Take your rhythm playing to the next level and beyond!
Rhythm Guitar Made So Interesting You Won't Even NEED A Solo
He's walking down the beach, and comes across a guitar player going at it by a campfire...
He pauses to listen...
The song is instantly recognizable, and yet... different. Plus, no one is singing, and the guitar player is only strumming, not soloing, and yet, it is as if his guitar is singing. At times, it is dark and intense, at other times, bright and happy. Then the music changes, begins building... Building... BUILDING! Then BAM, he slaps in a quick little riff, and he's right back into the strumming again, but this time he's added a hybrid picking pattern into the mix and the song goes off in a whole new direction.
As our wanderer watches more closely, he realizes the guitar player is only using three or four chords, and as he walks away, he wonders to himself: what else is that guitar player doing to communicate so much with so little?
Hi - my name is Jonathan Boettcher, and over the last few years I’ve helped literally thousands of guitar players finally understand their guitars, using just a few rarely-taught concepts that most guitar teachers avoid like the plague.
That little story is true - it happened to a student of mine, and as he related it to me, it inspired me in that moment to create a guitar course that would empower guitar players to take simple songs and make them truly come alive in their hands.
Taking Strumming Beyond Mere Patterns
Strumming patterns are great - they open our minds to the rhythmic possibilities that are out there, and they are a crucial part of learning the guitar. But at some point, your strumming has to develop beyond mere patterns... it has to become an organic part of how you express yourself on the guitar.
Strumming is often looked down on as being one of those "basic" kind of duties that guitar players must perform, but in fact, good strumming can make or break a song. And I'm not just talking about being on the beat, though that is important! Good, dynamic strumming sets the mood for the song rhythmically, and lays the foundation for the vocals or melody to really shine. Dynamic strumming changes fluidly with the song as necessary, helping to tell the story, rising and falling, ebbing and flowing.
The path to adding great dynamics to a song is not short, nor is it direct. It requires mastering a number of different skills, and that's where my Dynamic Rhythm Guitar course comes in.
- Double your WOW Factor by inserting some sweet fills straight in between your chords
- A huge library of compelling rhythm techniques you can mix’n’match to your heart’s content
- Discover techniques to inject serious groove-factor into your strumming
- Simple tricks to vocalize your guitar playing, expressing something much more than just rhythm
- Add tremendous THUD Factor to your sound with percussive playing techniques
- Boost your dynamics with proven techniques to deepen and intensify simple songs
- Train your hands so your muscle-memory responses come quicker than you can think
- Identify the best places to use percussive strumming techniques to add the “drums in your back pocket” sound
- Revitalize simple three-chord songs into ridiculously fun and entertaining jams
dynamics, Dynamics, DYNAMICS!!!
Years ago I watched a new band play - they had been together for a year or so. Four years later, I saw them perform again, and I was blown away. They had matured so much, it was amazing. And you know what the difference was? It wasn't a load of new licks or super-technical playing - it was the fact that the band now functioned as a single unit. The whole band was expressing the same thing at the same time, and it made a world of difference.
Truly great music takes you, well... somewhere! You start at one place, and by the end of the song, you're somewhere else, and you've gone on a journey to get there. Great music captures the dynamics of that journey - the scenic mountain vistas, the cascading waterfalls, the gentle surf, the texture of the soft sand... and the terror of the hurricane.
Lame music conveys none of that - it is a collection of chords, played without feeling. Unfortunately, much music today is played without feeling, or at least, without much of it! It may be played with gusto, but "all on" conveys about the same amount of dynamics as someone who is always yelling at you at the top of their lungs. Sure, it's loud, but in the absence of contrast it means little.
Most Popular Music Is Pretty Simple
Great music need not be super complicated. In fact, many of the most popular songs of the last 50 years are little more than 3 to 6 chords. Complexity can be great - but it sure isn't necessary. Mastering the art of playing simple songs with great expression is what has made many artists famous (Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, etc)... more to the point, it is what has drawn millions to their music.
And simple need not be boring.
In fact, a simple chord progression can be spiced up very tastefully so that it is extremely expressive - the question is: what does the song require?
Understand Rhythm: Get In The Groove!
