When you learn how to play rhythm guitar you will need to understand a few key things about the role you play. The rhythm guitar is not a secondary role in a song – in fact, it is a highly valuable position that requires a great deal of careful play and tons of practice to ensure you can keep the rhythm, maintain the song and lead the progression of the rhythm. If you’re looking for a great way to learn the guitar we recommend GuitarTricks.com.
To start with, you need to pick up a metronome. A metronome will help you learn how to keep time. Even if you think you know how to play rhythm guitar without a metronome, you probably don’t – most people cannot. Without a bass line or drums to keep the beat, it is hard to maintain your own rhythm perfectly.
You can also practice by playing along to other music, using it as your measure. This can be done with backing tracks that you can download off the Internet for free or with songs by bands like the Ramones that have a strong sense of rhythm in their music.
The Importance of Chords
The next thing on the list when you learn how to play rhythm guitar is chords. You need to know your chords inside and out, starting with basic open chords, then moving to bar chords and power chords. You’ll find that the bar chords are the most demanding of the chords, but that power chords are just as important and should be paid attention to as much as the rest.
A Power chord will generally only use two or three strings so they are a good starting place for someone who is just learning how to play rhythm guitar and wants to get a few solid chords under their belt. You can also use these chords in both major and minor so they are flexible. The only thing they are not good for is softer, mellower songs.
Luckily, you don’t even need to go out and buy a bunch of chord books to start learning your basics. You can find most chords on the Internet for free. Bookmark the pages and have them ready for your use.
Playing Rhythm Guitar
When you start playing the rhythm guitar, you will need to create a basic collection of strums. This is started by alternating up and down strokes in 4/4 time (as most modern songs are written). You can play a song with technically only two or three chords, but you should try to find a good twelve bar blues resource or learn the chords to a song you know well.
Now, with a metronome, your chords and a basic idea of your strumming pattern, you can start copying the rhythms of your favorite songs and developing your style. You will quickly find that rhythm guitar is not only fun to play, there are infinite possibilities to how your songs will sound as you develop your own personal sense of style and rhythm.
Blues is perfectly rhythmical and is an absolutely great way to start and learn rhythms. Watch this video how 8 guitars play the blues including Johnny Depp and Paul McCartney.