Strumming Skills Mini Course (day 1)
Welcome to day 1 of the Guitar Domination Strumming Skills Mini Course.
This is a 4 part course aimed at helping you become a better strumming guitarist.
By the end of the course you will be able to understand and more importantly implement various essential strumming skills such as rhythm, better technique, strum patterns and listening skills.
In today’s lesson we are going learn and improve upon the absolute fundamental of not just strumming but all of music – RHYTHM.
Rhythm is what makes music. If you were to break music down into its core parts, you have:
- harmony (a fancy way of saying chord based music)
- melody (which is your riffs and solos)
- the hugely important rhythm.
If you have great rhythm you don’t really need too many chords and simple chords (harmony) will sound great. If you have great rhythm you can easily spice up a boring melody and turn it into something special.
Rhythm is that powerful, not just in strumming the guitar but in the whole of music. Therefore always be working on your rhythm skills. You will be a better guitarist for it and your strumming will be far more powerful.
There are a lot of ways to improve your rhythm skills but one of the best is what I call the ‘Sub-Division Game’.
Watch the video below to learn what your sub divisions are and how to play them.
Then, we will play the ‘Sub-Division Game’
Now it’s your turn to play the sub division game on your own. Make a commitment to yourself that you will play this game every day.
If you do so, your rhythm and your strumming will become awesome.
Rules of the game
Firstly, pick a chord to play your sub-divisions with.
You must use a click. Set it to 80bpm.
You must be able to play whole, half, quarter and eighth notes comfortably before passing level 1.
You must play two bars each of the above sub divisions
You must do the two bar loop of whole, half, quarter and eighth notes 10 times perfectly without stopping before you pass level 2
You must play one bar each of the above sub divisions
You must do the one bar loop of whole, half, quarter and eighth notes 10 times perfectly before you pass level 3
Do the same as level 3, but now add a change of chords once every 4 bars
Do the same as the above, but now change chords once every 2 bars
Do the same as the above, but now change chords once every 1 bar
Once you can do the above, congratulations you have now completed the starter version of the Sub-Division Game.
You can now start looking at more advanced rhythms such as 16th notes and start implementing swing into the game too.
Two students – one with and one without rhythm
This is very powerful stuff.
Let me give you an example of how powerful this game and great rhythm can be for your guitar playing and your strumming. I had been working with a student who really struggled with rhythm. Let’s call him Chris. (Not his real name).
We spent some time getting his rhythm skills up to scratch. It took a bit of time and hard work as he had some bad habits but we got there using the Sub-Division game and other techniques I teach. His guitar playing sounded a LOT better for it.
About 4 months ago I had a new student come to me. His name is Aaron.
He had played drums for about 15 years. His basic guitar skills were about the same as those of Chris but his sense of rhythm was superb as you would expect from a drummer.
He quite literally cake-walked a lot of the strumming exercises, patterns and techniques we covered. It was great to see. I would show him a strum pattern, not have to explain it and he would bang it out in front of me within about 5 seconds.
His strumming sounded fantastic and this was purely down his very good sense of rhythm which as a drummer he had practiced for a long time.
Rhythm is something that CAN be taught. Don’t let anyone tell you don’t have rhythm.
My rhythm sucked when I started out – really badly, but I had never really done any work on when I started out playing guitar. I wish I had though. I would of saved lots of time.
Always be working on your rhythm skills. There are a multitude of ways of doing this.
You can tap along with the pulse (the basic beat) for any music you listen to, you can then start embellishing this basic pulse and adding taps with your hands in between the beats – just like a drummer would.
You can be one of those really annoying folk who constantly taps the beats to every song you hear. Yes, if anyone says “stop”, just tell them you are working on your guitar playing (which you are of course) they may look at you like you are a loon but don’t worry it will make your guitar playing better and stronger.
I find new students who have never played guitar before make better progress with their strumming if they have done the above stuff before they even thought of picking up the guitar.
Apply what you have learnt!
That’s enough for today. Play and perfect the Sub-Division Game and get tapping some beats when you listen music.
Make rhythm a priority – make it something you live and breathe and soon you will find strumming the guitar and remembering and playing strumming patterns so much easier.
Stay tuned for day 2 of the course where we will be getting right into the heart of awesome strumming.
Can’t wait for day 2? Click HERE to get it now.