#1
Hello ladies and gentlemen,

I have been playing guitar for quite some time now and I actually feel pretty confident in my abilities as a player. BUT.... I have been playing with a metal band for a while and I am constantly humbled by my lead guitarist. The dude is a freaking monster! And I know that I couldn't really get to his level. So, my goal is to just do what I'm very good at better than he can. Here starts the quest to do my job as the rhythm guitarist as tightly as humanly possible. But, how do I go about this? My first thought was to emulate the great metal rhythm guitarist that are out there, James Hetfield, Dave Mustaine, Zacky Vengeance, Willie Adler, and the list goes on. But this hasn't really provided me with the results that I have wanted. Soooooooo, I come to you guys for your collective knowledge. What can I do to become a truly solid rhythm player?
#2
Depends what you're lacking already and what you mean by the best rhythm player you can be; that could mean different things to different people.

Define your terms, sir, then an answer may be possible.


Also: the only thing stopping you from being as good as the lead guitarist is you. Stop whining about how you'll never be that good and practice.
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#3
Practising is always a good option. I'd take a metronome and start strumming, really focusing on hitting on the beat. If that feels too easy, try 8th notes, 8th note triplets etc. You could also try some harder ones like quarter note triplets or any quintuplets.

For rhythm I would work on having solid downstrokes AND having a nice punchy and even alternate picking technique. Focus on playing down- and upstrokes with the exact same volume. Try different dynamics and palm muting techniques and work on getting a good tone.

I'm not really a too good metal rhythm guitarist, so perhaps someone can give better advice, but I hope this helps even a bit.
E:-6
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G:-5
D:-6
A:-0
E:-3
#4
Learn how to play "truly solid" rythm parts spot on. Practise timing and LOTS of down picking if you play metal.

Last of all, always write your own stuff. Get inspired and work on it until you love it.

EDIT: Isolation by Alter Bridge is a great song for metal rythm playing, it'll really help you. Also prsctise lots of palm muting.
Last edited by TheDuckMajor at Mar 4, 2012,
#5
Record yourself. Take a passage and loop it while recording. After playing the same passage over and over you will nail it. Now analyze what you are doing differently and be aware of it when playing the passage again. I always experience that during recordings.
Also become a master of accentuation and phrasing, no difference here between lead and rhythm, just the content differs. Study different tones and how they work out in the pattern of your band. You want a tone with balls while keeping transparence.
#6
@Zaphod
Hmmm, well that could've been worded better so as not to seem like a dick, but, to answer your questions. There are a lot of holes in my playing which I have observed but even after weeks of practice and repetition, I have only improved marginally. My riff works always seems to be slightly sloppy and I can't seem to keep those annoying little sounds from popping out. Now don't get me wrong, I get the job done and I don't sound like a horrible sloppy mess, but I want to refine my sound as much as possible in order to achieve tighter rhythms. There is no one answer to this question, so I'm only asking for your techniques of practicing rhythms and I hope to learn of techniques and practice material that I wasn't really aware of.

Also, I wasn't whining about anything good sir, I know what I am and I know what I'm not. I'm not a shredder, nor do I aspire to be. Which is why I'm wanting to know more about rhythm playing.

@Flibo
Yeah, I never really thought about my upstroke much thanks a lot. I will attempt to pay a lot more attention to that.

@TheDuckMajor
I do write a lot of my own stuff and normally I feel pretty confident that I play it well. And thanks a lot for the suggestion of Alter Bridge. I had forgotten the awesome riffs that there were in that song.

@Facecut
Recording myself is a great idea! I didn't even think about that. The looping part I have tried to do quite often, But I will try to pay special attention to parts that give me more trouble than others when I listen to the recordings.
Last edited by SandwichNoob at Mar 4, 2012,
#7
If you want to become a solid rhythm player you have to dig into it and find out what rhythm consists of. Then be able to to execute it.

So, rhythm consists of different note values (and rest values, silence is equally important as sound in music). Right? Whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, eight notes, sixteenth notes, quarter note triplets, eight note triplets, sixteen note triplets and so forth.

Take a metronome and practice getting these note values right. Like being able to play sixteen notes steady, or like going from Eight note triplets to quarter notes. I promise you, this will really mess with your head for a while.

