How To Set Up A Rhythm Guitar

Posted by Mike Schuck

A rhythm guitar is any stringed instrument that has more than one chord or note for every measure of music it plays. This includes anything from a violin, bass, steel guitar, or even a hand drum! The term “rhythm” comes from how the notes in a song are organized and repeated throughout the piece.

The organization of chords and notes into rhythmic patterns is what makes playing the guitar so fun and powerful. When you learn how to play with a strong sense of rhythm, you can add many things to your repertoire, including songs!

This article will go over some basic concepts about learning how to play the rhythm guitar. You will also learn some easy ways to pick up rhythm quickly, and tips to improve your speed and accuracy as you practice. Conclusion Follow along with this lesson to achieve great results!

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Lesson Overview

In this lesson, you will learn how to identify the main rhythm pattern in a song. Then, you will use that pattern to create your own custom rhythms. To make it easier to follow along, I have included a free PDF version of these lessons as well as a YouTube video designed specifically for this topic.

Find a cool groove

how to set up rhythm guitar

Finding your rhythm guitar style is more about finding a groove than learning how to play every riff in a song or using licks that have been done a million times.

What are some of these tricks? Using major, minor, or harmonic rhythms, playing with syncopation, alternating hands, and sticking with a slow, steady tempo — all of which you can apply to any genre!

Your first instinct might be to use double-metered timing patterns like quarter notes and eighth notes, but there’s no need to start there.

Any pattern can work as long as it feels natural to you and sounds good! Try mixing meters together and see what happens.

Don’t feel obligated to add chords to anything unless you want to – this is your music, do whatever makes you happy!

I hope you enjoyed this article on how to set up rhythm guitar! If you wanted to take your skills one step further, try out our beginner bass lessons. We also have beginner drum lessons if you're looking to expand your repertoire.

Practice with a friend

how to set up rhythm guitar

It is very important to have someone be your practice partner when learning guitar. This person can be anyone- it does not matter if they are of the same gender as you, or even if you learn together then at another level, it will help you focus more on being able to play what part correctly rather than having someone check off that box for you.

Practicing by yourself can sometimes feel like a struggle. You start playing a song and before you know it, an hour has passed and nothing really got better. If you were trying to work out how to bake a cake, would you watch YouTube videos until you gave up because you could tell the artist was never actually in the kitchen doing the baking?

I understand this feeling totally! I used to do it all the time and eventually I realized my problem. So now I have a practice buddy who helps me keep focused and moving forward. He also gives me feedback which is definitely helpful.

Record yourself

how to set up rhythm guitar

Recording your rhythm guitar is probably one of the most important things you can do as a guitarist. You should definitely record at least half a song, if not more! By doing this, you will be able to listen back and learn how to play along with the music, but also improve your own playing by hearing what mistakes you make and how you fix them.

I recommend using a computer or smartphone for recording purposes only so that you can easily access some sort of audio recorder such as YouTube, GarageBand, or any other similar software. No matter which app you use, there are two settings that must be adjusted before recording.

One is the input source, and the other is the quality. We will talk about each in detail here.

Learn to read music

how to set up rhythm guitar

The second key element of rhythm guitar is learning how to read music. This can be done either through taking formal lessons or by teaching yourself via books, YouTube videos, and experimenting with different types of songs.

There are many ways to learn how to read music. Some people may already know how to read simple melodies and lyrics, while others may have learned how to read bass lines, chords, or whole notes. What matters most is that you are able to identify what note group goes together and how it’s connected to other groups.

You also want to make sure your timing is accurate! When reading music, there are usually short breaks in attention given to other parts of the song. You should be able to recognize when these break points occur and where the next part of the music will begin.

Learn to tap your foot

how to set up rhythm guitar

The next step in learning how to play guitar rhythmically is to learn how to tap your feet! This can be done anywhere, at any time, even while you are listening to music!

Many people start playing guitar by simply picking out notes with their hands. But that’s only half of it!

The other part is creating musical melodies with your mind and body. Being able to add some kind of rhythmic element to your songs is an excellent way to develop your talent as a guitarist.

Learn to use the pads on your guitar

how to set up rhythm guitar

The first thing you will want to do is learn how to use the different parts of your guitar. These are called body structures or tonal areas.

On most acoustic guitars, these include the fingerboard, the neck, and the headstock (also known as the top). On electric guitars, they can also include special pickup systems that require you to have access to electricity to use them.

The second part is to determine what kind of music you would like to make using rhythm guitar.

Learn to use the strumming technique

how to set up rhythm guitar

The next step in learning how to play guitar rhythmically is by practicing your hand-finger coordination through the skill of what’s called the strum. This can be done at any tempo, but most musicians choose medium or slow tempos as it becomes more easily mastered that way.

To start off, simply place one foot on either side of the string you want to hit and then using your other leg, push down with weight so that your ankle presses into the pedal. Your feet should be about hip width apart, and your knees should be slightly bent (this helps keep balance).

Then take your index finger and pull back just enough so that when you press down with the pedal, there’s only slight tension on the string. You now have a relaxed state where you’re not pressing hard with the pedal, but your index finger still makes contact with the note due to the elasticity of the string.

Now slowly lift the pedal up until the string starts vibrating and your index finger moves along with it. At this stage your index finger is making the same sound as the rest of your fingers, which is great!

Keep lifting the pedal and moving your index finger along with the string until the song has finished, then drop the pedal and repeat the process for the next chord.

Use a metronome

how to set up rhythm guitar

A rhythm guitar is any string that you play as a pattern or structure within a song. The most common type of rhythm guitar is using a chord as your base, then adding another note or notes to create the rhythm.

Some examples of this are in songs like Time To Say Goodbye or Happy Birthday! Both of those use the chords G, D, and C with the second one going up by a half step (one whole tone) and a third higher.

You can also add an accentual rythm which is just changing the speed at which you play each note. For instance, in the same song, the notes would be the same except for the timing.

There are many ways to learn how to play rhythm guitar. One way is to use a rhythm machine or meter device to help you.

A good rhythm machine will tell you the tempo it was set to and have some sort of button to start the music. Press the faster button and wait until the notes come together before pressing the next one.

This helps you get the hang of playing rhythm guitars at a steady pace.

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