When playing in a band, group or combo situation there is a term you will often hear known as “in the pocket”.
And no…”in the pocket” does not refer to a place to put your hands while on a gig! In simple terms, when a band is playing “in the pocket”, they are playing musically “in sync” with each other.
First off, it’s important to realize that a band can be playing a song together on stage – the same song at the same time – but not truly be playing “in sync” with each other.
It can be compared to the old analogy of an 8 cylinder car engine. If the engine is only firing on 6 or 7 cylinders, it will still take the car down the road and eventually wind up at its destination. But on the way the car may cough, sputter and hesitate, making for a bumpy ride.
Conversely, when the engine is running on all 8 cylinders the ride will be smooth and easy – almost effortless.
When a band is playing “in the pocket” it is running smoothly on all 8 cylinders.
The “pocket” of a song is its “rhythmic core”. The foundation upon which all the other instrumentation, vocals and melodies are layered.
Quite often, the term “in the pocket” is used to describe the ability of the drummer and bass player to “lock in” to that rhythmic core of the song. As a result, many times a drummer or bass player will be favorably described as a “pocket player”.
But we, as guitarists, also have the ability to make a contribution to the “pocket” of a song.
Here are some things a guitar player can focus on to play “in the pocket” with the band.
1. “Listen to me” vs. “Listen to us”
It’s natural, as guitar players, to be focused on what we are doing individually. We are often engrossed in dazzling the audience with our leads and solos.
But playing “in the pocket” requires a bit of a mind shift from that of an individual player, to one of a “team” player.
2. Pay Closer Attention
Rather than focusing on what we are doing individually – in order to become better “pocket players” – we should spend more time “really listening” to what’s going on around us.
Try to focus more on actually “hearing” each individual part that the other players (drummer, bass player, keyboardist, horns, etc.) are contributing to the piece.
3. Make a Contribution
Once you become adept at truly hearing the other parts of the players around you, now try to focus on what your contribution is to the “pocket”.
Truly listen to how what you are playing on guitar contributes to the overall sound of the band as a “whole”.
4. Simple is better…..Less is more
Quite often, for a guitar player, the best contributions to the pocket are the simplest things such as a “chink chink chink” chord pattern that matches the snare drum – or a simply strummed chord that rings out with the bass.
Always keep in mind that a guitarist’s rhythms should complement the bottom end – not be in contrast to it – and that can often be accomplished most successfully by using simple techniques and allowing the song to “breathe” with plenty of spaces.
5. Feel It!
All technical considerations aside, the ability to play “in the pocket” really comes from learning how to play from the perspective of “feeling” the music.
Avoid the natural tendency to “over think” what you are doing and simply lose yourself in the “feel” of the song – and you will be amazed at how quickly you will find yourself “in the pocket”.
Keep in mind that it’s not just the responsibility of the drummer and bass player to find the “pocket”. We, as guitar players, have an obligation to make our contribution as well.
Always remember that there’s a subtle difference between bands that play “in the pocket” and bands that don’t. But quite often, it’s that fine line that separates good bands from great ones!
Source by Keith Dean
The Purpose of the Play What You Hear jazz guitar lesson program is to teach the student to, dramatic pause, to play what they hear.
Seriously, the author, Chris Standring, makes a great point that many guitarists learn to master the fretboard through visualizing shapes and patterns. The unfortunate result is that solos improvised in this manner can sound contrived. Chris goes on to say that he believes that many guitarists often have no idea that they do not hear what they play.
About The Author Chris Standring
In the Authors own words, Chris Standring is a contemporary jazz recording artist, after spending 15 years as a touring sideman and studio guitarist in London and Los Angeles. He has recorded for several record labels as an artist including Sonic Images, Instinct Records, Mesa/Bluemoon Recordings and more recently Trippin n Rhythm/V2 records. Chris is successful in the USA as well as the UK, his homeland, and performs there in concert venues annually. His music also appears on many compilation CDs.
Who Will Benefit Most From This Jazz Guitar Program?
Play What You Hear is geared for intermediate guitar players that have at least a basic knowledge of the guitar fretboard as well as some ability to read music.
This instructional course has been designed for enthusiastic bedroom guitarists, college and university music majors as well as working professional musicians who want to refine their jazz skills.
