Rhythm guitarists can benefit from being aware of what the drummer is doing.
•Understand and dissect different elements of a drum groove.
• Create funky and percussive guitar riffs.
• Simultaneously play in several different registers to simulate different instruments.
Rhythm guitarists can benefit from being aware of what the drummer is doing. A great way to dive into this world is to study drum patterns. With the availability of transcriptions all over the internet, it has never been easier to get inside the mind of a funky drummer. There are usually three parts to a drum pattern: kick, snare, and hi-hat. Each instrument occupies its own sonic space—think low, medium, and high—and these parts can easily translate to the guitar as bass, chords, and melody. By combining these elements, you can create interesting composite rhythms, and in this lesson we are going to look at a few examples.
The starting point will be a pattern similar to Clyde Stubblefield’s classic “Funky Drummer” beat shown in Fig. 1. Reading drum notation is pretty similar to standard notation. The lowest notes are the bass drum, the middle notes represent the snare drum and the Xs along the top are for the hi-hat. An open hi-hat is marked with a circle. As you can see, there is a lot going on here. It’s highly syncopated and very busy. The driving pulse is based on a 16th-note groove and provides the grid in which you can line up the hits and accents provided by the snare. When you craft a guitar part based on something like this, typically you’re going to choose much simpler patterns that either double or play off of what is already happening. However, in this lesson we will play more of the parts in order to really assimilate the funky drummer groove.
Often guitarists think in terms of rhythm or lead parts. This can be limiting, and one of the ways around this limitation is to listen to other instruments and simulate some of their characteristics. This is what most solo performers do, especially pianists. If you check out some old-school jazz pianists like Earl “Fatha” Hines, they are definitely thinking about playing like a band. They’re playing the bass, rhythm guitar, melody, and background parts at the same time.
Let’s start by looking at just the kick and snare parts. In Fig. 2 we use a single bass note for the kick drum and some chord stabs for the snare. This example is the composite rhythm of the drum groove condensed down to two parts.
In Fig. 3 we add a muted percussive sound that will give us the feel of the 16th-note pattern originally played on the hi-hats. It’s possible to add this feel to any rhythm part. Nonpitched sounds are an essential part of the rhythm guitar vocabulary and can be achieved by maintaining steady up and down strokes while muting the notes you aren’t playing. We can further embellish the basic pattern with Fig. 4, which adds a little more melodic movement to the basic 16th-note chordal pattern.
Leo Nocentelli, the Meters’ guitarist, had a huge influence on me with his unique approach to playing melody and rhythm. Both Fig. 5 and Fig. 6 demonstrate how to combine melodic fragments to create a moving and funky groove. This is one of the keys to adding variety to funk guitar parts. Try to imitate a horn section or a combination of different instruments playing in different registers. Leo calls this a “layering technique,” in which you play in several registers to simulate different instruments playing at the same time.
We move back to the bare-bones kick and snare pattern in Fig. 7, but add an African twist. Try playing it with the picking hand muting the strings. You can also try changing the notes you play while keeping the same rhythmic pattern.
A different harmonic element appears in Fig. 8, the D Phrygian mode (D–E♭–F–G– A–B♭–C). You can think of this scale in two ways: either a Bb major scale starting on D or a minor scale with a lowered 2, 6, and 7. It gives a jazzier, exotic feel to the harmony. Also notice that the chords are built on fourths, which is a staple of modal jazz harmony.
As you can see, we are basically turning the guitar into a melodic drum, and by studying patterns such as these you can open up a whole new world of cohesive rhythmic playing. This study will also give you more of an awareness of how to lock in with your rhythm section. Next time you play with a drummer or a drum track, practice playing along using the hi-hat as the subdivided pulse and try to mimic the snare and kick patterns to work on developing your rhythmic sync.
Will Bernard has played in a host of boundary stretching groups, performing jazz, hip-hop, world, and experimental music with many stops in between. As a touring artist, Bernard has been gaining steady momentum, performing in his own band or as a member of the Stanton Moore Trio, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, Groundation, and other lineups. His forthcoming album, Outdoor Living will be released soon. For more information, visit willbernard.com.
Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.
