First of all, I’m not a rhythm guitarist, so maybe this lesson won’t cover anything needed to be a great guitarist, but will give you the basics. We have to start with a little music theory then we’ll go and have some example.
Note duration, bars/measures and timing/time signature
Note duration means how much time the note will be sounded. Let’s see the different note duration.
As you can see, there is a whole note, a half note, a quarter note and a sixteenth note. Same goes for the rest. A rest is when you don't play anything for a duration. A whole note is build up from two half notes, a half from two quarter and so on. In the examples I will refer to the whole note with W, half notes with H, quarter with Q, eight with E and sixteenth with S. There are dotted notes too. To play a dotted note you play the normal note and make it longer with a note below it. So a dotted half note will have a half and a quarter note player together.
Bars/measures and timing/time signature
Time signature shows you how many notes you can play, to fill up a bar. In a bar you can’t have longer notes than the bar’s maximum, nor shorter notes. For example, in a 4/4 time signature you can have only 4 quarter notes. 4/4 timing is showed like this:
The 4 on the top indicates the number of the notes in a bar, and the 4 on the bottom show how many notes you can play. So for a 4/4 timing you can play 4 quarter notes in a measure. Not more, not less. 4/4 timing is the most common timing, but there are some different timing too. 3/4 timing is pretty common too. Here you can only play a dotted half note. You can play a whole note because it would go out form the measure because a whole note contains four quarter and in a 3/4 timing you can only have three quarter notes.
Okay, enough theory for today, let’s start our exercises. Pick any note on the guitar (or on the piano, or just randomly pick an object and start drumming on it with your hands) and set a metronome to a slow tempo. Make sure to stay on the rhythm and count out loud.
You can go pretty wild with the rhythm, feel free to experience, put some palm mutes in the heavier stuff, and you’ll be fine. Next time I will talk about tapping.