Is This Jazz Guitar Course For Acoustic Or Electric Guitar Players?
Most of the audio examples use an electric guitar but the course is appropriate for acoustic guitars as well.
The Lesson Format
Most lessons contain a written explanation, written music and tabs and audio examples. When appropriate an additional play along version of the audio examples with a back-up band is also included.
This program, in both the CD and instant internet download versions, will work with all Macintosh or Windows PC operating systems.
The Contents of Play What You Hear
The Physical Parts
- (1) CD
- Bonus #1 Jazz Guitar Talk: Great jazz guitarists discuss what it takes to play great.
- Bonus #2 Chord Finder and Ear Trainer
- Bonus #3 Guitar Codex – Find any scale or chord in any key and see it displayed on a fretboard diagram along with clickable audio.
- Bonus #4 Guitar Decoder – Play a series of random notes and the decoder will tell you the name of the chord they form.
- (2) Printable PDF files of all the lessons for convenient reading away from the computer.
The Lesson Categories
- Playing Over Changes
- Phrase Development
- And now to the music – example jazz standard sequences
The Play What You Hear Jazz Guitar Instructional course does not include video. While this is a little disappointing I believe that with intermediate level skills and above this is much less critical.
If you only have a desktop computer then you are bound to practice at that desktop in order to hear the audio portion of the lessons and to use the built in tools. However, included on the CD are printable versions of all the guitar lessons for viewing away from the computer.
The author is a formally educated musician yet is also an in-the-trenches performing and recording guitarist. When I received this course Standring had a Jazz guitar song in the top three on the Jazz charts. In other words, he not only knows this stuff but he lives it too.
While this course is packed with lots of jazz theory lessons it strives to go beyond just learning more stuff. This Chris Standring CD emphasizes playing at a much higher artistic level.
The guitar lessons on CD are extremely well organized and therefore easy to navigate.
There are over 300 well produced audio examples that really bring the written word to life.
Many of the audio examples have an alternate play along version where you play the lead part to a back up band. This nice touch provides a realistic band experience.
The price is especially reasonable considering the significant volume of information included and Chris Standrings experience and standing in the Jazz community.
The Price Analysis:
The CD Version and The Instant Download Version are both priced at $97 USD, as of this writing, and include all of the items mentioned above. The contents of both versions are exactly same.
Play What You Hear by Chris Standring contains the equivalent of 6 months to one year worth of guitar lessons if you were to space them out as if you were taking lessons from a local guitar instructor. A local instructor typically will charge anywhere from $20 to $50 per weekly lesson. Your minimum cost at only $20 per lesson for 6 months would be at least $520.
The choice comes down to:
The Play What You Hear DVD Jazz Guitar Program at $97 or A local instructor at $520 to $1040.
Satisfaction guaranteed or 100% money back including shipping. There is no shipping charge on the instant download version.
The Bottom Line:
This Jazz guitar course offers a way to significantly increase the knowledge and tools at your disposal for improvising solos in almost all situations. But I love the fact that This course does not stop there. There are many guitarists that are technically or rather mechanically developed but few ever cross over into the realm of the artist.
This course does an excellent job of presenting this concept in an easy to understand format at a very reasonable price for such a specialty instructional course taught by a Jazz leader. It is for these reasons that I can easily recommend the Jazz guitar lessons instructional course called Play What You Hear by Chris Standring.
Source by John Mackinnon
At this point, I’m sure you’ve heard of the popular guitar teacher, Tom Hess. His articles and videos are all over the internet, he even offers music career advice to people looking to get into the music business (something that I hope to do someday for myself). But does he get results? As a guitarist looking to hone my skills and build a little speed, I decided to investigate – and here’s some interesting information I came across:
Reviews About Tom Hess Guitar Lessons:
Immediately I noticed a review of Tom Hess’s guitar lessons by Mike Philippov. I’ve seen his guitar playing in several videos on YouTube, and he can really play. In his review, Philippov talks very highly of Hess and makes a very convincing case – Hell, with those kind of chops, he must be doing something right.
After Google, I tried YouTube. I got many results, but the one at the top was a video with tons of reviews by actual Tom Hess guitar students. A lot of people seem to have really benefited from his lessons, and many of the can really play.
