Would you like to be able to create your own awesome rhythm guitar riffs? Fact is, most guitarists struggle when trying to come up with ideas for rhythm guitar. This commonly occurs because these guitar players have not invested much time into the “rhythm side” of their guitar playing, instead focusing heavily on lead guitar. In order to gain the ability to create better rhythm guitar riffs, you will need to become aware of various new ways to combine different musical concepts. In this article, I will share with you some of these concepts that you can use right now to enhance your rhythm guitar playing.
First, it is important to understand that being able to play interesting rhythm guitar ideas means focusing more on how you play what you play than what specific notes you are using. The truth is that you can make any basic guitar chord sound great without adding in many new notes. In fact, you can probably already start writing good rhythm guitar ideas with just a fundamental understanding of power chords and open chords. However, in order to truly master the ability to play great rhythm guitar riffs, you will need to learn new guitar skills that you probably haven’t thought of before.
You’ve likely already considered practicing at least a few of the factors that are important for becoming a better rhythm guitar player. However, if you are currently having trouble with making your own rhythm guitar riffs, this means that you are struggling in multiple areas of your guitar playing as well. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you specifically what you must work on to improve in your guitar playing since you are not taking lessons with me (and I don’t know anything about your current skill level). However, by mastering the following musical skills you will be able to quickly enhance your rhythm guitar playing:
1) Practice making your rhythm guitar playing as clean and tight as you can. Being able to do this is necessary for playing great sounding guitar riffs. The majority of guitarists know that you must be able to play consistently in time in order to play good rhythm guitar, however few guitarists know what it sounds like when someone is playing tight rhythm guitar that locks in with the metronome. If you can’t consistently play in time, your rhythm guitar ideas will not sound good even if they are really cool ideas.
A good way to test your ability to play rhythm guitar “˜in time’ is to record yourself playing a row of quarter notes using any basic chord (that uses three strings or less). Record yourself over a quarter note drum track or metronome. If you can play with perfect rhythmic timing, you will notice that the beat seems to become silent as it matches up in unison with your guitar playing. If you are not playing tight, you will easily hear yourself falling behind or getting ahead of the beat.
In addition to playing with great timing to a beat, it is important to play tight in various other areas of rhythm guitar such as palm muting and pick attack articulation. By mastering these additional parts of rhythm guitar playing, you will not only improve your ability to make guitar riffs, but you will save a great deal of time and money if you ever decide to record music in the studio. Learn how to master these areas of your rhythm guitar playing in this free studio guitar recording guide.
2) Focus specifically on the rhythms of the notes you are playing. Just like with guitar soloing, many guitar players tend to use way too many unnecessary notes. That said, in order to make awesome rhythm guitar riffs, you only really need a few notes at most. Although it is fun to learn new ideas to use in your rhythm guitar playing, keep in mind that your number one focus is to play something with an interesting rhythm!
By stripping your guitar riffs of any excess notes, you will force yourself to think more about the actual rhythms being played. To practice this, start by writing down four measures worth of eighth notes on a piece of paper. Then remove six of these notes at random and replace them with rests. After doing this, play the rhythm you have just created using only a single note or chord on guitar. Once you give this exercise a try, you will quickly notice that you can create nearly endless rhythm ideas for your guitar riffs. As you become accustomed to this creative process, you can add in more complicated meters and rhythmic ideas.
3) Create multiple guitar riffs by using the rhythm of just one. Find an interesting rhythmic pattern that contains no actual pitches and apply it using any number of different sets of chords, notes, or chord progressions. By doing this, you will massively improve your rhythm guitar creativity. Also you can do this the other way around: Take one chord, note, or chord progression and play guitar using a variety of different rhythmic patterns. These exercises will give you many new ideas for guitar riffs to use in your music.
4) Practice to improve your vibrato technique and pinch harmonics on guitar. By incorporating these ideas into your guitar riffs, you will be able to play powerful and intense guitar riffs. Using vibrato technique gives your guitar playing a voice-like quality. Once this is combined with pinch harmonics, your guitar riffs will let out a powerful scream that will be sure to catch the attention of anyone listening. For an extra cool effect, use these techniques at the end of your riffs to really finish strong.
5) Think of new ways to combine chords together. This will help you to come up with interesting groups of chords to put into your guitar riffs. If you already understand key signatures in music, this will be much easier. If you don’t understand this music theory concept yet, you can still come up with cool ideas by playing the notes of major and minor triads together with power chords. For example, if you are playing an E power chord, you can add in the notes from E major or E minor to drastically change the feel of the music. This can be done with any power chord guitar riff. After you have tried this with a single chord, try putting together your own chord progressions. This will give you tons of creative ideas to use in your guitar riffs.
It will certainly take time to become a highly creative rhythm guitar player. However, after reading the points in this article, you can see that there are many things you can do right now to start making progress in your guitar playing. When you learn how to write your own rhythm guitar riffs, you will have a great time coming up with cool ideas on guitar with little effort. By practicing your rhythm guitar skills you will become a much better musician overall. On top of that, if you would like to become a professional guitarist, these skills will be very useful while performing live shows on stage and recording songs in the studio.
To learn more about becoming a really TIGHT rhythm guitar player, read this free studio guitar recording guide.
To get more help with your guitar playing, check out these free tips for guitar playing .