Hi, I started improvising about a year ago but just now I got this doubt. Do I have to care about rhythm while I improvise? I usually jam over a 12 bar blues backing track and I know in which chord Im playing but I never think about how much the note I'll be playing will last (like: now, after this eighth note I'll play a fourth note, and after that a sixteenth note), however, I think that what I play sounds fine. Also I've been analysing solos (mostly Eric Clapton's, SRV's, Hendrix, Tony Iommi's or stuff like this ) and I can't know if they actually are thinking about rhythm or they ''internalized'' rhythm and then they improvise, or maybe they only approach their licks to the rhythm of the song. Thanks in advance.
Yes - you should always have the rythm and the chords playing in thd backbof your mind when soloing - it takes practice to master that.

I would suggest sometimes playing without backing tracks and mix rythm with soloing - tap your foot to quarter notes as well - that helps.
rhythm is probably more important than note choice when improvising if i'm being honest
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Your solo/lead should always compliment the rhythm. A solo is something that should add something significant to the song without moving too far away from the emotion/mood of the song. It's a matter of getting a feel for the rhythm then molding your solo around that feel. In my opinion too many players just look for a place to play a solo then just play notes, phrases and runs that have nothing do with the song itself or the feel of the rhythm. It's what separates a technically musician from an artist. This doesn't just apply to playing blues, it applies to any style. Here's a great example. Gary Moore could have chosen to play a fast blistering solo to show off his great technique. Instead he played a slow passionate solo that for me is just killer. 

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Rhythm comes FIRST. It's more important than note choice (although only just...).

Dizzy GIllespie said "Most people think of a note and put a rhythm to it. I think of a rhythm and put a note to it."

Still, the reason most people think of notes first is that that is the hard part for most people. Most of us - if we are half way decent as musicians - can feel a groove. We can tap or clap to a beat, and can feel the syncopations. It seems much more intuitive than note choice, which is subject to all kinds of complications about chords, keys and scales which are not immediately obvious. So we tend to take rhythm for granted. We think if we're playing in time, its all OK. And maybe most of the time it is. But only OK...

The problem is when we immerse ourselves too much in the notes and the harmony - either playing as fast as we can, or showing off our jazz scale knowledge with fancy chromatics. Truth is nobody cares about that stuff! Nobody worth a damn anyway. Rhythm is what makes music come alive.
jonriley64 gGoro Rhythm is paramount.  There's nothing worse than leaden music with no groove to it.  Hence the saying "He wouldn't swing if you hung him", for such players.

Rhythm seems to be massively overlooked, and yet the chances are that the reason you like a player is because of the rhythm (phrasing).   A lot of players think that rhythm + guitar = "rhythm guitarist".  While true, that's the tip of the iceberg.

It is something that can (and should) be practiced ... for example, to start a phrase on the "3 and", etc.  The feel of syncopation.  How long notes add emphasis in the right places.  How off-beats can be used to carry chromatic notes so their presence if felt, but any clashes are suppressed.  Rhythmic groupings are wonderful.  Then add in dynamics...  Note choice really is secondary. 

But when improvising, then I doubt very much every note's time placement and duration are thought out ... that will mostly just happen as seems right to you.   At most I imagine you'd make conscious choice where a phrase will start.  But that can only happen through the original awareness developed through active listening and practice (I think).  (And of course, tempo affects things massively)
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Jul 2, 2017,