In the end, I felt pretty intrigued by all the positive results people were receiving. I found other results with negative things to say about Hess, but they all came in the form of “I can’t stand Hess”, “I hate Tom Hess” and so on. Not much for me to go on there, but then again, I tend to steer clear of blind, vitriolic internet hate.
Quick Review: Tom Hess’s Music Career Mentoring Program
The first Tom Hess music careers mentoring program review I came across was by someone named Lee Gattenby, a guitar teacher in Alaska. Seems he has built a pretty nice teaching business for himself and released his own music. Not bad… I continued searching…
Next, I found what seems to be an interview with Tom Hess about music career advice. Not so much a music careers mentoring program review as it is Tom debunking various music career myths. Very insightful though – worth a look.
In the end, I seem to find a lot of positive reviews for Tom Hess and his programs. I can’t help but be intrigued by this guy. He talks a big game, and a lot of people vouch for him. I say he is worth a look if you are a guitarist/musician, but it’s up to you to do your own research. Regardless, Hess really comes off as genuinely serious about helping his students… a rarity for guitar teachers.
Source by Jared A Young
Anyone can play guitar right? This is not true! Learning to play guitar leads requires a few essential things before you can think of charming an audience with pleasant musical effects…
Ever watched a lead guitarist perform live onstage? There is one thing that distinguishes him or her from the rest of the band members. It’s sheer confidence! If you don’t believe in your own talent, you can hardly learn to play guitar. A faith in your talent shows directly in your body language. So, when you hold a guitar in your hand, check your attitude first. If it’s not positive, no amount of guitar lessons would work!
Do you have the knack to practice guitar for hours together after a tiresome day at the workplace? If yes, then congratulations! You have passed the discipline test! The zeal that you show on the very first day of your guitar class should remain the same (or increase) even after a month. It takes a great deal of discipline to stick to a schedule even when you think you are not doing well. Remember, learning to play guitar leads doesn’t come overnight. It’s a matter of persistent efforts and enthusiasm to become a lead guitarist.
This depends on the expertise of the tutor you hire for learning to play guitar leads. Once you grasp the right technique, you are not far away from becoming an expert. Practice and practice. This is the only key to mastering the technique of playing guitar.
You need to be careful with your hand position, as the wrong position would mar your entire musical note. The first thing to learn is to hold the guitar correctly with your hands. The tuning comes later.
You may have noticed that some people play guitar while standing whereas some prefer sitting down. For beginners, the latter is a good position to start off with learning to play guitar leads. You have a greater control over the instrument and can concentrate on the music. While sitting, see that both your feet are placed flat on the ground and your back is straight. With hours of practice, a wrong body position can give you backache or spinal injury. So, tune your body first and then practice tuning the guitar strings!
You cannot think of becoming a lead guitarist with an attitude of a follower! A lead guitarist is the one, on whom people (read band members) look for guidance. You will need to take responsibility for the entire music group. If anyone makes a mistake, it’s you who have to cover up. For this, you need to have an agile mind, impeccable musical skill, and above all, leadership qualities. Be attentive to your own music while you practice on the guitar. It’s better to start developing leadership skills right from the beginning of your training.
With time and practice, you will notice improvement. You thought learning to play guitar leads was child’s play, eh? Yet, it’s not as difficult as climbing the Everest! You can do it!
Source by Logan Young
Now as many adults get older, learning the piano for adults is a activity that is often requested as an enjoyable activity. These adult students often regret they did not continue with the lessons but realize their parents had to stop the lessons because of their lack of interest and lack of learning. Most parents don’t want to spend money on lessons if their child has no interest.
But why do children really stop piano lessons in the first place? The reason why children quit piano is that they are often overwhelmed with too many activities, they were not interested in the piano but their mother likes it, or they like it but not enough to practice and learn the assignments. But when some students grow up and look back, they wish that they could have stuck with the piano lessons.
After awhile, many parents want to stop the fighting and arguing with their child and end up stopping the lessons. Now some adults recall that they were unreasonable and just plain lazy, and wished they stayed with the lessons. Now sometimes adults take online piano lessons to refresh or start learning the piano again. Video tutorials from these courses can be very helpful in refreshing old piano skills, but if it is not enough a regular piano teacher would help in weekly lessons instead.