Ever heard a band where one player was clearly not locked in with the rest? It sticks out like a sore thumb, and pulls the whole song apart at the seams. The most common reason for this is a lack of understanding rhythm. In Dynamic Rhythm Guitar, we'll cover the basics of understanding rhythm, but far more importantly, the rhythm is demonstrated and practiced on every single example. We'll use custom drum tracks for everything from strumming and picking practice, to getting riffs in the exactly right spot. You'll learn how to listen to the drum track and find out which part you need to lock your guitar playing to.
Better yet, you'll have the drum tracks to practice with on your own as well. The tracks are far more fun and inspiring to play with than a metronome, and they yield the same benefits; the more time you spend working with them, you will find your timing improves, along with your sense of rhythm and your ability to "lock in" to the groove.
PICKING The Right Technique
Strumming is one important way to add dynamics to your playing, but sometimes even gentle strumming is too much for a particular song, and that's when you need to have a few different rhythm techniques up your sleeve, so you can pick the one that is most appropriate for the song!
Speaking of picking, there's a whole section on Flat Picking techniques in Dynamic Rhythm Guitar, and then later on, a whole other section on Hybrid Picking, which takes picking in a whole new direction, giving you more and more options for tone, volume control, note selection, and more.
Sometimes it is the simplest picking techniques that can produce the coolest results, when applied to a song. For example, hybrid picking exercise #2 in the course is the same idea John Mayer used on his famous song Why Georgia - a song that many associate with some pretty cool guitar work. And yet surprisingly, the picking pattern itself can be learned quite quickly, and applied to many different songs.
I’ve been playing for about a year and found myself no longer progressing. Your courses have moved me to a new level and I’m having so much fun! I appreciate that you fully explain all concepts. Now I understand theory! I really appreciate your teaching style, I feel like I’m getting personal lessons. Thanks for your great courses.
Merging Techniques Like A Pro
When you start learning how to play guitar, you have to learn a whole bunch of building blocks. How to hold a pick, how to strum, many different strum patterns, how to contort your fingers into position to get all those chords, etc.
As you progress in your ability, those things become second nature, and there comes a time when you begin to merge skills that you once treated completely differently (like strumming and picking for instance) together into a whole new form of playing guitar. Later on down the road, you might even combine these combinations with still other skills, and every time that happens, your playing takes a noticeable step forward.
In Dynamic Rhythm Guitar, we'll put in place many of those building blocks - or fill them in, if you already have some in place - and then we will begin making those combinations. We'll merge flat picking and finger picking together into hybrid picking, then we'll merge flat picking and strumming together, creating mini-melodies and bass lines right within the rhythm part, and we'll even merge all those different rhythms and riffs together into seamless phrases.
The more different guitar techniques you master to the point of being able to merge them with the others you know, the more your playing will become unique to you, the more you will develop your own style. Dynamic Rhythm Guitar does not teach you a specific style of playing the guitar so much as it leads you on a path of exploration to find and develop your own personal style.
I've had the Dynamic Rhythm course for a few weeks now and am pleased to be able to say how enlightening it is!
I've been playing the guitar for many years and although I had a pretty good chord base and I had the pentatonic scale down, I've never been able to put it all together or understand why things work or don't work. I've never felt like I've really been able to actually play / create music. I was losing my love doing the same ten songs over and over... till now!!
Now I'm doing cool chord progressions even changing key (ha , I didn't know keys were so important) der!!
I'm doing things I'd only seen others do and wondered how! I'm very grateful to you for opening a gate to the path of guitar heaven!
The buzz from learning and actually playing (not copying) is immense.
Thank you so very much indeed.
Dorset, Great Britain
Build The Skill You Use The Most
Although there are 33 fully tabbed riffs included in the course, and over a hundred demonstrated, plus an entire section dedicated to gaining a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the fretboard, this course is not about soloing.
Because let's face it - there are tons of soloing courses out there, and yet the majority of guitar players spend most of their time... playing rhythm! Even in songs that give you an opportunity to solo, the solo is typically no more than 15% of the overall song, and the rest is... rhythm!
Whether you play in a "real" band, an informal jam band, in church, or as a means of accompanying your singing, chances are you spend the majority of your time playing rhythm. So if we can take the skill you use for 85% of your playing a serious step forward, that would help you more overall than learning how to solo, right?
The purpose of this course is to really equip you as a versatile and interesting rhythm player, but along the way you are going to pickup tons of tips, tricks, and techniques that will help you become a great lead guitar player too, should you choose to pursue that direction.
I really need help with my rhythm, and this is very helpful. As much as I hate practicing rhythm, I can't seem to count in the proper way. But I really enjoy going over the 3rds as well as chord modifications.
