Rhythm guitar

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Axegrinder77, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 TDPRI Member

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    So I'll try to keep this brief and cohesive....

    I'm kinda lost in my place as a musician. I mean, I think strumming is my greatest strength, and I also play some lead and am a mediocre singer.

    Master of none has left me without a spot to fill in a band setting, or just in general musically.

    I'm thinking of spending the next year or so focusing on advancing my rhythm play.. Like getting really pro with it. Tight, interesting, understanding where to accent, poly chords, inversions, the whole nine yards.

    My question for the wise forum members:

    Is there a strong demand for great rhythm guitarists? I feel maybe it's a better compromise for me than, say, my recent bass adventure.

    In my mind it comes down to focus on my strength and get even better: rhythm guitar vs. Working on my weaknesses: lead guitar, singing.

    Thanks for reading, and looking forward to your thoughts and opinions.

    Cheers, and go Raptors!
     
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  2. Mike SS

    Mike SS Poster Extraordinaire

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    I almost always end up in rhythm roll, since I have always played with amazing lead guitarists, but I have not let this stop my advancement as a guitarist. Don't take a "far enough" attitude towards study and practice. Strive to be a better, all around guitarist. Period.
     
  3. Cheap guitar guy

    Cheap guitar guy Tele-Meister

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    I would think that the genre of music that you are playing would have a lot to do with it. That being said. A good rhythm player is essential I think in any band. When you have a two guitar band and one guy likes rhythm and the other likes to take the lead and you compliment eachother. The lead player adds a little to the rhythm but that is your thing. I think that works. It is taking the timing of the whole band from drums and bass and adding that guitar.
     
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  4. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    A strong rhythm player is a wonderful thing, but I would not say the skill is in high demand.
    Most of the bands I see around here lack a good rhythm player.
    Maybe you could start a trend!
    Playing rhythm well helps you greatly when you lead a band.
    That’s very important!
    We side guys need something/someone to follow.
    If you don’t play with good time feel, it’s almost impossible to follow you.
    Being in tune, and in time helps make your music memorable and danceable.
    That should matter to you, and your audience.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
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  5. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 TDPRI Member

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    This idea was inspired by a dire straights video where Eric Clapton is in the background playing rhythm. And it was immediately clear that it was not a gimmick. Punchy, fat rhythm guitar from a guy who's arguably one the greatest melodic lead players.

    Of course now I'll have to buy a strat :/
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
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  6. EspyHop

    EspyHop Tele-Meister

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    This came up in my feed while “Beast of Burden” was playing at the bar.

    Nothing wrong with rhythm guitar. Keith Richards and Pete Townshend proved that over 50 years ago.
     
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  7. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Rythm guitar doesn't have to be simply strumming straight chords, there is a ton of room for a good rhythm player to come up with interesting grooves, creative chord voicing, accents, etc. In fact, a really good rhythm player can solo all the way through a set without stepping on any other parts.
     
  8. Fluddman

    Fluddman Tele-Meister

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    I know Keef has already been mentioned but I like the way in the Stones there is not a demarcation between rhythm and lead. Both work together to create the song.

    So I guess it is all about creating interesting parts, whatever they may be.
     
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  9. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Rhythm guitar is a lot like bass, and perhaps also drumming. At it's best it's not flashy. It's not "sexy". It's probably not what first drew you to music (at least consciously) and therefore not what a lot of people spend their time on. But when it's there, and it's good, it's freaking great and everybody has a good time. If you can do one of these things, you'll always be in demand from those who know, and those are the people you want to play with.

    Two things: #1, "Great" rhythm playing doesn't have to be super busy, or flashy, or technically difficult. It can be, but it isn't necessarily that. Lot's of bedroom woodshedders can't nail the swing of a Stones song, because it's not just about "getting it right" re. what's on paper. It's also about interacting with everyone else playing the song. If you play it with a different drummer, or on a different day, the groove will be a little different, even though it's the same song.