As adult student you will have to reserve a special time during the day for your practice time. Also, be open to correcting and learning from your errors, and realize you can build your skills by playing wrong notes. You cannot be perfect, and not even the most famous concert artist is perfect as they have to practice, too. Don’t think for one minute that you should be able to play like a master after a few weeks or a year or two because it does not work that way. There is much to learn as an adult or even a child student, so it takes patience and motivation to persevere as a student.
Besides spending time practicing, you must have a positive attitude and firm discipline to see carrying your goals through. Patience and persistence are qualities that will help you through your practice routine. Don’t expect immediate results, as some lessons will be more difficult than others. You might need to spend more time on some pieces than others, and that is to be expected.
There are so many options and resources now to play piano for adults returning to piano. These include online piano video tutorials, class room piano at a local community college, or private piano instruction by a qualified piano teacher. True, you may have to relearn the basics and start over again but that will help you build up your skills again. You will easily catch up to where you left off if you keep a regular practice schedule.
Source by Darius Thomason
Learning any song on the guitar and making it stick can always be a chore. You should understand that no matter your skill level on the guitar, this is always a challenge. However, there is an excellent system that facilitates memorization, and overall learning process that I would like to tell you about.
The system break down
The system literally consists of breaking down the song piece by piece, and it is such a simple and effective approach that it is often times overlooked. Unfortunately, a lot of beginning guitarists know that they should work on a song in sections, but even then they often times go about it in the wrong manner.
Actually breaking it down
The best way to learn any song or guitar solo is to divide the overall mass of that song or solo into very small sections. Lets say that you have a guitar solo that is very short, yet is unusual and hard to remember. Let us also say this guitar solo has a total of twenty-five notes. In this case, the ideal way to learn it and make it stick would be to work on five, five note sections, starting from the beginning of the guitar solo.
The system doesn’t just stop their though. Now that we understand that we have to break a song or solo down into sections, lets take a look at the actual breakdown in great detail.
The first step is to memorize the notes and the patterns on the guitar so that you can quickly find them without hesitation. Make sure that you take the time to pick them out as intended. This part is a bit more mechanical, because this is where you should focus on technique. If a guitar solo requires a certain type of picking, like alternate picking, then make sure that you include this during the memorization process. This also speaks true of learning any chords or chord structures for the main part of a song. If the strumming or picking process of a series of chords is clear from the beginning, then this should be included in the memorizing of a piece.
This is where most guitarists quit and move on. Don’t do this. Instead, after you have adequately memorized the notes, work on the phrasing of those notes and try to get them to a point where they sound like they were intended to sound. It can be very difficult to go back and try and do this after you have learned the solo or song as a whole. You should be very aware that this is your next task.
Now its time to move onto the next section of the song or solo. For now, abandon the first part that you were just working on, and focus on the very next section. In the case of our 25 note guitar solo, this would be the next five notes. Use steps one and two to get this section down, just like you did
with the first part of the solo.
The connection process is very, very important and is really the key part of this whole system. Once you have mastered the first two sections of a song or solo, start with the first section and try to go straight into the next section. Its important to learn a song or solo at a slow rate of speed, regardless of how fast its supposed to be played, so that you can connect these sections in good timing. Remember, you don’t want to have to pause before each section so that you can set up your fingers first. This is very irritating for both you the musician, and the listener.
5. The lump sum
Its a funny title, but it works, because what we’re talking about now is lumping the pieces together. Its true, that in the case of the 25 note solo you only have ten notes down, but you should start thinking of those ten notes as one complete section of the solo.
For the next five notes, repeat steps one and two. Move onto the next fives notes and also repeat steps one and two. Then – you guessed it! make the connection between those two newer sections.
Now you have two complete sections as well as the majority of the solo down. Your job now is to use the connection process and lump these two larger sections together. Now you should have one complete section of the solo down. There are only five notes left. Use steps one and two, and then starting from the very beginning of the solo, attempt to connect the last five notes with the large section that you have put together.
You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can learn a complete song or solo by doing this. Now its true that if the song or solo utilizes difficult techniques, speeds, phrasing, and/or time signatures, that this will still be a bit of a burden. However, this really is the process to go with, because now you can use this process to up the Annie of the speed of certain sections or to focus on the individual techniques. Just make sure to keep everything balanced. You want to strive to keep everything as even as possible throughout the song or solo.
