hey i'm just a little confused on what the rhythm guitarist does.

i get that he is suppose to usually play chords but like what does he?she strum to? the beat (drums) lead guitar of the vocals?

thanks (sorry if I sound like a noob)
Rhythm guitarist plays rhythm
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ok as a rhythm guitarist myself we basically have 2 jobs, one is to yes strum chords in a certain chord progression which usually goes along with a lead guitarist main riff. Our second job is to play harmonized versions of riffs that the lead guitarists play. i am technically a rhythm/lead guitarist because at times i switch off with the lead guitarist so he can play chords while i play riffs or my own solo so that's basically a rhythm guitarist. Also the rhythm which they play can vary and doesn't necessarily have to go along with the drums
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Quote by dalamas
Rhythm guitarist plays rhythm

wow really

I mean like if you look here on ug for chords it gives you the chords and the lyrics and wat time to change from chord to chord but it does give the strumming

so how do you know what to strum to
I think the way it works is rhythm plays harmony and lead plays melody. I also tend to think of rhythm guitarists as a fill for when the lead is doing some kind of solo or riff, and they help it sound less empty by keeping up the main riff like bass and drums do.
If the lead guitarist already has his part written you play the chords that he's outlining.

If you're writing your part first you just come up with a progression that starts to create a mood that works with the song.

You don't need to strum the same beat as the drummer but generally you'll want to accentuate the beat.

You'll also play harmonies but that should be pretty self explanatory I hope.
The rhythm you strum really depends on the style of music you're playing. If you're playing something punk like the Ramones, or even something pop punk like Blink 182, you're usually just going to be strumming simple 8th note patterns.

For some songs you may just want to play the rhythm guitar like a typical acoustic guitar. Try to find a pattern that locks in with what the bass and drums are doing. A lot of Oasis songs have rhythm guitar parts like this, most notably Wonderwall.

Out of curiosity, what type of music do you normally play?
Quote by HighPotency
I think the way it works is rhythm plays harmony and lead plays melody.
This is a good general rule to follow.

An example would be the "Stairway to Heaven" solo. Page obviously layered multiple parts, but the solo is the lead while the backing chords are the rhythm. While the song should never be covered, if you did, the rhythm guitarist would play the chords while the lead guitarist would play the solo.

The lines get blurry as you get into more complex riffs, but then you would generally consider the more difficult part the lead, as a classic 4-man rock band would have the singer playing guitar as well, and that singer would want to focus on the singing and thus, not want to have to worry about a complex guitar part.