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Old 11-29-2012, 09:52 AM   #1
ChucklesMginty
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I want to be a really awesome rhythm guitarist!

I'm kind of reinventing myself as a guitar player... I've spent to first 6 or so years as a guitarist idolizing Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai, Shawn Lane, Petrucci and the like. I still love that stuff, but I'm not a versatile player at all. This became pretty obvious when I took a one year guitar course, I've learned a lot about being a good player in a band situation. Especially stuff like getting an appropriate tone, writing guitar parts, arranging keyboard or horn parts for guitar etc. But there's still much work to be done.

So I'm putting lead guitar, and shreddier stuff on hold in favor of more practical 'real life' scenarios as a working guitar player. Like playing in function bands, or my long term goal of playing in a backing band for major artists.

I hope all this makes sense... I'm just not really sure where to begin, what would it take for me to be comfortable taking a gig of learning 40 tunes in 2 weeks. Or auditioning to be Adele's guitar player etc. I know I'm unprepared and unskilled, but I'm not sure quite how!
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:02 AM   #2
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In how good shape is your ear and theory knowledge? Also, I'm pretty sure learning to sight read music is absolutely vital for a session guitarist.
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:14 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jyrgen
In how good shape is your ear and theory knowledge? Also, I'm pretty sure learning to sight read music is absolutely vital for a session guitarist.


Pretty good, my relative pitch is pretty perfect atonally. But I'm working on hearing notes from a perceived root, which is much harder but helps loads with learning things by ear. Theory knowledge is okay, but I'm working on it.

As far as sight reading... It depends what you're doing. Session guitarist is a really vague term, the guys who taught me only tended to be great readers if they were working in orchestra pits on west end shows. I'm not really sure I want to go that route, although I bet it pays damned well... There are very few guitar players who are brilliant readers, so you can get away with not being the best player if you can sight read well, or so I've heard.
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:36 AM   #4
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My understanding is that some of the better rhythm guitarists also happen to be quite exceptional drummers as well. Obviously there are exceptions to this, but Dave Grohl is widely considered to be one of be best if not the best rhythm guitarist out there today. This can obviously be attributed to his time as a percussionist. I would recommend picking up some kind of percussion instrument if you haven't already. I started on drums about a year ago, and my guitar playing has only benefited from it.
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:40 AM   #5
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The best way to improve your rhythm playing is by learning and practising full songs, and paying attention to the pulse. Imma forward you a PM that I've sent to someone before who asked about rhythm guitar.
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:01 PM   #6
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Hendrix style comping with the heavy duty licks goes a long way. I f you are able to do that well you will feel comfortable comping a lot of less guitar heavy styles.
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Hydra150
The best way to improve your rhythm playing is by learning and practising full songs, and paying attention to the pulse. Imma forward you a PM that I've sent to someone before who asked about rhythm guitar.

Mind forwarding it to me too, please?
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChucklesMginty
Pretty good, my relative pitch is pretty perfect atonally. But I'm working on hearing notes from a perceived root, which is much harder but helps loads with learning things by ear. Theory knowledge is okay, but I'm working on it.

As far as sight reading... It depends what you're doing. Session guitarist is a really vague term, the guys who taught me only tended to be great readers if they were working in orchestra pits on west end shows. I'm not really sure I want to go that route, although I bet it pays damned well... There are very few guitar players who are brilliant readers, so you can get away with not being the best player if you can sight read well, or so I've heard.

Ah I didn't know that
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Old 11-29-2012, 10:12 PM   #9
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How is your relative better atonally? Thats so cool i can't hear ANYTHING in an atonal situation, but can hear almost everything in a key.
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:34 PM   #10
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Being a good rhythm guitarist is about getting as much in-context practice as possible. Work with metronomes and try to learn to reach sheet-music. Try to expand you chordal vocabulary as much as possible. Learn all the different augmented, sus, 6th, 7th, slash, diminished, etc. chords. I started playing guitar after playing trombone for several years and having a classical background and a good understanding of context with in a song, as well as a solid theory base has been hugely helpful with my rhythm playing.
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:52 AM   #11
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One word: James Hetfield
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Old 11-30-2012, 03:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MatthewKane
One word: James Hetfield


I'm thinking more John Mayer than Metallica...
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:28 AM   #13
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Like everyone said, being really comfortable with sheet music is a good way to start. Learning how different "cells" (that's what we call it at our music school, but i am not sure if it's a real term for music) within a measure sounds. Like learning by heart how an eight note followed by 2 sixteenth notes sound. Or how a dotted eight note followed by a sixteenth note sounds. Basically, breaking it all down and learn how different rhythmic values sound together.