    #2, Don't overlook what playing rhythm can do for your lead playing. Many of "The Great" lead players were/are also monster rhythm players, and most great rhythm players are at least better-than-mediocre lead players. That's because keeping the rhythm of the song and the harmony (chords) in mind can only make your solos better.
     
  10. EspyHop

    EspyHop Tele-Meister

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    Another great example is what Roger McGuinn and Clarence White did with the later Byrds albums. Or Bob Welch and Danny Kirwan.
     
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  11. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Steve Cropper, Nile Rodgers, Malcolm Young...
     
  12. Greggorios

    Greggorios Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I'm not sure about the question of demand but I really appreciate your interest in the rhythm guitar role. I find it really, really interesting. So much so that I often listen to music based on the different lead/rhythm combinations. How and why Eric sounds as he did when playing with George Terry vs. Doyle Bramhall vs. Andy Fairweather Low... and what their supporting roles were at those different times in Eric's career. Listen to the Mike Campbell/Tom Petty relationship or Bob Weir and Jerry Garcia. All terrific and unique.

    Enjoy...
     
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  13. Greggorios

    Greggorios Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I remembered Bob Weir had some interesting thoughts on his own rhythm playing in this clip. He explains how he used the piano and McCoy Tyner in developing a unique rhythm playing style.

     
  14. TelePunkJCM

    TelePunkJCM Tele-Meister

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    With all due respect your premise and framework doesn’t really compute.

    Step back. At least 97% of every song is NOT solo.

    Rhythm is everything.

    You know which people who can play a good lead are prized? The ones that are great rhythm players.

    It’s not about tone either.

    Learn to lock in with the drums and bass. Play with and off each other. Move the song along without overplaying, muddying the mix or stepping on the vocals. Listen first and play second. Only play when and what is needed. If you don’t sing yet, learn to sing good harmonies at the appropriate time and volume.

    Then people will love to play with you.
     
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  15. Coop47

    Coop47 Poster Extraordinaire

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    The more you can do, the more attractive you are as a candidate to join a band. I'm a good rhythm player who can competently play a solo when needed, but I'm no better than a lot of guys who have answered the same CL ad. The ability to sing harmonies has given me an edge more often than not, even against technically better players.

    EDIT - I was struggling to say what TelePunkJCM expressed much better in the previous post.
     
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  16. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 TDPRI Member

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    Not sure what was confusing, but it has more to do with the time investment and specialty. There is playing chords, and then there is being a killer rhythm player.

    It's pretty niche imo - using chord extensions, inversions, unusual voicings. Just not sure if this will "get me gigs" or if I'll be viewed as a relatively unimportant / redundant skill set.

    Only one way to find out!

    Good point about harmony singing. I intend to sharpen that skill up as well... This will also keep my voice in shape for my solo acoustic stuff.
     
  17. TelePunkJCM

    TelePunkJCM Tele-Meister

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    Do what makes ‘ya happy. Rhythm guitar is not niche.

    Are you conversant with triads all over the neck and on all the strings?

    Playing songs you know but using different triad voicings all over the neck is a great way to sharpen rhythm skills in a musically relevant manner.
     
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  18. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Here are some good examples of the rhythm guitar driving the song:





     
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  19. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 TDPRI Member

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    You're probably right... It's perhaps niche in my world, where hearing a 7th chord seems exotic. Alas, the 90s.
     
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  20. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Condolences and mojo sent. :lol:

    Seriously, though, there is a ton you can do with just major and minor chords if you learn them in various inversions and positions. I played in a two guitar cover band when I was younger, and I always made it a point to pay attention to what the other guitarist was doing and play chords and voicing that layered over what he was doing. If he was playing down in the open chord areas I would make my space between the seventh and twelfth fret, and vice versa. By doing this, I had to learn as many different ways to play an A chord, etc, as possible. The net result was the band had a huge sound, it stayed interesting for me even after playing the same songs over and over, and ultimately it made me a better player overall.
     
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