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About Mystery Stocking
Each year, Premier Guitar likes to put out these mystery boxes as a part of bringing some fun to the holiday season. Remember, this is supposed to be a fun holiday treat! If the contents of this box will ruin your holiday, deplete the last of your bank account, or end your ability to see the good in humanity, it may not be for you.
- This year's Mystery Stocking will cost $44.95. ($39.95 + $5 Flat shipping)
- Each box will be guaranteed to contain $40 or more in value.
- US only. (Sorry World.)
- Make sure your shipping address is correct.
- Have your credit card ready to go before you refresh the page. Paypal is not available. Autofill may not fill in your information.
- There will be NO REFUNDS given.
- There has been a huge demand for these in the past. We really did sell out in less than 4 minutes last year. When they are gone, they are gone.
- One per household, one per person.
Q: What's in the Mystery Stocking?
A: It wouldn't be much of a surprise if we told you, now would it?
Q: Will I definitely get my money worth?
Q: Can I return it if I don't like it?
A: Nope. All sales final.
Q: What if I live outside the US?
A: Sorry, US only.
Q. How much is it?
A. $39.95 Plus $5 shipping
Q. When will it ship?
A. On or before December 10, 2022.
Q. What form of payment do you accept?
A. Credit cards only. Sorry, no Paypal for this.
Q. Can I ship to a different location than my billing address?
Q. I tried last year and didn't get one. Will I get one this year?
A. There is an overwhelming demand for Mystery Stocking. Be sure you have a fast internet connection and be ready when they go on sale. Last year we sold out in 3 min 33 seconds.
Q. I want to buy 5. How can I buy 5?
A. You can't. This year, we're limiting to one per household, so more people can get in on the fun!
Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
Origin Effects introduce the new M-EQ DRIVER mid booster & drive pedal. Based on a vintage Pultec studio EQ, this unique pedal offers a range of mid-focused tones, from a subtle mid boost to thick, resonant overdrive. Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.
A choice of three mid-range frequencies ensures that you can boost just the right part of your guitar signal and, when pushed harder, can elicit a range of saturation from a classic “mid-hump” overdrive to fierce “cocked wah” distortion. Thanks to the Adaptive Circuitry, the high-end roll-off of the Cut control is reduced as the pedal cleans up. This allows for a smooth transition from warm overdrive to bright clean tones in response to playing dynamics or guitar volume knob changes.
Introducing... M-EQ DRIVER || Mid Booster & Drive
Built-in the UK to the highest standards, the M-EQ DRIVER continues the Origin Effects tradition of vintage, studio-inspired tones in modern guitar pedals. The Origin Effects M-EQ DRIVER is available now from Origin Effects dealers worldwide.
RRP: 259 GBP (Inc VAT) / 319 USD (Ex TAX)
For more information, please visit origineffects.com.
The new finish, according to Lava Music, is “inspired by the beauty of the golden hour,” a shining time just before sunset and after sunrise when photographers covet to capture stunning pictures.
With bright and warm golden hues, the new finish adds a brilliant metallic glow to the surface of Lava ME 3, complementing its AirSonic 2 carbon fiber unibody which features L3 Preamp with FreeBoost 2.0, delivers industry-leading sounds by breakthrough acoustic technologies, and houses a multi-touch display powered by Lava-developed HILAVA system.
Speaking of the HILAVA system, Lava Music also added four new effects: Nebula, Desert Rose, Cassette, and Edge of Breakup. As unique as their names sound, they are very much different from what we normally know about effects. Programmed into the HILAVA system, each of the four is powered by the company’s latest ArctanDrive algorithm and incorporates effects like Pitch Shift, Delay, and Reverb. And every one of those incorporated sub-effects comes with various parameters that players can adjust to design unique, overdriven sounds by just tapping on the multi-touch display. That said, those effects enable users to play with overdriven tone on an acoustic-electric guitar without even plugging in any external gear.
LAVA ME 3 | Now in Golden Hour | LAVA MUSIC
Lava Me 3 in Golden Hour is now available starting from $999 on LAVA MUSIC, Amazon, and local guitar dealerships near you.
For more information, please visit store.lavamusic.com.