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Intermediate Rhythm Guitar 4

The Intermediate Method

When drummers play a snare drum on beats 2 and 4 is called the backbeat. And using it as an accent point is a really cool thing to do. We're going to be looking at playing it as an accented muted hit and incorporating this snare sound into your strumming patterns.


Making The Snare

The first thing to make sure you have down is that muted hit. Hand hits the strings first then the pick. Practice doing it with open strings.

The best way to learn this technique is to start by thinking it as a one, two method. part one is their hand coming down almost like a strong and landing on the strings. The action of the palm hitting the strings should press the strings against the frets and give at metallic sounding hit (metal on metal). Part two is the pick hitting the strings, which should sound like a series of clicks.

Once you are confident at doing it slowly you should try to combine the two into one movement. Now the combined sound of each movement should give you a really good sound that emulates a snare drum.

Feeling That Backbeat

Once you have the technique it's time to get it into your rhythm patterns. You can use 8th note patterns you have learned in the Beginners Method, or any other pattern you like, but Keep It Simple Stupid (K I S S) when you start.

So following my own advice there lets start by just playing a basic straight 8th note pattern:


And then start to add in the percussive hit onto beats 2 and 4.


Once you have that down you can start trying to apply it to the patterns... works great with a 16th note all down pattern.


Or more complex ones like:


Once you get it, you can and should start applying it as often as you can, you will find it really useful and it really help keep the groove on if you playing on your own... you become the whole band! :)

This kind of technique is really important when you're playing on your own. If jamming a cool acoustic song at a barbecue is what you would like to achieve with your guitar playing then this technique is something you should make sure that you master. It's the kind of technique (if done correctly) that will have your friends clapping along and everyone tapping their feet!

Important points

Make sure you only tap you foot on the beat
We looked at this already lots of times, the new struggle here is not to tap your foot when you are accenting the beat - it's a really common mistake - but one you will avoid if you have been good and working on tapping your foot all the time. If you struggle with it - do it slowly - and maybe take the foot out for a while if it's really throwing you off. Get the pattern right and then try and bring the foot back in!

Playing with the metronome
Using the metronome is a good idea of course, and it will feel a little odd at first to be playing accents that are not on the beat - but once you get used to it - it feels cool to be doing that and it is the accents kinda distracting the beat (syncopation) that makes patterns like this sound so cool!

Further Information on 16th note strumming
If you want to get into your 16th note playing, then check out my DVD Really Useful Strumming Techniques 2 - it covers them in a lot more detail than I do in this course and has 24 of the most common patterns. Many of my students say that my two strumming DVDs changed how well the could play rhythm in a very short period of time, even those who struggled with it for many years and I believe them to be the most important of my teaching products. Worth a look me thanks!


Justin's Intermediate Guitar Method - Foundation Stages 1-5 DVD

Intermediate DVD

The 5 x DVD set for the Intermediate Foundation series comes with all the free Intermediate Foundation lessons found on the web site PLUS 3 DVD ONLY lessons for each stage, nearly 2.5 hours of extra material to help you to be as good as you can be, as fast as possible. Check out the main Intermediate Foundation page for the list of bonus lessons on each stage!

Sales of the DVDs allow me to keep the majority of the content free, so I hope will support the growth of this site too, for those that can't afford to buy stuff! :)

Click here or the image to your left for more information and to order.



Lesson ID: IM-145