Freeway Music — Columbia, SC’s Premier Music School

Rhythm Guitar – Part 2

Having good rhythm is very important! There is a lot more to it than just strumming chords. In the first part of this series Rhythm Guitar – Part 1, we discussed learning how to feel the basic parts of 16th note rhythm , mixing them up, and the concept of passing the strings. Today, in part 2, we will delve further into some other concepts.


Often, guitar players think of guitar techniques as being more synonymous with taking a solo. Though these are very useful for adding flavor to a solo, they can also be very helpful for your rhythm playing too. When you are creating your rhythm, try using guitar techniques such as: slides, hammer-ons, pull-offs, etc. They can really spice up your guitar riff a lot. Don’t just consciously try to use these techniques, but be creative and intentional about where you place them. You can place a slide on the e of 1, or you could place it on the + of 2, or both. It comes back again to the principle of subdivision. The possibilities of creativity are endless, thus making you a more original player.


Not playing is as important as playing. Music students often overlook the importance of silence. Music is a language, and if you are having a conversation with someone, there needs to be breaks in the dialogue to evoke response. Try resting in places that you haven’t rested before. Again, be creative! Sometimes, I try to rest longer than I naturally want to. This forces me to be patient and feel rhythms my body aren’t accustom to. It’s amazing how unique the rhythms become.

Adding/Removing Notes

This concept is similar to the technique concept. It is as simple as adding and removing notes for the chord you are playing. Sometimes I like to think theoretically about chords, but sometimes I like to just experiment, trust my ears, and see what comes of it. Just like with resting and techniques, you can pick where you want to add and remove notes from the chords. Again, the possibilities are endless, adding yet another layer to your creativity.

As you can see playing rhythm guitar is more vast than most people think. There are so many possibilities. Make sure you check out the concepts in Rhythm Guitar – Part 1 and stay tuned for Rhythm Guitar – Part 3. I will delve into even more concepts to shake up your rhythm playing and make it more interesting. Don’t settle for just strumming like everyone else.

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