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Intermediate Rhythm Guitar 5

The Intermediate Method

In this lesson we're going to look at some of the common rhythm guitar tricks that can add another dimension to your rhythm playing. Simple tools that work wonders in the right place. Often less is more...

All of these techniques work really well as a second guitar part two. You will probably often find yourself playing with another guitar player, and if you both try and play exactly the same thing it very rarely sounds good. so if you can use these new techniques you will find that you can play a complementary part and make the whole song sound really cool.


Chips On That Backbeat

Chips are chords played really short (quick). They are mostly played on beats 2 and 4 (the backbeat) with the snare drum, so when playing them you MUST listen to the drummer and make sure you are doing your backbeat chips at exactly the same time he hits the snare drum!

The trick is to just press the chord grip down as you strum and relax it again right afterward - got to be short as possible.


Some good examples can be found in "Midnight Hour", Steve Cropper is the god of chips and cool grooves and he he does a very cool chip in "Green Onions" on the "and after 4" which is unusual place for one but it sounds awesome!

Most of the Motown ear has chips going on, and anything that was influenced heavily by that will probably too - so keep your ears peeled!

Spread 'Em

Sometimes a real simple strum is all that's needed. You don't have to be putting busy strum patterns all over the place. I call the technique a spread because you spread the notes out, it's almost like strumming a chord in slow motion.


You'll hear spreads all over the place if you listen out for them, "Why Does It Always Rain On Me" by Travis has some great ones in the verses, you can hear them as a third guitar part in Jim Campilongo's "Awful Pretty, Pretty Awful" and many more that I just can't think of right now!


Yep you read right, a splang!!! A Splang is like a spread but not so slow and usually done on the first beat of each bar. They are very often used as a second guitar part or when other instruments in a track are busy... I still find it funny to hear producers ask "can you just lay some splangs in that second verse" but it happens all the time. And they sound good.

They are usually used as a second guitar part, but occasionally a producer will remove the initial guitar part and just leave the splang and it does create a lot more space in the song. Another good trick is to use splangs in the third verse (the verse after the first chorus) and you will find that it helps the song dynamics giving a slightly more empty verse before building up into the second chorus. Learning to use dynamics when you're playing a song is an important part of your growth as a guitar player!



Muted Strumming

Quite different to the rhythmic hit we looked at earlier - this stuff is about leaving your hand on the strings quite a lot - either loose or heavy on, and is really useful

No tab on this one cos it's too hard to write out - just strum a usual pattern and try and mute it up a bit or try playing Save Tonight...

"Save Tonight" by Eagle Eye Cherry is an awesome example of this kinda thing.


Have fun and listen out for them... I will add more examples as I think of them!


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-155