Feels weird, most people want to go from rhythm to solo and I want to go from solo to rhythm.

I've spent a great deal of time learning the fretboard and practicing free style on backing track videos and staying in key. It's taught me all these cool scales and how to properly improvise in a live situation and kick ass.
But one thing I completely neglected was my own rhythm playing. I'm not talking about a metal song exactly, that I have no problem making a face melting track... I'm talking about jazz or blues kind of improvisation backing.

How do you go about making a backing track?

Very broad, I know, but let me give you an example of what I mean.

You want to play in Em. So what I would do is I'd find E on the lowest of my strings and generate a chord from it. Since it's Em I'd make your basic minor shape as such:

Great, so now I have a baseline... but I can't just keep playing that. I'd start picking notes from it or strum it depending on the context.
Where would you go from here?

Honestly the one gaping hole in my theory is the numbered progressions (ex: I-IV-V stuff).
Would that be like this?
E F# G# A B C# D#
1 2  3  4 5 6  7 

1 = E
4 = A
5 = B
Thus a I-IV-V progression would be like E, A, B chords?

The reason I stated the above is that I don't know where to go from the basic root.
What I do in the case of Em track I originally brought up, means I'd probably go into the aeolian mode and start playing minor chords like.... Em, F#m, Gm; it works. I feel very limited though... I feel like I can't go anywhere and I become predictable. If it was creating music that be different cause I could sit down and hash out all the possibilities and mess around until I found something that fits, but in the case of improv I can't quite do that.

What can I do to become better at rhythm? So far as you've seen I would take Em and just play minor chords over the aeolian progression. It's very different from soloing with pentatonics/arpeggios/diatonic scales/bending/all that stuff.

- Would you play a triad over it? What triads would you choose and why?
- What chords?
- What do you do for your rhytmn if you had to improve and swap every 4 bars with another guitarist in whatever key you like?
- Chord inversions maybe?

I just need some ideas and guidance on where I should go and what I should learn (not limited to what I said here of course).
: )
Do you know how to build chords all over the neck in any key using intervals from a root? You can play that I IV V a ton of different ways, even in just 1 key (using different voicings of the chords). And that's just 1 progression, you have the right idea about how to put them together so just mess around with it all. I think learning how to make atleast the maj/min triads up and down the neck in all keys is the easiest yet most important thing you could do to expand your rhythm playing right now.
do you know how to construct chords?

if not letes take E minor and disect what chords are diatonic to the scale so that you know what chords are easiest to pick from.

E F# G A B C D E

okay so lets remember a triad always has some form of 1 3 5 so we'll go in order.

E G B okay so we got 1 b3 5 this means it's min so our base chord is Emin

F# A C here we have 1 b3 b5 so it must be diminished 2nd chord is F#°

G B D 1 3 5 G major

A C E 1 b3 5 A min

B D F# 1 b3 5 Bmin

C E G 1 3 5 C major

D F# A 1 3 5 D major

if you did this with all the minor scales you would see the pattern is

i = min
ii° = diminished
III = maj
iv = min
v = min
VI = maj
VII = maj

now you have your begining palet. i iv v is a very simple progression to start with, and there are infinate possibilities with just this progression. the progression is only the first piece of the puzzle here the rest comes to striking patterns, note duration, voicing of each chord, muted chords, and how much time devoted to each chord. personally I find it best to start with 1 chord for one full measure so in Eminor play something that goes |Emin|Amin|Bmin|. honestly don't be affraid to use the same chord progression the entire time and just change up your rhythm, and change the placement of muted chords, the strikeing pattern and muted chords are easily the most important part other than the drums to determine the style of music......
Quote by Dirk Gently
Some pieces are only meant to be played by people with six fingers on their fretting hand. Sorry.
Here's a question:

If lets say I want to do i-iv-v, Em Am Bm... can I do inversions on them? I'm trying to find better ways to do it than something like this:

: )
Quote by Cjk10000
Here's a question:

If lets say I want to do i-iv-v, Em Am Bm... can I do inversions on them? I'm trying to find better ways to do it than something like this:


Yes, you can do any inversion you want of any of those chords. Learn the major scale and how to build major/minor triads using diatonic intervals, and you will be able to pull an Em Am and Bm out of thin air anywhere on the neck. This is what you should strive for
You're theory gaps are hurting you. For example you're playing in an E minor key and using an E Major scale and progression to base it around. You have a lot of things backwards.

You can play with inversions, but if you aren't going to just learn theory and get it right, I'd abandon it and just use your ears and forget about trying to do things that you don't have the foundation for, because you're going to have marginal progress at best.

You have to have some sense of pitch collection instinct as to where the melody goes. If you want to play rhythm, then you are backing up something or someone else, its a totally different shift, you arent the center of attention and you shouldnt try to be, now your job is to make someone else sound good.

And you shouldn't try to please yourself, you should try to play what works. Otherwise you're just playing rhythm like a lead guitarist, and when creating music, if a drummer can't lay back and play straight and basic he's not gonna find many gigs. There's a time and place for everything. Whenever everyone in a band is going at it, it sounds like a mess. But there are plenty of bands out there that do it like that. They just bang away and no one seems to care what the other is doing. Drums are bashing, singers going guitars are going, even the bassist fancies himself a lead guitarist...it's just pummel, pummel, pummel, noise, noise, noise, but they do it with such conviction and authority and passion that some people really think they are amazing. To me it sounds like noise or a political statement of self expression rather than music. Maybe that's your thing.

I think your post lost its way a little there sean...

Anyway, TS - you've got some good basic ideas together but like sean says, there are gaps in your knowledge. I'd suggest you try and find a good local teacher to work over this stuff with you - diagnosing "gaps" online is a torturous and inefficient process. However, I can give you some tips that will help a lot and that you can work on by yourself.

You can play chords with the root note on any string - you may have meant this when you said "inversions", although that's not totally correct. I'm going to give you the five most common barre forms of Em, and I hope from there you can figure out how to use them and how to get major versions of each.

ALL Em chords
Quote by Freepower
I think your post lost its way a little there sean...

That was inspired by his comment about the Bass line (but what else..that's boring, I cant just play a simple bass line) idea that he shared. But why not? Sometimes, that bassline is just the thing needed, and the rhythm guitarist should be willing to commit to that and play it for the sake of the song as opposed to have to be wild and exotic on each bar/beat. That's what I'm getting at. A rhythm part isn't made important by how complex or novel it is, but by how it supports the song.

Last edited by Sean0913 at Jun 13, 2011,