I would highly recommend the entire course to any one that is serious about learning to play guitar. That is my absolute feeling about this. Thank you for being such a great instructor.
Riffs That Enhance Your Rhythm
I think one of the biggest misconceptions about rhythm players is that they don't play any lead lines. Well, that may be true, if you're playing rhythm at a fairly low level. But if you watch any accomplished rhythm guitar player, they've actually got riffs and single note lines splattered all through their playing, in one form or another. It may be in the form of a picking pattern that sounds so involved that it's nearly strumming, or it might an outright riff, but the point is, whatever they are playing supports the main rhythm of the song, and drives it forward.
If you slip even a single riff into a choice spot in the song - say between the verse and the chorus for instance - it can serve to really change the whole feel of the song, kick it up a notch, or drop it back down, as the case may be. Used in this fashion, riffs can really enhance the dynamics of a song.
Used another way, riffs can help fill "holes" in between vocal parts. It is quite common in songs to have little spots in each verse, sometimes at the end of each line, where an agile guitar player can slip in a choice riff to supplement the melody. In Dynamic Rhythm Guitar, there is an entire section dedicated to Full Bar Riffs, where we'll work on a four-bar progression, and learn to slip a one bar riff in at the end of each four bars. This is a very common scenario, and you'll be easily able to adapt it to many different songs.
Some songs however, don't give you that much space, and on those songs, you have to be really on your toes to get your riffs in. That's why there's an entire section on Half Bar Riffs, where you'll learn to slip a short, two-beat lick in between your strumming or picking. These licks may be short, but they pack a lot of punch, and once you master the technique of playing rhythm with these quick riffs thrown in all over the place, you'll notice a huge shift in how you approach your guitar. It's a huge confidence builder!
Playing Melody WITH Strumming & Picking
Most strumming is a rather static affair, with little variation. How would you like it if you could adapt your rhythm playing to include melody lines that followed the song you were playing - all right in the context of your strumming or picking pattern? This is a more advanced rhythm technique, but it is covered in detail in section 12 of Dynamic Rhythm Guitar.
Master this technique, and you will have the skills to be able to confidently adapt your rhythm playing to any song or situation you may find yourself in - and make it sound good.
A Road Map For Further Exploration
No guitar course on the face of this planet can be truly comprehensive in nature, covering all angles of playing the instrument. There's just too much to cover. For that reason, many times throughout Dynamic Rhythm Guitar, I have deliberately pointed out doorways through which you can take the next step on your own. I'll give you the principles and understanding you'll need to take that next step, but ultimately, it's up to you to go through that doorway. With these doorways clearly highlighted for you, if you take advantage of them, and go through, you will easily gain double or triple the value of the things we've covered in this course.
Is This Course For Me?
This is not a beginner course; if you're just starting out on guitar, you will feel overwhelmed by this course. This course is really intended for players who are at least in the "established-beginner" stage, where you've played for long enough to be comfortable with all your open chords, some bar chords, and you generally feel comfortable playing songs on the guitar, even if not at a high level.
If you come into the course with at least that foundation to start off with, we'll develop your playing and understanding much further, all the way through to a very strong intermediate level, or even intermediate-advanced level rhythm player. The course builds sequentially throughout, always kept at a manageable pace. The later sections are indeed much more advanced than the first ones, but your skills will be developing along the way to keep on target.
If you are a songwriter, this course is right up your alley. You will find an endless source of new ideas, and learn many new ways to give your song the emotional strength it needs to be truly great.
"Truly Does Empower The Player"
This is one of the most useful courses I’ve ever gone through. Not only do you cover a ton of content, it is completely usable and relevant to getting someone to actually sound great on guitar. And you deliver on this by teaching solid technique, providing relevant insight into the theory behind it, and providing ideas that can be expanded on.
A truly complete and unique package in the sense that it’s not about copying someone’s playing or about memorizing specific licks.
This course truly does empower the player with solid insight into how to enhance what would otherwise be basic guitar playing, which makes playing the guitar that much more enjoyable.
While I honestly find this course to be entirely well done, here are some of the highlights that I found worth mentioning:
All around this is truly a well thought out and put together course and with the amount of coverage, it’s an awesome value. The only thing one needs to bring to this one is his/her guitar and the passion to play guitar and I can’t see anyone not making extremely good use of this course. My only concern now is that too many people will sound great on guitar after going through this course and those who already do might not stand out as much .
