Ryhthm Guitar Playing

It’s All in The Rhythm!

Rhythm Guitar Playing

Learning how to play guitar may come quickly to some students, but mastering the instrument can take years. That’s why it’s important that young guitarists learn to master the art of rhythm guitar playing. What’s in the rhythm, you ask? Everything! Playing good rhythm guitar is the foundation for any kind of beat music. Playing perfectly in time with a drummer, bassist or piano player is like the blood moving through your veins – it’s a perfect flow, and that can happen with you after taking guitar lessons in Scottsdale.

Learning Rhythm

Young guitarists often start out playing with a hard downstroke that creates a sound, but often lacks finesse. It all comes down to the strumming motion that you develop with your hand. When you gain a strong strumming hand, you’ll find that you’ll be able to perfect your rhythm playing.


Here are a few tips to becoming a solid rhythm guitar player:

–       Handle the pick well: Grip the guitar pick with a relaxed feel and sweep the pick in a parallel motion across the strings. Keep your strumming hand in motion, even when you’re not necessarily hitting the string. Keep up a constant down-up motion to help you in gaining more strumming strength.

–       Experiment with different types of picks: Some new guitarists like to use heavy picks, so that the sound they produce is loud and proud. But a medium pick might turn out to be a better option. You might appreciate the flexibility of a medium pick as you begin to master the art of rhythm guitar and picking in between the strings, rather than strumming all six (or 12) at one time.

–       Use your feet for rhythm: Have you ever seen those videos of the old Delta blues guitarists playing? They nearly all seemed to have their foot bangin’ down on the floor to keep the rhythm with their guitar playing. This could well be that there weren’t too many drummers available back in those days, and the guitarist had to make do with his solo resources. When you practice, make the downbeat when you hit your foot on the floor. When you lift your foot, that’s the offbeat.

–       Strum the 4/4: Thousands of blues, rock ‘n roll and country music songs are built around a 4/4 time pattern. Each quarter note is one beat each, so 4 of these with give you four beats per measure. Think of playing in 4/4 time like this – Strum down, down, down, down. Then you might have to lift your strumming hand up once to get it ready to do the next four down strokes. Once you’ve mastered this you can continue on to learn 8th notes, which includes four up strokes on the offbeat in between the four down-strokes.

–       Play differently on strum patterns: You can learn to be a great rhythm guitar player by also playing with different intensity on the down and up strokes of your strumming. Try it – hit the downward strum pretty hard, and then ease up on the up strum. This rhythm pattern will sound unique and interesting in the right musical context and add

dynamics to your rhythm guitar playing.

–       Try palm muting rhythm chords: When you gently rest your strumming hand palm on top of the low E string, you mute the ringing sound of the string. Your playing will gain new sound characteristics when you mix palm muted chord strumming with open strumming,. This is also an ideal way to emphasize your singing lyrics over your playing.

Your guitar technique will take on various forms of playing, as you start to establish your style, rhythm and sense of playing. Good rhythm guitar playing takes time and practice. You can take your playing to new levels by signing up with Scottsdale Music Academy in Scottsdale, AZ. Your first lesson is free! Follow your guitar playing passion at Scottsdale Music Academy!

Scroll to Top