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Adding More Syncopation


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Syncopated Rock Rhythm Series 3

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In this lesson we will focus on the playing technique.

We're going to start with three simple open major chords: A, D and E major. Any chords will do and I encourage you to try thic technique with any and all chords you can play! But, just to keep things simple to start with, we are going to use these basic open chords.

The trick to this technique is in the right hand picking. Play the lowest string of the chord, the "bass note" of the chord on the downbeat and upbeat of "one". Then, play the chord tones on the upper strings on the downbeat of count "two". Repeat this pattern of three "events". This will change where the bass notes and chords land. So, the next chord will happen on the upbeat of beat 3. Finally, play one more bass note, then the chord. This will result in a neat pattern of 8 events that feature a syncopated, shifting rhythm pattern.

ONE and - bass notes
TWO - chord
and THREE - bass notes
and - chord
FOUR - bass note
and - chord

That's the essence of what we are after in this tutorial!

Notice the pattern of 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2:

bass, bass, chord
bass, bass, chord
bass, chord

Once you've got that much down, try to add a little muting to really make those rhythms punchy. Notice that if you just hold the chords and play all the notes without any muting, then you get a lot of notes ringing out over each other. However, if you mute the notes right after you play them, you get a lot more punchy, powerful rock style rhythm. You can mute the bass notes slightly with your picking hand palm. You can mute the chord tones by lifting your fretting hand up a little bit after playing the chords. Don't completely remove your hand from the strings. Still maintain contact with the strings. Just release enough pressure to stop them from ringing.

Now, you've got the entire backbeat rhythm in your hands!

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