This learning tactic is also excellent for learning classical guitar pieces, as they tend to consist of many sections anyways.
In terms of a guitar solo, it does not matter the length or intricacy of the guitar solo, this process is still idea. The more complicated a guitar solo, the better this process will work. If you are trying to master that super insane shred fest that’s been plaguing you, then this should work very nicely.
Source by Tennyson Williams
A great song for a beginner to play
The version of “Wild Thing” by the Troggs is an excellent first song for someone interested in starting to play the guitar. The song only has 3 chords, and they are usually some of the first chords a beginner guitar student would learn. The chords are A, D, and E. Also, we will implement an easy strumming pattern, so you can sound pretty good early on. Later, as you become more advanced, fancy strumming patterns will really impress those who listen to you play.
It was a big hit many years ago
Back in 1966, “Wild Thing” made it to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U. S. It also reached number 2 in Britain. Rolling Stone magazine listed “Wild Thing” as number 257 on it’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song certainly is fun to listen to, and makes a great beginner guitar lesson. It has been covered by many artists, including Jimi Hendrix, who gave an amazing performance of the song at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Even if this song isn’t your style, it can be an excellent song to begin your guitar playing career with.
Learning about the guitar
As your holding a guitar, the lowest sounding string, the sixth string is located on the top. The next string down is the fifth string, and so on. Eventually you will get to the bottom string, which is the first string. Its also the thinnest and highest sounding string. The open sixth string is an E. The open fifth string is an A. The open fourth string is a D. The open third string is a G. The open second string is a B, and the open first string is an E.
The frets are the individual squares on the guitar fretboard. This is where you place your fingers when playing the guitar. A good place to start is the fret closest to the top of the guitar. This is called the first fret. There are dots located on the guitar fretboard. Each one represents different frets on the guitar. The first dot is on the 3rd fret, the second one is on the 5th fret, the third dot is on the 7th fret, and so on. Most guitars will have these dots.
Just like the strings and frets on the guitar, we also assign a number to the various fingers of the left hand. The first, or pointer finger is number one. The middle finger is number two. The third finger, or ring finger is number three, and the pinky is number four. It is important to know finger numbers to properly place your fingers on the guitar.
How to play the chords
“Wild Thing” only has three chords. They are A, D, and E. The A chord is formed by placing your first finger on the fourth string, second fret. Your middle finger on the third string, second fret, and your ring finger on the second string, second fret.
The D chord is formed by placing your first finger on the third string, second fret. Your ring finger on the second string, third fret, and your middle finger on the first string, second fret.
The E chord is formed by placing your middle finger on the fifth string, second fret. Your ring finger on the fourth string, second fret, and your first finger on the third string, first fret.
The strumming pattern
Because this is a beginner guitar lesson, we will incorporate a simple strumming pattern for “Wild Thing”. The intro has three chords. The A, D, and E.
1. Strum the A chord twice. Strum it straight down from the fifth string.
2. Strum the D chord twice. Strum is straight down from the fourth string.
3. Strum the E chord six times total. Strum it four times, then a slight pause, and strum it two more times. Strum all the strings when playing an E chord.
The verses contain the chords A, D, E, and D again. For simplistic purposes, strum each chord twice, straight down. Remember to start your strumming on the proper string, or you will get some strange sounds. There is another part of the song with the chords GAGA each strummed one time.
If possible, listen to the original recording to get a feel for the timing of the song. If you are a beginner, not everything is going to sound the way you want it. Playing guitar is not easy, especially early on. Keep practicing, and in time, you will start to sound like a pro.
Source by Gary E Kerkow
You might think it’s impossible to learn every note on the guitar in under ten minutes. After all, there are six strings and up to 22 frets – that’s up to 132 notes! Fortunately there are some systems you can use to make it much easier.
STEP ONE – NAMES OF THE STRINGS
The first thing you need to do is memorize the names of the strings. Maybe you already know that the thickest string is called ‘E’. So when you play this string without placing a finger on any fret, the note you are playing is ‘E’. Playing a note without fretting it is also called playing an ‘open’ string.
The second thickest string is called the ‘A string’. When you play that string without fretting it, you are playing a ‘A’ note.
