Continuing with our rhythm guitar extravaganza, here are a couple of tasty examples – one strummy, the other thumby! Rhythm playing comes very easily to some people while others find it awkward… The stuff on offer here is technically quite straightforward, though. This lesson’s music, like previous Part One, is essentially a fairly slow blues shuffle, though the chord progression is fairly sophisticated – the sort of thing you might associate with Robben Ford, for example. Okay, I know he’s not Country but the objective here is to conjure up some groovy rhythm parts – and who cares where we find our inspiration, eh?
This lesson’s backing track is truly a different recording compared to part one, but it is admittedly a take where we as a band – I merely played guide rhythm guitar – had already done an acceptable job but we chose to put down another version nevertheless. Incidentally, the piano solo is obviously quite different from that heard previously.
For no particular reason, I initially stuck with a plectrum and if you glance at the TAB you’ll immediately notice a trend whereby the contour weaves in terms of pitch height – in effect I’m just going across the strings from low to high and back. To split hairs for a moment, strumming is defined as striking the strings inaccurately, whereas much of what I’m doing is arguably quite defined.
The rhythm itself, although based upon simple triplets – don’t forget we’re in 12/8 here (four triplets, each comprising three 1/8 notes) – tends to become a little busier at times. It’s also important to note the higher-sounding stabs that occur regularly, but not always, on beats 2 and 4 (the so-called backbeats). Lock in with the snare drum in that respect. Incidentally, can you see how occasionally I’ve left the backbeat solely to the snare drum? Oh, and by the way, the biggest secret of all when it comes to tidy rhythm guitar playing is listening to the high-hat. That applies to almost any style of popular music. You don’t have to copy the rhythm of the high-hat exactly but acknowledge what it is doing and, of course, don’t ever fight it!
Demo number two needed something of a change, so I decided to adopt a new tool: I simply put down my plectrum and ‘thrummed’ away with my thumb in a fairly jazzy fashion. I’m reasonably familiar with blues players such as T-Bone Walker but I definitely wasn’t consciously trying to emulate anyone in particular. I don’t know why but I seemed to gravitate towards more of a half-time feel – I suppose I was subconsciously seeking something rather different from what I’d previously laid down. The ever-helpful mate suggested thinking question and answer, which may indeed account for the two-sidedness of much of what is heard here. Anyway, after one lame attempt, my second effort turned out pretty groovy; I was obviously in a funky, bluesy mood and it shows. Notice several more percussive clicks and thumps in this version, and these certainly add to the feel and groove -they’re not mistakes, honestly!
It’s a part of Rhythm Guitar Lesson
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Rhythm Guitar lesson with backing track for free
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