Last week, I talked briefly about how we are not born with good rhythm skills.
One person who I’d never heard from before seemed slightly annoyed by this, saying we all have rhythm.
…And that it is something we are born with.
Well, my response, hold your horses, amigo!
I didn’t say we were born with no rhythm, in fact, there’s a study showing babies do have a natural sense of rhythm just like we all have a heartbeat.
The point I was making was that your rhythm skills need to be developed.
If we were all born with great rhythm, being a musician would be a heck of a lot easier…
Drummers (whose primary job is rhythm, of course) wouldn’t speed up or slow down.
Bass players wouldn’t start off on the wrong beat.
…And of course, us guitarists would “lock in” with the music when we play, every time.
I don’t know anyone who was born with the ability that Hendrix developed for himself, where he could seamlessly switch rhythms and grooves throughout a bar.
…All while keeping everything tight and super musical.
Well, rhythm is something we should all spend time developing.
Yet, it’s not that easy to practise.
I mean, you can practise scales with a metronome for 20-60 minutes per day.
There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, but that is hard, time-consuming, and can be mentally quite taxing (believe me, I used to do this a lot).
…But there is another way where you can improve your rhythm chops in just a few minutes per day.
It involves something called “Rhythm Switching” which is all about moving between the three main sub-divisions of music.
(The phrase “sub-division” is a fancy way of describing the way we split a beat up into smaller parts).
Once you can smoothly change between these three sub-divisions, your rhythm skills will improve.
In fact, if I had to give a student a fun rhythm exercise that is quick to learn, easy to practise, and very applicable to your real-life guitar playing (i.e. used in songs and when jamming)…
The rhythm-switching exercise would be it.
In one of the new Dan Thorpe Acoustic Academy lessons, I cover this and give you a two-minute challenge on it.
It’s a great little mini-lesson.
The idea is you tap your foot or use a metronome, and switch between quarter, eighth, and sixteenth notes – without pausing.
If you know what those sub-divisions are, you can choose one note to play on the guitar and give it a go today, switching between the sub-divisions.
Once it becomes natural, you’ll start finding strumming patterns and songs easier to play…
You’ll find you have a stronger sense of groove.
…And when you jam some random chords in a freewheeling kind of way, things will just feel right.
In fact, it was getting good at this skill that took me from being rhythmically sloppy to having the confidence to jam in front of others, go to a shop and try out guitars, and jam with friends.
That’s because rhythm underpins EVERYTHING we do on the guitar.
That’s why everyone should regularly try an exercise like this.
Anyway, for the specifics, I teach this in a lesson inside my membership programme, which will be released on January 1st.
To get this lesson and find out more about the academy, head to the link below.
Have a great day!
P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.