Packed Full of 'Next Level' Tips 'n Tricks
So What EXACTLY Is Covered?
Dynamic Rhythm Guitar is a little over 20 hours of video, broken into 14 main sections:
Strumming & Rhythm Techniques
We'll focus more on strumming techniques than on specific patterns, although there are 20+ patterns included. Your ability to control the dynamics of a song through strumming will take a big step forward! We'll also talk about understanding rhythm, and how to lock in your strumming with drums.
I'm two hours in and have already updated my strumming patterns to include up and down half strums (chugs).
Just want to say that you are a very good communicator. I totally understand what you're saying, and I like how you follow a thought all the way to its end. And I have a feeling that these building blocks you're teaching me are going to tie into bigger and better things in the future. High quality material and web site.
San Jose, California
Basic Guitar Theory
This is one of the subjects I really love teaching because of the countless times I have seen it responsible for tremendous breakthroughs in how people understand and approach their guitars. You'll learn how how chords, keys, notes, and scales all work together, how to find the most important chords in every key (this helps you figure out songs way quicker). You'll also learn how all the notes on the fretboard work together in a way that is easy to remember and use.
Picking, as compared to strumming, offers the ability to really change the tone and style of a song, so we'll cover a number of useful picking patterns that you'll be able to apply to a broad range of music. We'll start with some basic patterns, but quickly move on to ones that are a bit more involved. No matter the level of complexity, all of them sound great when used appropriately!
Chord Modifications 1 & 2
In these two sections, we're going to go deep into how chords work. Understanding chord construction is a vitally important part of being a confident rhythm guitar player. We'll cover the relative major / minor relationships, various types of suspended chords, and the various forms of 7th chords. While we will look at these from a theory and chord construction standpoint, we'll also cover the most practical voicings of these chords so that you learn how to actually play them as well. This section will really empower your playing by giving you interesting and unique options for chords that you can use in place of the standard ones you see used everywhere else. Well over a hundred different chords are covered in detail, to truly help explode your chord vocabulary!
In the hybrid picking section, we'll take what was covered in the flat picking section and modify it to include the use of a pick plus fingers. We'll cover a number of patterns that you can only play using a hybrid approach - patterns that add a lot of depth and character to your playing. These typically sound much richer than what is possible with a pick-only approach.
Scales For Any Key
If you're going to be a confident, well-rounded guitar player, you need to understand how the fretboard works - even if you never play a lead guitar solo in your life (but especially if you do want to play lead!). In this section we'll cover the three essential scale patterns you need to cover the entire fretboard. The approach used is different than you'll find most other places, with an emphasis on practical simplicity. Thousands of guitar players have already proven this approach really works, as evidenced by the success of my Guitar Scale Patterns course.
Full Bar Riffs
Full bar riffs are an excellent way to add some life and uniqueness into a song that has some space in it. Many songs have a bar or so at the end of a vocal line where you've got some room to stretch your fingers a bit, and in this section, we'll learn a bunch of riffs to help you do just that. More than simply learning riffs though, we're going to learn them all in the context of a chord progression, so you'll be able to master not only playing the riff, but slipping the one bar riff seamlessly in between the other three bars of rhythm playing. In this section I've included two "Rubber Rooms" where I play the three bars of rhythm to a drum track, and leave the fourth bar open for you - so you can focus exclusively on getting that riff to sound good in the right spot. After you've got that nailed, you can move up to playing rhythm as well as the riffs along with the drum track. Two different tempos are included, so you have a really slow option, and a more up-to-speed option.
In this section, we'll cover how to apply all that theory we learned earlier to chord progressions. We'll cover several of the most popular chord progressions you'll come across, how identify them, and how to modify them. We'll look at 12 bar blues progressions, and then we'll cover transposing and modulation, with a few tips on figuring out songs by ear thrown in as well.
Your course Dynamic Rhythm Guitar is absolutely unbelievable. I am only up to DVD 3 and it has made a lot of difference to my playing guitar. I can't wait to work my way thru the rest of the course.
Your style of teaching is also very good, not like some others who just want to "show off " how good they are playing their screaming loud shreds. Thanks for the brilliant course Jonathan.
