7 Killer Rhythm Guitar Tips
Under: Guitar Lessons
We spend on average over 95% of every song playing rhythm guitar and under 5% of the time playing solo or lead lines.
Yet we spend 95% of practice time on soloing and rhythm guitar gets skipped over. It’s likely that we spend less than 5% of our practice time on rhythm guitar. It’s crazy!
Surely it deserves just as much time as solos?
Working on your timing and rhythm take a lot of work, however here are my top 7 rhythm guitar tips. Applying any one will have a big impact on your guitar playing.
Work On What You’ll Use
The first of my rhythm guitar tips is really simple. Devote more of your practice time to playing solid, steady rhythm guitar.
As rhythm is the basis for all music and underpins everything we do, the more you work on your timing keeping skills, the better you’ll play overall.
By working on your rhythm skills, you are building a better foundation for yourself. Every time you work on a fundamental piece of the puzzle, you’ll see your playing go up a level or two.
So, stop with the scales and work on your rhythm guitar!
Take it slow!
If you ever take a lesson with me, then you’ll hear “that was good, but let’s take it slower”. It’s my most repeated phrases!
So, let’s start slow and build up the tempo as we grow in confidence. Firstly grab your metronome. If you don’t have one, I recommend getting a Korg TM60BK Tuner Metronome (Amazon sells them for $23) .
Start with your metronome on the slowest setting – this is usually 50 BPM. Pick a simple chord. C in my case. Then try to play quarter notes over the click.
Sounds simply right? Wrong! Trust me this will separate the men from the boys. It’s actually really tough to get right and keep the accuracy up. Try it for 5 minutes and try to not make a mistake.
Keep working on this excise as it will take a lot of practice. However, if you work on this rhythm guitar tip, you’ll find your overall timing improves.
Follow the drummer
Listen to the drums on a CD. No, I mean really listen. Hear the groove, does it feel nice? If you don’t want the song to stop, it’s probably got a really strong groove to it. Listen out for which part of the beat they are sitting on. How they are building the song and using their instrument in the arrangement.
Really feel how fast or slow the song is going, is the tempo maintained throughout the song? Do they speed up for the chorus? What happens in the bridge – is there no drums at that point? Are they dropping back in the second verse?
Ask yourself all this and more and really analyse what’s happening.
You can incorporate active listening into your life quite easily. Whether you’re on the bus, waiting for friends or just have some free time.
For crazy guitarist
If you have an audio software program like Cubase, you could record yourself and then zoom in and see how far you are from the beat.
Scared? Yes, it will be scary! Will it help in the long term? You bet it will. This tip is not for the work shy or the faint hearted!
Again, but slowly
Sorry to repeat myself, but slowly works! It’s number one of my rhythm guitar tips.
It’s always worth going back and slowing it down. Also trying simple rhythmic idea super slow is a way to skyrocket your playing. It’s worth it. Got that yet? S L O W L Y! Good!
If you really want to get good at timing and playing rhythm, then hit record. You don’t need a fancy Pro Tools setup, your phone or a cheap voice recorder will do.
Listen back to it, sure you’ll hear every mistake but it will make you actually HEAR where you’re messing up, dragging the beat – pushing it or cutting it off short when you should be letting it ring!
Recording yourself is the number one way to quickly improve your rhythm guitar playing.
Practice with a clock
If you think you need a guitar in order to work on your rhythm skill then you’re dead wrong. There are loads of unique guitar practice ideas including many you can do with just a clock!
You’ll understand once you’ve read that post. Just make sure you put it into practice. Once, you have worked through it a few times, you’ll be able to use it on the fly! Trust me your timing will improve and you’ll get better because you’ve put in the work.
Anyone Have The Time?
It does take time, however, if you apply any of these 7 kill rhythm guitar tips today then you’ll see your playing improve. So, it’s worth the effort and dedication.