One could say that playing lead guitar is more “cool” than playing rhythm. But guitarists who are really good at rhythm are just as cool.
Helene Goldnadel a music instructor says that playing rhythm is an art. It takes a lot of hard work to become really good at it. But the rewards are great.
Some of the great rhythm players from pop or rock and roll include Eric Clapton, John Lennon, and Nancy Wilson (Heart). John Lennon was considered to be a genius at rhythm by many people. Many people don’t know this, but Eric Clapton has done a lot of rhythm session work for many famous pop /rock artists.
Rhythm is all about learning the strum patterns and “coloring” them with accents. Think of an accent as a down or up strum struck slightly harder (or more than slightly if needed). When you practice your rhythm patterns, try accenting on the 1 and 3 counts (if you are in 4/4 time). After you master that, try accenting on the 2 and 4 counts. You will notice a huge difference in the way the strum pattern sounds. Next, try accenting on the 1 and the 4 count. These three styles of accents are massively used in pop and rock music, so take the trouble to learn them.
Once you have mastered these patterns and their different accent styles, increase your speed (or tempo) a little bit at a time. Eventually, you want to be able to play these patterns at a very fast speed, but you need to be patient with this. Do it one step at a time.
Eventually you will also learn that there are different styles regarding how you play rhythm on an electric guitar as opposed to an acoustic guitar – At least as it is commonly played in pop / rock music.
But first things first. Learn the basic stuff. After you have done that, you will be able to figure the style differences out for yourself. In the meantime, you’re making music.
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