If you are just starting out learning guitar one of the
hardest things can be getting a good rhythm and keeping
that rhythm going while you change chords with your
When I first started learning guitar I would strum along
happily until the chord change and then my right hand
would stop while I changed the position of the left.
This makes your playing sound terrible. In fact if you
can keep that right hand strumming or picking the
sequence, you will sound good. If you are a bit slow
with your chord changes and strum some open strings in
between you will still sound good. But lose that rhythm
and everybody knows that you are messing up.
Here are my top three tips for getting past this learning
#1 Play open strings for the last beat in the bar so you
have time to change chord shape. For example if your are
to play | G G G G | D D D D | C C C C |
instead play | G G G O | D D D O | C C C O |
where O is a strum of the open strings. Listen carefully
and you will notice a lot of guitar players do this. And
it sounds just fine.
#2 Move your body to the rhythm. When I started out I was
told to tap my foot to the rhythm.
1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4 | 1 2 3 4
I just couldn't do it. It seemed like one more thing to
remember and overloaded my system. Then I learned to move
my head to the rhythm and immediately my timing improved.
I would nod to the beat and move side to side a bit as well.
I guess it's just horses for courses. You need to find what
works best for you but if you can't tap your foot try
nodding your head or even bouncing the whole of the top
half of your body. Get the beat rattling through your bones!
*** Increase your tempo gradually one beat at a time. You
can use a metronome to keep time but I prefer a drum machine.
I need to really hear that beat in order to know that I'm
with it. You can get Metronomes and Drum Machines to
download to your PC. For an excellent free drum machine
. Once you have your drum machine,
set it up so that there is a heavier beat on the first beat
in the bar. Then set a nice easy tempo. If need be start
as low as 70 beats per minute. When you can play your piece
smoothly at this speed play it again at 71, then 72 etc.
You'll be surprised at just how quickly you can get up to
About the Author
Darren Power is your host at www.just-jammin.com where you
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