The string names in order from the thickest to the thinnest are: E, A, D, G, B, E (The first E is sometimes called ‘low E’ and the second is sometimes called ‘high E’. It’s easier to memorize these string names if you make up a sentence based on the letters of the strings. For example, one of my students made the following sentence: “Every Angry Dog Growls, Barks, Eats”. It may help you to remember it if you make up your own sentence.
Now that you have the string names memorized let’s move on.
STEP TWO – THE MUSICAL ALPHABET
The musical alphabet goes from A to G. The sequence then repeats. So the note after G is A. In other words, it goes like this: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C…etc. The second A is an octave higher than the first A.
STEP THREE – THE ONE FRET, TWO FRET TRICK
Any two consecutive notes in the musical alphabet are either one or two frets away from each other. To make this more clear I’ll give you a couple of examples.
Play the second fret on the G string (remember it’s the fourth thickest string). This is an A note that you are playing.
The distance between A and B is two frets so if you move up two frets (to the fourth fret) on that same string you will be playing a B note. The distance between B and C is only one fret so if you move up one more fret to the fifth fret you’ll be playing a C note.
As I mentioned, ALL consecutive notes have either one or two frets between them. B and C are only one fret apart. E and F are also only one fret apart. Every other pair of consecutive notes has two frets between them.
STEP FOUR – PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
You know what all the open strings are and you know the distance between the notes.
So if you think about it you have all the information you need to figure out any note on the fretboard. Let’s try some examples.
Let’s say you want to find an A note on the high E string (the thinnest string). You already know that if you play the note open (ie. without placing fingers on any frets) then that note is an E. You also know that the distance between E and F is only one fret. So that means if you move your finger up one fret to the first fret then that note is an F.
Now the distance between F and G is two frets. So you need to move your finger up two frets to the third fret to play a G. Finally, the distance between G and A is also two frets. When you move up two more frets to the fifth fret you will be playing an A.
Lets do one more example. Say you want to find the F note on the D string. You start by playing the open D. Since the distance between D and E is two frets you’ll need to move up to the second fret to find E. The distance between E and F is only one fret so you would move up one more fret to the third fret to find the F note.
A SHORTCUT TO MAKE THINGS A LITTLE EASIER
Here’s a bit of knowledge that will make figuring out notes higher up the fretboard much quicker and easier. The twelfth fret is usually marked with two dots because it is special. The notes at the twelfth fret are the same as the open strings. That means that if you play the twelfth fret on the B string you are playing a B. It’s just an octave higher than the open string.
If you’re trying to figure out a note on the fourteenth fret, it’s much easier to start from the twelfth rather than the open. The same thing is true if you are trying to find a note on the tenth fret. Just start at the twelfth and work backwards.
SHARPS AND FLATS
So if there are two frets between an A and a B what is the fret in between those two notes called?
To understand that you have to know what sharps and flats are. To play a sharp note you just move up one fret. So to play an A sharp you just move up to the next higher fret. So since the second fret on the G string is an A that means the third fret is an A sharp. The sharp symbol looks like a number sign. (#)
To play a flat you move down one fret. That means the first fret on the G string is an A flat. The flat symbol looks like an italic lowercase ‘b’.
That fills in all the holes in the fretboard you may have noticed.
So you can see that it’s possible to figure out any note on the fretboard. Don’t worry if it takes a while to do it now. It gets much easier with just a little practice.
Best of luck to you!
Source by Brian D
How does one go from not being good at rhythm guitar to becoming a master? Do you need to build a big vocabulary of riffs? How about jam with a tight band? Do you need to use a metronome more often? The answer to all of these is NO.
Rock-solid rhythm guitar playing comes as a result of:
-Training yourself on how to hear the right things during practice.
-Being able to spot sloppy rhythm guitar playing errors and correct them.
Watch the video to the end so you can understand the information in the rest of this article!
Question: “Tom Hess, how does working to improve my ear help my rhythm guitar playing? Isn’t ear training mainly used for identifying intervals, harmonies and the notes of scales?”
Answer: Ear training is a big area of music that is made up of many different things. Not only is it made up of being able to identify scales, chords or intervals, but also things like rhythm patterns. Additionally, ear training covers knowing how to identify rhythm guitar playing mistakes (as well as aspects of lead guitar such as poor vibrato, consonance/dissonance, etc.)
