Rhythm Guitar Playing

Posted by Mike Schuck

In your twenties, it’s easier to learn new skills because you are in an era where there is less of a need to be trained on most things. With technology advancing at lightning speed, there isn’t too much need for people with formal education in certain areas.

That doesn’t mean those things aren’t important though! Being educated in something definitely gives you a leg up on others who are not. For example, someone without a college degree probably wouldn’t know how to install windows or wire up circuits to make sure they work properly.

Many musicians can’t play their instrument well due to them never being formally taught how to. They might also lack self-confidence after hearing that they don’t know what notes go together or how to read music.

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Practice identifying the correct rhythm

rhythm guitar playing

It is very important to know how to identify the different beats in a song. There are many ways to do this, but one of the most effective methods is using the name of the chord as a guide.

By learning the names of the chords, you will begin to recognize the pattern the guitar creates with each note. By doing this, you will be able to tell when a new note is added or subtracted and which foot the notes sync up with.

You can also learn about timing, which is determining how much time there is between each note. This is extremely helpful for musicians who play instruments that have too few tones- like the violin!

By knowing how to count out rhythms, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of rhythm guitar playing.

Learn to count properly

rhythm guitar playing

It is very important to know how to count correctly in music. When learning how to play guitar, you will begin by practicing using open position chords. These are simply chords that do not have any numbers or notes appended onto them. The most common example of this is the A chord we mentioned before.

By adding numbers to the strings, you can make different sounds. For instance, for the A chord we discussed earlier, you could add 1-3-5-0 (or 0-2-4-6, depending on what note range your guitarist uses) at the top, making it an octave up. This way, it is raising the pitch one whole step.

This is called rising the root. After this, you must lower the pitch one half step, which is done with a descending fifth shape. A descending fifth is moving from B to E.

Practice these shapes slowly until you get them both correct.

Use a metronome

rhythm guitar playing

A rhythm guitar player can easily become too reliant on their own internal clock to keep time with music. This is not a good thing!
As we have discussed before, timing is an important factor in playing the guitar.

You must be able to recognize when a note has enough time to decay away or fade out. You also need to know how long it takes to pick up the next note.

These times are referred to as our timing marks or accents. It is very difficult to play guitar without having these under control at some level.

A great way to learn this is by using a metronome. A metronome sets a consistent pulse that you count along with.

This makes your timing more accurate because there is a constant source of information.

Learn to play along with a recording

rhythm guitar playing

It is very helpful to be able to learn how to play guitar by listening to music you already like. There are many ways to do this! You can find songs that feature lots of guitar licks, or songs with catchy melodies and rhythms.

By learning how to play these pieces as they exist, you will naturally pick up some of the rhythm patterns and techniques used. This way, you won’t have to spend too much time developing your skills, because the hard parts have been done for you!

You can also learn how to play along with a recording. This is when you take out your own instrument and track your playing directly from the example set forth before. The best approach is to choose a song that you know well, and then start practicing at half speed until you get the hang of it.

Practice making chords

rhythm guitar playing

Chords are one of the most fundamental parts about guitar playing. Almost every song you listen to has at least one chord, and there are many types of chords!

Many songs use only one type of chord, but it is very common to find multiple chord shapes in a few different keys. For example, a popular chord shape is the major scale (also called A Major) where you have a root, first degree, second degree, third degree, fourth degree, and fifth degree note.

The root is usually left out as this is considered the base for any other notes that make up the chord. The trick comes when trying to play these chords correctly because you need to know what number index each note has.

For instance, the major chord with no root is always the first place to start learning chords as you must be able to count numbers. How do you know how many times to hit the root if it’s missing?

That’s where practice comes into play. By repeating an action enough times, your body gets used to it and can figure out the rest! So, try practicing by hitting the root twice as often as the others until your hand feels more relaxed.

After mastering the root, move onto the next degree by adding one more time value. Continue doing this until you can easily recognize which letter corresponds to which position in the chord.

Learn to sing along with a recording

rhythm guitar playing

It is very easy to pick up rhythm guitar playing by learning how to listen to music and learn from recordings. Many people start playing by picking out notes or chords and then trying to play them as fast as possible!

This can be fun to do, but it isn’t necessarily the best way to begin. Taking some time to develop your sense of timing is much more important than being able to quickly recognize a few notes.

You should be able to easily identify a song you like that has a good groove — something that feels natural and comforting.

By listening to the rhythm section (the bass, drums, and percussion) and singing along with the lyrics, you will naturally create a pulse in your hands.

Learn to read music

rhythm guitar playing

The second way to play guitar is by learning how to read musical notes. This is also referred to as being musically literate. You can learn this anywhere, at any time! Most people begin reading music when they are young children. Some even continue onto college or professional levels where it becomes an academic skill.

Many musicians start reading music in elementary school. They may either be taught directly through their primary education teacher or found via YouTube or other music-related sites. Both of these ways are great opportunities for you to experiment with music literacy.

Reading music isn’t just for kids anymore! It doesn’t matter what kind of music you like, there are always new things you can do with it. Many adults find that they pick up bits and pieces of music theory along the way and apply those concepts to making your own songs.

Practice using a guitar pick

rhythm guitar playing

When playing with your hand, there is a way to add some special effects to your music. A trick that artists frequently use is adding a pick to their fingers or even replacing the normal index finger with a pick!

This is called picking with a tool instead of your fingernail and you can get very fancy and creative with it.

You do not need a strap to play this style of music. Some people prefer using a pick so they do not have to keep re-tightening or tightening the strap every time they want to put in a new effect.

A picked up note will stay longer than a normally struck one would, which gives your song more depth.

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