Strumming the guitar in rhythm while making chords and even singing at the same time is a tough challenge when you learn how to play guitar. The secret to overcoming it is to approach the problem one step at a time. Here is a simple three step approach that will help you learn how to play guitar rhythms more easily.
1. Speak the rhythm
In this first step you should simply try to work out the rhythm in your head. Don’t try to play it, that will only distract you and lead to errors. Speak the rhythm using simple words like “down-up” to master the timing of the rhythm with no distractions from your guitar.
Some simple words you can use to get into the groove are “ta-ki” for eighth note beats or “ga-ma-la” for triplet time.
2. Play rhythm with no chord
The next step once you’ve worked out what the rhythm pattern should sound and feel like is to transfer it to your guitar. Again, avoid distractions and allow yourself to focus only on your strumming by playing no chord.
Lightly rest your fretting hand across the strings to muffle them as you strum. You’ll only get a percussive scratching sound which is great for hearing the rhythm pattern.
3. Put the rhythm and chords together
Finally, put your strum pattern together with the song’s chords. It’s important at this step to keep your strum pattern going as you change chords. It doesn’t matter too much if you strum in the middle of some chord changes, but whatever you do don’t pause in your strumming.
Use these three steps to help you learn how to play guitar rhythms that challenge your coordination skills. Break things down and work on one problem at a time and you will learn faster and more easily.
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