20 February 2012

About 8th note guitar rhythms

In this post I'm giving you some general information about 8th note guitar rhythms. It al starts by knowing the fourth notes. The quarter notes are the ones your count will be on. When you got 4 quarter notes in a song you'll count 1-2-3-4 for each measure. Every count will be a downstroke.

Count 1-2-3-4

When you just started on the guitar, you might want to hit the first 3 notes only. Use that fourth count to switch to the next chord. Do count the 4. Because if you don't it will f*ck up your rhythm and you'll condition a faulty habit.

When we cut all the 1/4 notes in half, we'll get 1/8 notes. You'll need 8 1/8 notes to make one full measure. It's just basic math. In the video I give a demonstration of a measure full of 1/8 notes. When you play 1/8 notes you don't count 1 to 8. Thats for dancers. We musicians keep to the 1-2-3-4. We do this because when playing in a band you all want to have your counts together. When someone says: "on 3" it must be a 3 for everyone, weither you're playing quarter notes, eight notes or 16ths. So how do you count 1/8 notes? In between each count, you say an 'e'. 1-e-2-e-3-e-4-e Every count on a numer, 1-2-3-4 will still be a downstroke. In between these downstrokes, on the 'e' we'll play upstrokes. The upstroke is indicated by the little v on top of the tablature.

Eight notes

Playing 8 1/8 notes in a measure sounds very boring. To make it more interesting we're gonna wipe some of the 1/8 notes out. There will be a few gaps in the stream of 1/8 notes. And that will create an interesting rhythm. Here are a few examples:

Click the sound file to hear the example played on a chord

Now we got a few gaps. We do count these notes, but we'll just won't hit the strings on that count. You got to remember which ones you play, and which ones you don't play. Because counting 1-e-2-3-4-e isn't gonna work. On these gaps you're not hitting the strings, but you are moving you're strumming hand up and down. That will create the right strumming technique. If you keep your hand low, it will be very hard to keep the rhythm and you'll probably never be able to sing and play guitar simulatiously. Keep that in mind! See the demonstration in the vid.

On step further are the 16th notes. But we'll save that for some later time. Good luck on your 1/8 notes.