3 Essential Rhythm Guitar Techniques

3 Essential Rhythm Guitar Techniques

Now that you’ve mastered the building blocks of rhythm it’s time to apply some technique to take your rhythm playing to the next level.

You can use whatever chords you want for this, and you can even re-interpret the rhythmic examples given in this lesson. The focus is on the technique.

Technique 1 – Alternate Strumming

In the first part of this series you touched on alternate strumming, but before you get too deep its worth just making sure you’ve got it nailed.

Start by strumming straight eighth notes to get the hand moving fluently. Many players find up strums feel a little strange at first so doing this slowly will get the hand used to the motion both directions./p>

Alternative Strumming 1 Frets Image

Once you’re comfortable you can step it up to sixteenth notes.

Alternative Strumming 2 Frets Image

Then you can start to apply some rhythmic groupings to it like this. Playing alternate strummed eighths on the 1 and 3 and sixteenths on the 2 and 4.

Alternative Strumming 3 Frets Image

Technique 2 – Fret Hand Muting

When you start out playing guitar, you actively avoid muting strings. Now you’re going to use it as a percussive addition to your rhythm playing.

To do this, you will need to rest your fretting hand flat across the strings to get a percussing sound. You can put this into a chord rhythm like this example here. Play a chord as eighth notes on the 1 and 3 and muted sixteenths on the 2 and 4.

Hand Muting 1 Frets Image

You can also work this into longer progressions.

Hand Muting 2 Frets Image

You don’t have to do it as sixteenth notes .You can put whatever rhythmic grouping in that you want, but it’s useful to start with a simple pattern to integrate the technique.

Technique 3 – Palm Muting

Palm Muting is a fantastic rock based technique that involves resting the side of your fretting hand on the bridge of the guitar where the strings cross over the saddles.

This creates a deadened version of the note that you are playing. Check out the video for some best practises on hand placement.

Try this fun power chord riff that alternates between eighth note power chords and sixteenth note palm muted lines.

Palm Muting Frets Image
About The Author

Leigh Fuge is a professional guitar player from Swansea in South Wales that has written and created content for many high-profile guitar brands and publications such as PMT, RSL Rockschool, Trinity College London, Guitar.com and more.

He works with mgrmusic.com to provide high quality guitar content for guitar players of all abilities from around the country. To date, mgrmusic.com has successfully generated over 32,000 student enquiries for their network of music teachers around the country. Find a local teacher in your area today.