I also recommend you to look into many different styles of music and ses how they play rhythm and comp. Like as you mentioned, John mayer is a great example of chordal playing while adding fills and licks, so is Hendrix. Funk music is very rhythmic kind of music, so i recommend studying funk bands. And not just what the guitar does, but what the bass does. Different kinds of jazz is also great for this, my personal favorites would be Bebop jazz and Gypsy jazz comping, check it out!

I hope that helped, even if it wasn't that much info. (early in the morning, pretty stressed).
Good luck, and if you liked my advice don't hesitate to send me a PM and i will be able to go more into details.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChucklesMginty
I'm thinking more John Mayer than Metallica...



Chill back and listen to Hetfield's acoustic work on Unforgiven, Nothing Else Matters, The intro for Master of Puppets, he's a beast of a rhythm guitar player.

But Mayer is no slouch, on any level, he went to Berklee, and is a phenomenal songwriter, and a great weirdo celebrity at the same time.
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChucklesMginty
I'm thinking more John Mayer than Metallica...

I like this guy.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:33 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChucklesMginty
I'm kind of reinventing myself as a guitar player... I've spent to first 6 or so years as a guitarist idolizing Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai, Shawn Lane, Petrucci and the like. I still love that stuff, but I'm not a versatile player at all. This became pretty obvious when I took a one year guitar course, I've learned a lot about being a good player in a band situation. Especially stuff like getting an appropriate tone, writing guitar parts, arranging keyboard or horn parts for guitar etc. But there's still much work to be done.

So I'm putting lead guitar, and shreddier stuff on hold in favor of more practical 'real life' scenarios as a working guitar player. Like playing in function bands, or my long term goal of playing in a backing band for major artists.

I hope all this makes sense... I'm just not really sure where to begin, what would it take for me to be comfortable taking a gig of learning 40 tunes in 2 weeks. Or auditioning to be Adele's guitar player etc. I know I'm unprepared and unskilled, but I'm not sure quite how!

it's a lot of work, rhythm guitar. The knowledge of the fretboard that's required is immense.

One of the best ways to create great rhythm parts is to transcribe the comping your hear from piano players, especially in Jazz.

Understand the harmony, the voicings. They don't have to be full blown voicings either, just double stops, occasionally small melodic links to join them up etc.

Get solid on CAGED.

Of course you should listen to Hendrix, and todays player who most closely reminds me of his rhythm work is Mayer. Absolutely.

A good test of your skill as a rhythm player is to see how interesting you can make 12 bar blues sound with just I, IV and V chords. knowledge of chord voicings come in to play here... Hendrixian double stops, etc.

Last edited by mdc : 11-30-2012 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:43 PM   #17
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Froosh is a pretty great rhythm player. He's one to analyse and get to grips with along with Mayer.
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:29 PM   #18
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do you take any lessons? if so and your teacher is knowledgeable, he should be able to help you with this more than a lot of us can...
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Old 12-02-2012, 12:12 PM   #19
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I've been working lately on rhythm guitar in band practice, and what really helped is triads, in first place, learn a few of them along the fretboard, usually CAGED system. Learn their inversions, and mix them throughout a song.

Then you should really pay attention to time (metronome), signatures (reading) and strumming patterns and rhythms. Mix quarter beats, eigth beats, sixteenth beats, triplets too. Try irregular patterns.

Finally do the least possible movement between each chord. That will usually give the best voicing to the sequence.

Hope it helps
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