The Relationship Between Rhythm And Strumming

If you read the previous lesson on the basics of rhythm, you should have a good understanding of what rhythm is and how it relates to the beat and the meter. In this lesson, we are going to explore the relationship between rhythm and strumming. Firstly, strumming, on a basic level, involves playing a certain rhythm by striking the strings using a combination of downward and upward ‘strums’. I know that might seem very simplistic, but on a basic level, that’s what it’s all about. Any connection (clap, strum etc.) that is played on a number (1, 2, 3, or 4) is said to be played on a down … [Read more...]

Rhythm – Pulse, Meter And Subdivision

In this first lesson from 'Open Chords Made Easy', we are going to explore what rhythm is. If the concept of rhythm is at all confusing to you, you've come to the right place. This section is a bit lengthy, but I have written it using very simple concepts and without relying on standard music notation. This is not to dumb it down at all. I have kept it simple for two reasons; Firstly, to demonstrate that rhythm is a simple and instinctive concept. If you can count, you can understand rhythm. If you have ever clapped along to a song, danced, or tapped your foot, you intuitively understand … [Read more...]

Lessons From The Book ‘Open Chords Made Easy’

I'm going to release a bunch of lessons on this blog from the book 'Open Chords Made Easy'. The book includes a collection of 23 guitar pieces, written to help students work through different chord progressions and strumming patterns. The pieces of music are really only one part of the book though. The other part is the theory and explanations on how to play chords and how to strum. I figure that the theory side of things would be a great thing to include on this blog, as it contains a lot of fundamental lessons on rhythm and practice. The lessons will be adapted and modified slightly to … [Read more...]

What is Voice Leading and How Does it Relate to Guitar?

In this lesson, we are going to discuss what ‘voice leading’ is and how it relates to guitar playing. What is Voice Leading? Voice leading, in very general terms, is about how you move from one chord to another. To best understand the concept, it can help to break it down into two very general subcategories - ‘good voice leading’ and ‘poor voice leading’. Keep in mind that these categories are very general and we are using them as a way of better understanding the overall concept. After all, ‘good’ is largely a matter of taste and is hard to quantify. … [Read more...]

Functional Harmony – The Relationship Between Chords And Modes

Understanding and using modes on the guitar is very important. It takes many hours of practice memorizing the positions, analyzing qualities of each scale and digesting all the theory that goes with it. It's important to realize however, that an understanding of modes is not really complete without a good understanding of how they relate to diatonic chords. Chords and scales are very closely linked and a strong understanding of chords aids the use of scales and visa versa. In this post we are going to explore how modes relate to the diatonic chords of a major scale. Firstly, I'm assuming … [Read more...]

How To Strum – Percussive Sounds – Becoming The Drummer

The final element that we are going to analyze in the series on strumming is percussive sounds. Strumming patterns take on a new dimension when used with the percussive noises available on the guitar. What Are Percussive Mutes? Firstly, when we talk about percussive sounds while strumming, we are really talking about the mute sound that occurs when the right hand strums the strings of the guitar without any notes ringing clear. It produces a muted sound because the palm of the hand follows through, touching the strings and preventing the strings from ringing. The result is a dead, thud-like … [Read more...]