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Electric rhythm guitar?

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(@nwtsnma)
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Joined: 14 years ago
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you don't necesarily need to improve your right hand technique - jjust make your left hand technique worse when u play a partial chord use your left hand to mute the string u arent playing

for effects try a phasor or tremelo u can have the sweep set to the tempo of the song and it sounds good


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(@mrjonesey)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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I am by no means a great rhythm player, but the technique I use is that I only usually play the full chord on the first beat. Often times I will just play the heavy strings on beat one and then work the lighter strings in between.

I also use a lot of muting with both hands. I keep my strumming hand resting near the bridge, instead of hovering like when I play acoustic.

Another good point is that you not only don't have to finger the chords as hard on the electric, but your strumming doesn't need to be as hard either. I personally like a lighter, thinner pick for rhythm and a harder, thicker pick for lead.

Just some thoughts, hope it helps.

Jim

"There won't be any money. But when you die, on your death bed, you will receive total conciousness. So, I got that going for me. Which is nice." - Bill Murray, Caddyshack ~~ Michigan Music Dojo - http://michiganmusicdojo.com ~~


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(@gnease)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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BTW -- Muting ain't just for electric rhythm playing. Many of us use it on our acoustic playing as well.

-=tension & release=-


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(@wes-inman)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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Good thread, sorry I am so late getting to it.

You've heard others recommend barre chords, I would recommend just the opposite. :D

Over many years I have been playing I have gone away from barre chords when I can get away with it. It is not that they are any kind of problem, I can play them easily. But I sincerely think the your traditional open chords sound much better when playing rhythm guitar for several reasons. The biggest reason is open strings. I try to play as many open strings in chords as possible. They sound much fuller and sustain much longer. And even if your intonation is properly set (which I am pretty anal about), your open chords always sound better in tune. They have more color and life.

And this is whether using clean or distorted tones. I am a big fan of old AC/DC. They always play with a nice Marshall crunch overdrive. They barely use distortion, it is more distortion from the volume of their amps than gain. But even if you are not a fan of their sound, I think most people would say that both Malcolm and Angus get a HUGE rhythm guitar tone. And probably the major reason is they use plain ole regular chords for the most part, just an open E or A, C, G, whatever. They do play barre chords and two string power chords, but a lot of it is just regular chords that every beginner uses.

That's just my two cents, but play a barre E chord with distortion at the 7th or 12 fret and then play an open E chord at the nut and see which sounds bigger and better.

Now you can't always do that, but when I can I try to use the open chords.

And don't overplay. Some of the greatest rhythm guitar is super simple. You just hit a chord and let it ring. There is nothing like it. Inexperienced players tend to overplay, the great guitarists keep it very minimal. Probably one of the greatest electric rhythm players ever is Pete Townshend. Check out this video and see how remarkable simple he keeps his rhythm guitar playing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKUBTX9kKEo

Notice how he likes the open chords down low too. :D

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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(@gnease)
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+1 on Wes' comments. Barre chords are convenient, but rarely seem to sound as good as those simple cowboy chords -- even on electric.

-=tension & release=-


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(@jersey-jack)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 192
Topic starter  

Oh, we've come back around to "simple cowboy chords," which is exactly what I'm trying to do on my Gretsch. The Tele, by the way, was recently set up, and the intonation problems are largely gone--now it is a rhythm machine!

When I get the Gretsch back from the shop, I'll let you know how it turns out.

In the meantime, the advice about rhythm playing on this thread has been great! Keep it up.

And to risk sounding like a moron, I'll say that I always thought the whole string muting was vastly exaggerated. Now I realize that electric playing really does require more effort in this area than acoustic. Now that I'm playing more electric, I find that it's hard to lift one's finger off a string without pulling off into and sounding the open string.

Jersey Jack


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(@gnease)
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This is not a recommendation for playing ringing chords, but a suggestion for practice of string muting.

If you pick up a book or search the web for jazz chords/voicings, you will find the need for a lot of fretting hand string muting in jazz chord forms, making this a good way to practice selective string muting. What you will learn quickly is muting is rarely done by dedicating a finger to muting a string. Instead try "tilting" the finger fretting an adjacent string so the "extra flesh" it just touches the target string to mute it. After a while this technique will become second nature. Some CAGED forms with which to try this as you slide them up the neck to transpose into other chords are:

C7 in which case you will mute both E and e (except if playing at the fifth fret where this is E7 with a lotta 'E'... and maybe the third fret for a D9 ... okay, and a few other strange and wonderful jazzy chords I'll not mention )

Emaj7 played on E, D, G, B strings, muting A and not playing the e

Another good muting exercize is playing octave intervals by strumming across three adjacent strings. This will require muting the middle string. I usually tilt my index finger (which is on the lower note of the octave pair) into the center string to mute it.