Stay away from these common rhythm guitar playing mistakes:
Rhythm Guitar Mistake Category #1: Palm Muting Mistakes
Mistake #1: Palm Muting Everything
When you palm mute everything, every note feels the same and it becomes difficult to add emphasis to any particular note. This makes your rhythm guitar playing sound too similar and it eventually becomes dull.
Palm muting is a great way to create variety between different notes by playing some with muting and others without. When done this way, it causes unmuted notes to feel accented. Muting is also a great way to give you a tighter control over the notes and the opportunity to create percussive sounds on the strings.
See the video beginning at 9 seconds to understand the difference between good and poor palm muting.
Mistake #2: Not Using Consistent Palm Muting
Palm muting comes in two forms when it is inconsistent:
-1: Switching between muted and unmuted notes at random. In some cases, the first riff is played with consistent palm muting and the next is not.
-2: Switching between heavily/aggressive muting and light muting at random. In other cases, the first power chord is played with consistent palm muting and the next is not. Sometimes the muting is spot on, other times it is too aggressive or too light.
Both of these kinds of inconsistent palm muting frequently happen at the same time.
Note: Inconsistent palm muting is NOT the same as playing with intention. The former is just a mistake. The latter is done with the purpose of creating variation in the rhythm of the notes.
Question: “Tom Hess, can you truly understand the difference between arbitrarily inconsistent palm muting and palm muting that is varied on purpose? Isn’t that just your opinion?”
Answer: Inconsistent palm muting is pretty easy to identify. Here are a few ways to spot it:
-Inconsistent palm muting usually occurs on weird places within a riff. Example: muting on a downbeat and not muting the rest.
-Inconsistent palm muting usually also includes unwanted string noise and weak articulation (plus other mistakes mentioned below).
-Inconsistent palm muting has no strict pattern to it. This comes off as sounding unintentional.
A great guitar teacher can easily identify flaws in your rhythm guitar playing and give you honest feedback on how to improve it.
Rhythm Guitar Mistakes Category #2: Poor Timing
Common rhythm guitar timing flaws include:
1. Playing ahead of the beat: the notes you play are timed poorly and land ahead (early) of the drum/metronome.
2. Playing behind the beat: the notes you play are timed poorly and land behind (late) of the drum/metronome.
Your main objective is to play exactly on the beat (right on top of the metronome/drum beat).
When you take rhythm guitar lessons you will quickly master perfect timing.
Rhythm Guitar Mistakes Category #3: Lacking Solid Picking Articulation
Excellent picking articulation will make it very easy to hear individual notes within guitar riffs. Poor picking articulation causes the notes to run together.
Poor rhythm guitar articulation is a product of:
Weak Pick Attack – not using enough force whenever you pick a note.
Inconsistent Pick Attack – hitting some notes with a lot of force, others with little force. This inconsistency makes it difficult to articulate the notes clearly.
Sloppy Two Hand Synchronization – your picking and fretting hands are not in perfect timing with each other. The faster you play, the more apparent a lack of 2-hand synchronization becomes. This makes it easier to play without clear articulation.
2-hand synchronization issues are caused by poor guitar technique and bad practicing routines.
How To Improve Your Rhythm Guitar Playing Right Now:
1. Record yourself practicing rhythm guitar playing on a consistent basis and pay close attention to your recordings. This trains you to see the weaknesses within your playing.
2. Make a list of particular issues in your playing that you want to eliminate. This helps you avoid becoming overwhelmed so you can know exactly what needs to be worked on next.
3. Focus on the issues that you want to solve. You can do this in two ways:
Focus on one single issue in complete isolation until it is fixed. This tactic is best used for smaller problems that can be quickly fixed.
Approach the issue by rotating your focus among several problems within the same practice session. For instance: play a guitar riff over and over for 1 minute focusing on palm muting only. Then play it for 1 minute while focusing on playing in perfect time. Next, focus on articulation for 1 minute. Repeat this circuit for a total of 15 minutes. This will help you to develop your skills in the long term.
4. Work with a guitar teacher to get consistent feedback on your playing so you can improve in the shortest amount of time possible.
Source by T. Hess