When we are starting to learn play the guitar, everything is about chords and notes, but what about rhythm guitar? Not that the chords, notes and timing are not important. Of course they are. But the other seriously important part of guitar basics is rhythm guitar.
A rhythm is the kind of strumming you will play on the guitar with your right hand (the one that is used with the pick). They can be changed depending on the song. For example, talking about a classic guitar, it will sound completely different when on a Spanish rhythm guitar from played the one that is used in a romantic ballad.
The Beat in Rhythm Guitar
To start in the rhythm world, you can play four beat time up and down with your right hand. This is the simple rhythm used in a lot of punk rock songs performed by bands like Green Day, The Ramones, etc. We are talking about guitar basics, but nobody says that was hard to rock.
So, to learn new rhythms on guitar we need to get a faster hand and a better coordination between our left (the one that will be playing notes) and our right hand (the one that will be strumming rhythms).
To improve the hand skills we can perform some a little exercises. These will help us to improve our variety of playing rhythms.
First of all, we can practice our coordination between hands. We will start playing one single note in the sixth string (E) with our first finger, then we will do it with the next finger in the same string, then the third and the fourth. Once we finish, we pass to the next string, the A string, or the fifth one. When we finish this we will pass to the next one and continue doing this until finish with all the six strings. Our right hand should be marking just one beat time, the first time we do the exercise and could be marking two beat time in the next sequence, then three after that, and so on.
The Circle Exercises
Another good exercise is to play a circle built with four chords (C, G, D, A) first with a simple guitar rhythm, for example, four times only down with the right hand. Once we played this, we can change it to another rhythm: up, up, up, up, in a four-time compass. Then you could do up, down, up, down in a four-time compass followed by up, up, down, down, in a four-time compass. You can change and change it again, becoming it more complicated. Once you have mastered these simple ones, try adding more than four times, like six or eight. Only your dreams are the limit.
So, rhythm guitar is not really a complex world. And it is useful, because you can play the same chords with a different rhythm and it will be a different song. Have you ever heard a ballad become a rock song? That’s why it is important that you learn to know the difference and be able to perform each of the rhythms correctly.
Start working at learning all of these techniques. Getting to know the guitar basics and acquiring all the necessary skills to use them.
In time, you will be performing some of the most complicated songs in the world. Perhaps playing a wide range of genres that will have you recognized as a really great guitar player.