest of the beats in the song.

Matching a note with a pulse works because the natural instinct we have when listening to music is to count off the beats.

Practice identifying the different rhythm patterns

The next level of playing rhythmic guitar is being able to recognize and stick with all the different rhythms that exist. There are many types of rhythms in music, some more complex than others.

Many musicians learn how to play simple duple (or double) time beats where each beat has two notes. This can be done using either a steady pulse or via an alternating pattern. Both are considered discrete timing schemes because you know when the downbeat happens and then it waits for another event before the next one!

Other examples include triple meter which has three events per measure, quadruple meter four events per measure, and so forth. More advanced songs will use these techniques as well!

Music writers create new rhythms by combining existing ones together. For instance, if there’s a strong syncopated bass line then adding some short metered steps onto it creates a cool groove. Add some snappy licks and you have something catchy and fun to play along to.

Learn to sing along with the song

how to play rhythm on electric guitar

The second way to play rhythm is by singing or chanting what part of the music you want to emphasize. For example, if the bass line in a song sounds like this: “Bass drop, one, two, three, four”, then your chant would be “One, two, three, four” as you stress each beat with a short pause in between.

Your tone, speed, and volume can all affect how well this technique works for you. Some people use slow, steady tones while others scream their chants loudly. It depends on which style of music you are trying to emulate and learn.

Singing along is very helpful for musicians that cannot hear the bass clearly because of loud songs or headphones. This method also helps spread the importance of the bass across the track so it does not get lost.

Learn the lyrics to the song

how to play rhythm on electric guitar

The second part of learning how to play rhythm on your guitar is by knowing the lyrics to the songs you want to play. This seems like an easy thing to do, but it can be tricky if you don’t!

Most people start playing music at a young age when they learn the basics of reading, writing, and math. However, less than half of all students in America have access to a quality music education (source). Many musicians begin teaching themselves basic musical concepts such as note naming, chord structure, and timing once they “pick up the instrument” (which can sometimes take years for someone who has no training) (source).

This is why most beginners are advised to pick a simple song with familiar lyrics that use notes, chords, and rhythms that anyone could understand. It is much easier to grasp the fundamentals of the instrument when what you are practicing is something that many other people already know how to do well!

But this article isn’t about whether or not this approach is good or bad- it’s just important to remember that there is a reason that almost every beginner gets stuck. Even professional musicians often spend hours studying before their skills improve enough to see results.

Play along with the recording

how to play rhythm on electric guitar

The next step in playing rhythm guitar is figuring out how to play what you hear, or as music writers like to say, “playing along” with the record. This can be done by simply listening to the song and then copying what each part sounds like, or using software that helps you learn the notes of a chord or scale.

There are many ways to do this, but the best way depends on your style and what kind of songs you want to make! For example, if you want to learn how to play blues chords, learning them one at a time can help you get there more quickly. If you want to learn how to strum, looking into different styles and techniques can help you.

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