How To Stay In Rhythm On GuitarPosted by Mike Schumacher
When it comes down to it, playing guitar is mostly about rhythm! It’s such as strong-basis of music production that almost every guitarist should be able to play some basic rythym patterns.
I’ve already mentioned before how easy it is to pick up bass licks for little rhythms (like half notes or whole notes), but what if you wanted to go one step further?
What if you could not only learn how to add simple rhythmic figures to your songs, but actually create your own unique ones? That’s exactly what we are going to do here!
We will take a look at two different types of rhythms, and then use them to write our own original melodies and riffs. Then, we will apply our new skills by creating our own variations of those rhythms.
Learn to keep time
Become a 'Drummer 4/4 Life' with our exclusive JA t-shirt!
Show your dedication to rhythm with our unique 'Drummer 4/4 Life' t-shirt. Proudly display a music staff with the 4/4 time signature, the heart of most popular music beats. This piece of Jam Addict attire not only makes a bold statement about your passion for drumming, but it also lets you be a part of the JA community, a team dedicated to fostering musicians for years.
The first step towards staying in rhythm is being able to recognize what time it is! This is called learning how to stay in tempo or learn how to play with time. You can do this by using a simple clock as a guide, or you can use a more complex timing tool like a metronome.
A good way to start practicing keeping time is to teach yourself to count out loud as you play. For example, say the song has a measure of four beats in length. Start counting down from one all the way through three, then add one and make your next note one beat later. Repeat this process until you get to a rest or zero where you can take a break!
Another trick is to choose a slow piece that’s easy to sing along with and practice only singing while playing the notes. Then try adding some syncopation, or accents, into the music to see how well you can fit those in while still maintaining the rhythm.
Use a metronome
A very effective way to stay in rhythm is to use a metronome! A metronome works by timing how quickly you are moving your foot down onto the bass string or fret board as music.
The trick is to make the beat sync up with what part of the song you want to learn at this moment. For example, if you wanted to know how to play the guitar scale notes that start with an F then go straight down the neck, you would set the metronome to a one-two ratio (one tick for each note) and test it out with the first few notes of the F major scale.
Your feet should be able to keep time with the ticking sound effectively! If they can’t, try changing the speed until you find one that works for you. Some people even have the device connected directly to their phone so they can access the settings anywhere and anytime.
Practice playing in time
A lot of beginner guitarists struggle with this, but it’s an important skill to have! It will help you keep your timing more consistent when practicing or performing songs.
Practicing in tempo is much harder than just practicing in time because there are no markers like metronomes or clocks for yourself to use as guides.
That means that how long you take to do anything (say, practice your bass line technique for half an hour) really doesn’t matter. You can spend five minutes meticulously doing something very well, and the rest of the time is wasted because you didn’t know what else to do next.
It’s kind of like having nothing to look at while listening to music- you lose motivation to move on to something new because there’s not much you can do until you figure out what song you were supposed to be practicing.
The solution? Simply find a short section of a song you already know and play it at a steady pace. Then, add some small fluctuations in speed or rhythm (for example, if you played it at 100 bpm, change the beat by one every other measure).
Use a drum beat
A song is made up of several sections, or parts. These include verse, chorus, and other types of subsections that make up the music!
The most important part of staying in rhythm is using a steady bass line as your guide. This basic element can be played by either hand depending on what section of the song you are reading.
For example, if the song has a pre-chorus then your left hand would be playing the lower notes while your right hand skips over the rest of the notes in the sequence. When the chorus comes around, switch hands so that the right does not have to work too hard!
After the chorus ends, the bass drops off which creates an interesting effect. At this point, both hands need to drop their action down for the next few beats before being able to pick back up where they left off.
Find a friend who is also a musician
Finding your rhythm takes practice, but you can do it! There are many ways to stay in rhythm when playing guitar. One of the most basic things you can do to improve your rhythm is to simply use the same notes or chords more frequently.
By this, we mean using the same chord twice in a row, or repeating a note pattern either slowly or quickly. When practicing your rhythm, make sure to include both steady and unsteady patterns to achieve this goal.
You can also play rhythmic patterns by counting out loud. For example, if your song has a one-two rock beat, then each pair of beats should be marked as one count forward and one back.
There are several types of rhythms that match different styles of music.
Join a band
Being able to play an instrument well takes practice, dedication, and most of all, rhythm! Having a source of music that you can easily access and learn from is your best bet for developing your skills as a guitarist.
Whether you are learning how to play guitar for the first time or you’re struggling to keep up with the demands of the game, there is a way to stay in rhythm. And it’s by joining a band!
Bands are great sources of musical inspiration and education. Not only do they consist of musicians who have what it takes to succeed in the industry, but their members usually share resources and knowledge about the craft.
Many bands start out as casual get-togethers where friends would meet at each other’s houses to jam together. As more people are involved, however, this doesn’t work anymore.
And so, these groups unite on public property like parks or shopping centers to just hang out and play music. More often than not, one person starts playing something cool and everyone else joins in.
This is when things really pick up — because now someone else has picked up the slack and the rest of the group comes along for the ride. This is when music truly becomes a language, and everyone is speaking different languages, but talking about the same thing.
This article will discuss some ways to find a band and/or member of a band to join.
Practice playing in rhythm
It is very important to learn how to play in time! This article will go into more detail about this, but for now just know that it is impossible to put your guitar down if you cannot play something in time.
As mentioned before, practicing music theory is great way to start learning how to play in time. Once you have learned some basic chords and tritone substitution, you can move onto other things like intervals and modes.
After that, practice starting with simple rhythms. These should be familiar sounds to you, such as “ta dee doo” or “dah dum tsss.” By adding our own timing to these beats, we are able to create new songs!
Practice using any instrument you already have- even if it is not tuned properly yet! You can use a metronome to help keep time, or use a song that has a steady beat you can listen to.
Learn to recognize and correct poor timing
The second key factor in staying in rhythm is knowing when to start slowing down or stopping your notes. This is called “timing”!
As mentioned before, music has a very structured pattern that we refer to as meter. Meter gives us some guidance by telling us when to increase or decrease the speed of our songs.
For example, if you were reading this article at a normal pace then it would be going up now! But what about when someone else is doing something more quickly? A metered song will say how fast the tempo should go (the number after the word tempo) and how many meters there are per measure (usually either 4 or 8 beats). Then the song will tell you WHEN TO START SLOWING DOWN BY using a term called a rest.
A rest happens every fourth note, which means that one quarter of the time there will be no sound for four consecutive measures. THIS IS WHY IT IS CALLED THE REST OF THE MEASURE! 😉
The rest comes right AFTER the last note of the previous half-measure but BEFORE the first note of the next. For examples, let’s use the same verse from above.
The Jam Addict team is a revolving door of writers who care about music, its effects on culture, and giving aspiring artists tools and knowledge to be inspired and keep on creating.
If you have any questions or concerns or just want to drop us a line, don’t hesitate to contact us! We always appreciate the feedback.