Advanced Picking & Strumming 1
We'll take a look at using alternate bass notes, as applied to both strumming and picking. A lot of people think alternate bass notes are a "country thing" but we'll cover some practical ways you can make this sound awesome in nearly any style of music. You'll also learn some handy tricks for identifying the best bass notes to choose for your alternates. From there, we'll move on to some percussive strumming techniques. These techniques can be a really powerful way to add your own unique character and personality to your strumming, because by their very nature they end up being unique to how you approach your guitar - your own style will grow and deepen through the use of these techniques!
Half Bar Riffs
You have to really be on your toes to slip a half bar riff into a song, and that's why we covered full bar riffs first. But once you master the ability to slip these half bar riffs in at will, nearly every song you come across will be fair game for a riff or two! Many songs simply don't have a full bar to let you do your thing, but if you're clever, you can nearly always get a two beat riff to work! We'll take the same approach, playing everything in the context of a progression, with more Rubber Rooms and drum tracks available for practice.
Advanced Picking & Strumming 2
Now we're getting into advanced territory! I'll teach you my own unique strum-picking combination pattern that I use extensively. Understand how this pattern works, how to modify it and apply it in different ways, and you'll have a Swiss Army knife that can be used nearly anywhere to give your playing depth and character. Then we'll build on that pattern, learning how to apply mini-melodies to it right within the pattern. Your strumming will begin to match your songs far more closely, both rhythmically and melodically, as you learn to follow (or lead) where the song is going. By the time you're through this section, you'll have a complex and great sounding strumming/picking combination pattern in your pocket that works everything all together: bass lines, mid range strumming, and treble-line melodies.
All About Thirds
This is possibly the section of the course that will open for you the most possibilities for further exploration. The third in music is the sweetest harmony known to man, and we're going to explore in depth how the entire fretboard can be seen as patterns of thirds and inverted thirds that are all available to be used in the form of riffs or intervals anywhere in your playing. Although this may sound complex, you'll see how in actual fact, these can all be related directly to the chords you're already familiar with, which gives you a very easy way of remembering where to find these thirds and how to apply them. We'll also discuss how to choose the best thirds to use against any given chord.
This is where we apply those thirds in a practical manner. We'll cover a number of thirds-based riffs, and once again, play them all in the context of a chord progression. For every riff that is taught, I've deliberately included at least two or three alterations, teaching you how to modify these riffs to suit your own style and tastes. I don't want you to play guitar in my personality - I want you to play guitar in such a way that your own personality comes through! As we wrap up the course, I've included three bass & drums only jam tracks that will give you an opportunity to practice and apply any and all of the skills and techniques covered in the course.
A Proven, Effective Way To Learn
Many of the guitar lesson videos you find online are of poor audio or video quality, it's hard to see the fretboard or figure out what's going on. Not so with Dynamic Rhythm Guitar. From multiple and varied camera angles, to onscreen tab and chord diagrams, to an old-school whiteboard, I've always worked to ensure that the approach was always appropriate for the topic covered. Believe it or not, using the old-school whiteboard is one of the most appreciated things about some of my other courses; it may be low-tech, but people just find it an easy and engaging way to relate to the topic at hand. No matter what the subject matter is, you can rest assured you will be able to see - and hear - in detail what is being taught.
I am really appreciating the mix of theory at the "white board" and the playing demonstrations of chord variations. We all know the chord shapes by rote memory, but it really helps to understand how these are derived theoretically so that you can easily shape the chord when you encounter it in the sheet music. Whether it is a suspended chord, some version of 7th or 9th you can build it in your mind and translate it to the fret board. I am really enjoying your video courses. Keep up the great work!
Yes! I Want To Take My Rhythm Playing Further!
Dynamic Rhythm Guitar is available in two order options (both contain the same video material):
Either way, you’ll be able to download the lessons today and get started immediately, or watch them directly in your browser (this option works best for mobile devices). Please keep in mind that the download files are very large - around 24 GB in total - so if you have a slow internet connection your best option is one of the hard copy versions. You will also have lifetime access to the member's area where you can ask me your questions directly.
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Let’s work together to take your guitar playing to levels that you never dreamed possible!
To Your Success,
PS. The Dynamic Rhythm Guitar course will greatly improve your knowledge of the guitar and your ability to play it, giving you the skills to turn simple songs into beautiful, dynamic, and expressive works of art.
PS. After you watch these DVDs, you’ll be able to make your rhythm playing roar with huge strums and whisper softly with sweet notes.
PS. If for any reason at all you’re not satisfied, you’re protected by my 100% “No Weasel Clauses” 60-Day GUARANTEE