Rhythm

It’s all in the details.

Beginner

Beginner

  • Understand the inherent challenges in rhythm guitar playing.
  • Develop new strumming patterns.
  • Cultivate practice strategies to keep yourself motivated.
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Last updated on May 12, 2022

Rhythm guitar is arguably the most important aspect of guitar playing, and it’s also one of the most challenging skills to develop. The discouragement many players feel when working on rhythms forces too many of them to oversimplify the nuances, and this can reduce a performance from exceptional to fine. In this lesson, we’ll investigate why rhythm guitar can be so puzzling and look at a few ways to keep yourself motivated enough to persevere and improve.

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An essential skill that’s often overlooked.

Beginner

Beginner

• Learn how to add interest by “missing” strums.

• Create patterns influenced by drumbeats.

• Understand how to systematically improve your rhythm playing.

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Strumming great rhythm guitar is a core skill. It’s never too soon—or too late—to get a solid groove going. With a few simple chord shapes, you can be up and running rather quickly. (You can even tune your guitar’s open strings to a chord and simply strum the open strings.) Players like Neil Young, Kurt Cobain, Noel Gallagher, and Jimmy Page all have an individualized approach to simple strums. Let’s dig in and tighten up our rhythm chops.

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Just because you live on the low end of the fretboard doesn’t mean you can’t add melodic and harmonic interest to your progressions.

Beginner

Beginner

• Add color and movement to everyday chords.
• Increase your chord vocabulary.
• Improve your rhythm.

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Last updated on April 28, 2022

So-called "cowboy chords" have been fundamental to the guitar since its invention. In this lesson, we'll look at easy ways to spice up these everyday grips so they'll add interest to your playing, improve your rhythm, and liven up even the most predictable of progressions.

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Photo by Katrena Wise

Intermediate

Intermediate

  • Break down what makes Eric’s approach so unique.
  • Learn Hendrix’s “Little Wing” from a whole new perspective.
  • Pick up some new muscle memory on unusual chord shapes.
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Eric Gales’ method of playing a right-handed guitar left-handed and upside down gives him a sound that’s distinctively his. If you watch videos of him playing, you’ll notice he plays with his thumb wrapped around the top of the neck, like Jimi Hendrix or John Mayer. However, since his guitar strings are flipped upside down, his thumb is fretting what would be the first string to most people. This not only puts your brain in a whirl when trying to steal licks, but it also opens the door for some truly unique chord voicings. Gales, who fuses blues, rock, and classical together, constantly manages to play some truly otherworldly licks and passages.

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