Hi all,
I've been playing for the good part of 4 years, so a fair while. But I find that my rhythm playing is still ordinary. Not in the sense that the chords I play don't sound clean or even the chord changes aren't smooth, but I find that my ability to mute other strings (particularly when playing songs involving open chords) whilst playing rhythm guitar really makes my playing sound a bit sloppy.

For example, in the song You and Me by Lifehouse (I know its not a difficult song but its a good example to illustrate my point), although I can play the song and the chords without any problem, I can't get my playing to sound like the song itself because other strings are ringing/not muted when they should be.

I'm not really sure how to solve this problem or where to start in order to get my rhythm playing really perfect. I have the same issue when playing rhythm using triads rather than full songs (eg. Long Train Runnin by Doobie Brothers), I just find that my playing isn't clean and rhythmic enough for songs which I should be able to play well by now. I practice at least 5 days a week for 45 mins-1 hr a day.

I know this has been a bit of a long post, but could anyone give me some tips/pointers or point me in the direction of some lessons online (video or written) which can help? Thanks a lot.
If you can't mute the strings with your picking hand or your free fingers, you might have to get creative. Take some time to think about how you could mute the necessary strings. I find that when I slow down a part and think about the chords, I can fret a note in such a way that one finger frets the note and mutes an adjacent string.

Just remember that your fingers can multitask. If you think about the chord shapes you will figure it out.
What?! There's a clean channel on my amp?!

Quote by GoodOl'trashbag
omfg i totally forgot about that, you sir are jesus christ.
Slow it down
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If you half the tempo and play the song, can you make the song sound correct? If so, I'd say you just need to tighten up you technique with more focused practice at slower speeds.

Do you use both hands to mute strings, or just your strumming hand?

Do the unwanted notes occur when strumming, changing chords or both?

If you can isolate the specific problems, it'll help you correct them quicker.
Thanks all for your responses, I'll try playing slower and strip it back to the basics.

@G-Dog_666: I do usually only use my strumming hand to mute open chords (When necessary, I just depress my palm onto the strings). I do however use my left hand when muting barre chords.

I think the unwanted notes end up ringing in both cases, whilst playing chords and changing between them. The unwanted notes ringing whilst strumming is something I reckon I need to work on fixing by ensuring I'm hitting the right strings. But whilst changing chords, particularly open chords when im using my right hand, my muting tends to be too slow and spoils my rhythm and timing
Quote by boris6491
Thanks all for your responses, I'll try playing slower and strip it back to the basics.

As well as playign slower, I'd recommend using a metronome to regulate your timing, if you don't already do so. The accuracy and muscle memory will come in no time.

Finally, good luck and happy playing, dude!