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Guitar Rhythms You NEED To Know

3 Guitar Rhythms

Are you going to be gigging soon? Maybe you got invited to your first jam session? Guitar Tricks instructor Mike Olekshy wants to make sure you know these three quintessential guitar rhythm strumming patterns before you start jamming with a band. 

The first rhythm is simple, yet deceptive. You'll have to work hard at the straight 8th note downstroke to keep it nice and groovy with super-tight timing. This pattern comes up a lot in rock and punk music, and can be thought of as "1-&-2-&-3-&-4-&" in terms of timing -- two downstrokes for every beat in 4/4 time. Practicing this rhythm with a metronome or drum loop will ensure that you're properly locking into the groove. 

For the second rhythm, we'll take a look at a shuffle. Mike will stick with the 8th note downstroke, but this time he'll shift the "&'s" of each beat, introducing a syncopated feel. This gives the pattern that "swagger" that you hear in blues music and will become very apparent if you use it to play the 12-bar blues form. 

The third must-know guitar rhythm pattern is probably the most common, and that's the up/downstroke. This pattern also makes use of a syncopated 8th note rhythm, but introduces upstrokes and downstrokes and also leaves a bit of space in between some strums. Once you've mastered this pattern, you can feel comfortable jamming with anyone!



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