Also take a look at this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Sw_trDFJw8

Don't forget, practice slowly. You should be as relaxed as possible when practicing, otherwise you'll teach yourself bad habits. Let the picking motion come from the wrist.
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Last edited by Sickz at Mar 4, 2012,
#8
Quote by SandwichNoob
@Zaphod
Hmmm, well that could've been worded better so as not to seem like a dick, but, to answer your questions. There are a lot of holes in my playing which I have observed but even after weeks of practice and repetition, I have only improved marginally. My riff works always seems to be slightly sloppy and I can't seem to keep those annoying little sounds from popping out. Now don't get me wrong, I get the job done and I don't sound like a horrible sloppy mess, but I want to refine my sound as much as possible in order to achieve tighter rhythms. There is no one answer to this question, so I'm only asking for your techniques of practicing rhythms and I hope to learn of techniques and practice material that I wasn't really aware of.

Also, I wasn't whining about anything good sir, I know what I am and I know what I'm not. I'm not a shredder, nor do I aspire to be. Which is why I'm wanting to know more about rhythm playing.


Oh you think that was me being a dick... that's cute ^_^

Whatever, first thing you will want to look at is your actual understanding of rhythm, watch these: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Sw_trDFJw8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asYfvMzjk7M
A theoretical understanding of rhythm will supplement what you do physically and also help you build more interesting rhythm parts in the first place.

From there the next step is physical 'understanding' of rhythm: best way is to study the best rhythm players in the business. I recommend: Muhammad Suicmez (Necrophagist), Jon Schaffer (Iced Earth/Demons & Wizards), Adam Jones (Tool), Pin (Sikth/Aliases) and Misha Mansoor (Periphery). Look at their music and look and their physical playing. Specifically pay attention to how little movement they use for picking, how well they mute strings they don't want to sound and so on.

Then there's the tone which is possibly entirely subjective but still important, you want a tone that is very tight: decent amount of mids, slight bass cut, decent amount of treble but not enough to be harsh. Make sure you've got a decent noise gate as well, for metal rhythm I can't think of anything you will need more. Cuts down feedback and hum so the silent parts stay as silent as possible.

As ever there are no tricks, no special techniques; just hard work and study.


And about the lead playing: if it actually doesn't matter to you then why mention it?


Edit: ^ Hahaha Sickz, nice call
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#9
A few tips.

- Accent on the beat. It helps you connect with the rhythm.

- Get all your down a upstrokes in the right places.

- look at your band mates, mainly the drummer. Its easier to be dead in time if you use your eyes as well as your ears. You dont have to look all the time, just for reference.

- say/ sing the rhythm parts. It gets them looked into your head better, making it easy to play.

- Know what every band members parts sound like.

- Practice along to a drum machine and try lock onto the groove on any thing your playing.
#10
play along to early sepultura,the faster iced earth songs,morbid angel,testament ect

really push yourself to sound like the bands

????

profit
#11
A quote from one of the best rhythm guitarists:

Quote by Prince
“Kids don’t learn to play the right way anymore. When the Jackson 5 came up, they had to go through Smokey Robinson and the Funk Brothers, and that’s how they got it down. I want to be able to teach that stuff, because kids need to learn these things, and nobody is teaching them the basics. See, a lot of cats don’t work on their rhythm enough, and if you don’t have rhythm, you might as well take up needlepoint or something. I can’t stress it enough. The next thing is pitch. That’s universal. You’re either in tune or you ain’t. When you get these things down, then you can learn how to solo.”

At least you understand that you need to work on rhythm! The advice to use a metronome is excellent, and my advice would simply be to try and emulate those guitarists that have good rhythm technique. Learn songs with challenging rhythm lines (I work on songs for this very reason), but also learn songs with different rhythms that you wouldn't normally play. Learning some funk made me a better guitarist because its such a rhythm-driven genre, so broaden those horizons!
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#12
I think it's useful to do some practice without the guitar. Try clapping out the rhythm. Try to vocalise it in some way.

It'll sound daft, but the point isn't to sound cool (unless you want to be one of those Human beatboxes). The point is to internalise the rhythm/phrasing. Vocalising it can be a quicker route.
#13
Practice metal rhythms to a metronome, play scales to a metronome, learn metal songs. Also when you've got most of a song down, try to record the rhythms that you can play and then record a track of one to a metronome then record another track of the same rhythm while trying to be perfectly in sync.
#14
You are on the same quest as I, except I'm not focused on rhythm only. I didn't see it mentioned but "Muting" was the root of my problems and still is. Not just right hand muting, the left hand muting is essential. That is where you are gonna quiet the extra noise.
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