Hey. Here's the story. I am a rhythm guitar lover. For years I mainly played rhythm, rhythm, rhythm. All day long. I'd mess with the scales for solos once a week. They were fun, but I felt the rhythm was the bulk of the playing, perhaps because back then I was mainly alone with my guitar and the lead doesn't do much for people without the rhythm, so I felt if I wanted to establish as someone who 'really knew how to play' I'd have to focus entirely on rhythm mostly. I never raelly thought about it much though, I guess. At any rate, I still basically feel this way, but since around Christmastime I've gradually gotten more and more into lead and now I feel it is really truly getting somewhere. I'm loving it but I'm loving it so much that I find I may be losing the balance. I really want to be a great lead player like SRV, but at the same time I desperately want to hold onto my rhythm skills since I do fancy myself a considerably accomplished songwriter in that vein. I know it sounds silly, but I just wanna hear some encouraging words about this I guess. I love both styles of playing and I'd hate to see one or the other suffer. What do you think I should keep in mind?
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Last edited by Italy's Finest at Jul 4, 2011,
....practise both?

EDIT: Learn a whole song, and play the rhythm for it, until there is a solo or something, and play that. Theres your mixture.
Quote by Shayden2008
....practise both?

....practiCe both? If you love them both so much, spend the time to do it. I play percussive fingerstyle acoustic guitar and blues. Two entirely different styles.
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you can do booth at the same time (well not exactly, but you get the point..)
you neither lose any skills in the rhythm section nor in the lead section. Sry but I don't see the problem really

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I asked a similar question a while back because I feel there is a difference in ability in my lead and rhythm playing (my rhythm is much better: I can thrash and love it but cannot shred and don't want to). So the songs I write sound a little odd. My solution is to try to turn the disadvantage into an advantage by increasing the melodic value of my solos per note.
practice both, just because you began to play more lead parts doesnt mean that your rhythm playing will get worse in any way
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Better than all these 'practice both' answers. Make them one.

Look at bands with one guitarist, the more interesting guys couple their lead with the rythm sort of like the left and right hand of a piano.

Hendrix is a perfect example, he played bass notes and broken chords/arpeggios to make a rythm and lead section on one guitar little wing is a good start.

May also wanna look at the Suede song animal nitrate, that is similar in the lead+rythm combo thing.

John frusciante sort of belongs to this group aswell, with stuff like under the bridge.

Then on a studio version of your song, you can lay down two or more guitar tracks anyway.
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Last edited by W4T3V3R at Jul 5, 2011,
Learn Hide Away, it will get you off to a great start. Albert King does it. It sounds awesome, and isn't that hard, but it does split the idea of rhythm playing with lead. Once you start to learn it, don't just learn it....

STOP and listen and look at what he's doing. To play rhythm, you have to have a strong feeling of time and pulse of the song, and invoke that when you play lead in such a way that the listener can still PERCEIVE something is being played in the rhythm, when really, nothing is being played. If you can play lead and still imply a chord is playing with you, in such a way as the listener still feels it, then you are on your way.

If you cannot do that....(and you cannot do that without starting slow, getting a lock on your pulse so that the audience hears/feels it no matter what you are doing) then you're not going to be able to do it. Playing that way is a monstrous task. You have to learn a lot and take time with it. Go learn some old time blues songs, by people l like Robert Johnson, or some fingerstyle with melody and alternate bass with the thumb to see just how hard it is to keep some independance in two lines. If you can pull that off, you'll be on your way. Then learn classics like Little wing, and Hendrix chordals and double stops.


Last edited by Sean0913 at Jul 5, 2011,
OP, I think your view of rhythm is a little skewed. Any half decent guitarist who happens to play lead should have a firm grasp of rhythm.

For Rhythm it doesnt matter if your playing bass, drums, guitar or a kazoo. If you have a great feel for rhythm that will always be there regardless of the instrument or your role in a particular band.

Next time you go to play, find the pule of the song... any half decent musican should be able to lock into the pluse of any song at any time. Then before you start to play, feel that pulse and start to groove. Then once you're grooving your ready to start playing. "Never loose the groove trying to find a note."

As for rhythm this is a great little excersice, work on this and you'll be set. When playing leads it's great to have great time, because you can play infront, ontop, or behind any interval which gives you so many more options when playing and much more control... each interval will naturaly invoke diffrent emotion. Not to mention other musicans will love playing with you, because you can lock into a groove with them. IMO as a bassist there is nothing more frustrating than playing with someone who attempts to play lead but can't keep time

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Last edited by TheMooseKnuckle at Jul 5, 2011,