Another plus of mastering this is that when combined with good strumming hand muting, it will give you the tools to do a lot more of a different type of percussive rhythm playing which will work well on both acoustic and electric.

-=tension & release=-


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(@vic-lewis-vl)
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I'd say about 95% of what I play is rhythm - mostly chords, with some occasional fingerpicking. I'm a Telecaster player, and for various reasons I use 9's - some like 'em, some don't. I find that with the light strings I can play for a lot longer - although I do have a history of hand injuries, so strength is obviously a factor.

But to concentrate on the Tele - I love the clean channel with this guitar! Never used to bother with it much previously, but if I'm playing songs like "Substitute" or "More Than A Feeling" or "Band On The Run" it sounds great with open position chords. It was set up when I bought it - hell, I can play an E chord with a Barre on the 19th fret and it sounds perfect!

So the Tele shouldn't really be the issue - unless it's not been well set up.

Try arpeggiating some chords, see how they sound....if individual strings don't sound right, try re-tuning. If that doesn't do any good, odds are it will need a set-up - if you haven't done one before, it can be a fiddly, time consuming job.... you might want to take it to a music shop and pay for a set-up, and possibly watch while they're doing it!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


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(@gnease)
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Joined: 18 years ago
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.... you might want to take it to a music shop and pay for a set-up, and possibly watch while they're doing it!

Vic

He already there, Vic. This is from his last post:
Oh, we've come back around to "simple cowboy chords," which is exactly what I'm trying to do on my Gretsch. The Tele, by the way, was recently set up, and the intonation problems are largely gone--now it is a rhythm machine!

-=tension & release=-


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(@vic-lewis-vl)
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Sorry 'bout that - for some reason I only read page one and forgot to move on!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


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(@jase36)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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This is a really interesting thread. Ive always struggled with open chords on electric sounding all wrong, this has given me plenty to think about.

http://www.youtube.com/user/jase67electric


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(@ejwebb)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 54
 

I had this same struggle myself - until I traded the Vox Valvetronics amp for a Blues Jr. Even on the "clean" channels on the Vox I could never get open chords to sound right - thought it was just me. Now, with the BJ clean, they sound much better. Still need some work on my technique but I feel like I can get there with this amp...


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(@anonymous)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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learn to mute and syncopate. quick static attacks sound good on electrics, imo.


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(@jerboa)
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Joined: 15 years ago
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Interesting thread!

I've been playing for only 10 months or so, and have just started to help out my band with some rhythm playing now.

I'm using a Gretsch 5120 into a blues jr.

Sustain has been a problem for me, and I've found the same thing. If you try to get too busy with strumming, the sound muddies, and turns into what I call the 'wall of noise'. So I've been using very simple rhythms, mostly attacking the downbeat, and then filling the measure with lighter stuff. Or the ONE-and-two-AND-three-AND-four-AND... kind of thing.

We're a bit odd, the other guitarist plays an acoustic-electric, and does most of the fills. (of course he's been playing 30+ years, to my 10 months. :) )

Something that I haven't seen mentioned yet, but that I've been trying to use is that percussive strum where you use the left hand to mute the strings, and then strum to get a percussive sound instead of notes. On several songs we play, that seems to add a lot to the drive of the song.

There are two kinds of people in this world:
Those who think there are two kinds of people in this world, and those who don't


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(@mrjonesey)
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Joined: 16 years ago
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Something that I haven't seen mentioned yet, but that I've been trying to use is that percussive strum where you use the left hand to mute the strings, and then strum to get a percussive sound instead of notes. On several songs we play, that seems to add a lot to the drive of the song.

That's been mentioned as "palm muting." You're right, it's a great technique.

"There won't be any money. But when you die, on your death bed, you will receive total conciousness. So, I got that going for me. Which is nice." - Bill Murray, Caddyshack ~~ Michigan Music Dojo - http://michiganmusicdojo.com ~~


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