Tag Archives for " Rhythm "

1 Powerful Strum Pattern + Counting Rhythms

If chords are the bread, then strum patterns are the butter of a guitar player’s world. So far in our Level 1 series, we haven’t really learned any strum patterns beyond the most basic. Today, that starts to change. But first, let’s discuss rhythm.

In 4/4 timing, we have four beats per measure, or per bar.

The tempo is simply how many beats per minute the song goes at. So, if the tempo is 100, that means that every time we would count 100 quarter notes over the space of one minute. One two three four, one two three four… etc.

Now, each of those quarter notes can be divided, so that we get more interesting rhythms. If we divide the quarters in half, we get eighths. Now, we have eight beats taking up the same amount of time as four quarter beats.

We’ll go further with these ideas another time, but for today, that’s enough to give us options to mix and match, and create some more interesting strum patterns.

So, the patterns we’re learning today is D D  DU  DU. (D=Down stroke, U=Up stroke)

That takes up a full bar, and each of the down strokes happens on the quarter beat. The upstrokes can be counted by saying “and” which represents the second 8th note of that quarter beat.

So, we can count that same pattern like this: “One Two Three AND Four AND.”

So we have two quarter beats, then four eighth beats, and altogether, that makes a full bar.


Hard Stage Blues by Luca Sestak

Well, here we are on a guitar-oriented site, and I’m giving you a piano player to watch! What’s up with that?

The thing is, as musicians, there’s an awful lot we can learn from other musicians, even ones who play different instruments than we do – if we’re looking for it!

Sure, there are guitar players who have good dynamics and a great sense of timing and rhythm, and no doubt we’ll look at some of those too, another day, but today I wanted to actually point you at a piano player in order to get you thinking outside the box a little bit.

I’ve heard so many great guitar players say they stole a lick from a piano player, or a trumpet player, or a saxophone player, or whatever. I’ve even heard them claim to steal tricks from drummers!

It takes a bit of conscious effort to develop a mindset that watches other instruments for ways to improve our own, and hopefully this helps push you in that direction a little bit. It’s a great performance, so watch it through a few times, and then let’s talk about what he’s doing and how we can apply that to our guitar playing in the comments below.

Watch on Youtube


Basic Guitar Strumming Tips For Newbies

Strumming always seems to be an issue when you’re starting out playing guitar. I’ve done a couple different lessons on strumming before, but I though this time I would back things up to just about as basic as we can get.

If you’re struggling with your strumming, I recommend practicing with a metronome.

For learning basic chords and strumming patterns, Riff Ninja’s Essentials of Strumming & Rhythm is a very good place to start. Click here to learn more.

Don’t feel bad about keeping it basic – make sure you can master a strum before making it more complicated. The worst thing you can do is always be attempting to do more than you’re able, and thus never really playing in time. Rhythm needs to be built slowly, but accurately and precisely.

Video Problems? Watch it on Youtube


Beginner Tips On Guitar Strumming

Here’s a guitar lesson for beginners on guitar strumming.

One of the most common things that I’ve heard from students is you’re having difficulties getting strumming down properly. In this lesson on guitar strumming, we’ll cover a very simple rhythm that you can use to practice your strumming, however I also talk about things like how to hold your pick, and a very important one… which strings to play. If you play the wrong strings, no matter how good your rhythm is, it will still sound muddy.

For instance, the D chord only uses the top four strings, so make sure you don’t play the 5th and 6th strings, or it really doesn’t sound good.

As always, leave a comment below the video and tell me what you think about it.

Video Problems? Click here to watch it on Youtube.

If you found this lesson useful, I’d highly recommend checking out Colin Daniel’s free series of lessons for beginners on strumming – you can find those here. I’ve heard great feedback from students, even just on the free series. He gets into more detail than I’ve done in this lesson here.

Other Strumming Lessons:


How to Structure a Guitar Solo

A good lead guitar player must, and I’ll repeat that – MUST – pay attention to the rhythm.
That means knowing the rhythm part intimately yourself, even if you’re not the one playing it. Know the guitar chords and the various changes, because ideally, you should be working off of those changes in your solo.

As you’ll see in the video, a safe place to end each phrase is to end up on the root note for the chord that is being played… So it becomes important to know your notes, or a least a quick way of finding them. If you need a brush up on your notes, checkout one of my lessons on guitar scales.

If you’re really struggling with how to structure a guitar solo, this video should give you a few tips that will help point you on the right path. Another great way of improving your guitar solos is to find some backing tracks that you can practice with. These will really help you improve your solo rhythm, letting you really practice “feeling” the rhythm of the band.

Anyways, let’s get down to business – go on and hit play!

How To Structure A Guitar Solo: Some Tips

Watch the lesson on Youtube