Rhythm Guitar

While most people think rhythm guitar is easy, some people like Jeff Hanneman (Slayer) and Matt Bachand (Shadows Fall) make it sick and you can be a sick rhythm guitarist to.

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Today, since I saw no articles, I'll teach the very basic to most advanced rhythm guitar. Basic rhythm. While alot of rythem guitarist don't get as much fame as lead guitarists, the rhythm is what keeps the song together. Lets start with a small practice exercise.
Hells Bells Intro:
e|------------------------------|------------------------------|
B|------------------------------|------------------------------|
G|----9---7------5-----7--------|----9---7------5-----7--------|
D|------7---7------5-----7------|------7---7------5------5-5---|
A|--0-----------0-----0------0--|--0-----------0----0---3-2-0--|
E|------------------------------|------------------------------|
This is a small exercise to warm up. Composing your own rhythms. How to compose your own rhythms is solely based on your tuning. Standard tuning you use power chords or bar for upper strings and drop D or drop C are the opposite. Also rhythms don't have to use chords, they can use single string notes tied together to create a rhythm. An example of each:
Power Chord ex. Blind Standard Tuning:
e|-------------------------------|
B|-------------------------------|
G|-------------------------------|
D|-------------------------------|
A|-----4---5----4----5--6-6-6-6--|
E|--0-2-0-3-0-2-0-3--4-4-4-4-----|

Bar Chord ex. Smoke On The Water Intro:
e|---------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------|
G|---------------------------------|
D|--5-8-10--5-8-11-10--5-8-10-8-5--|
A|--5-8-10--5-8-11-10--5-8-10-8-5--|
E|---------------------------------|

Single-note Rhythm ex. Hallowed Be Thy Name Secondary Riff:
e|-------------------------------|
B|-------------------------------|
G|-------------------------------|
D|----------------------6--------|
A|----4-5-7-5-4-5-4---7-6-4-5-4--|
E|--7----------------------------|

Combination: Power Of I And I Intro, Right Now:

Power Of I And I Intro:

C|--------------------4-3-------------|
G|--4-3-0-1-2-1-0-2-1-0-4-3-0-1-0-2---|
C|--4-3-0-1-2-1-0------0-4-3-0-1-0-2--|

Right Now:
C|----------------9-----------8-----------7----------|
G|--1-1-1-1-3-1-0-9-1-1-1-1-0-8-1-1-1-1-0-7-1-1-1-1--|
C|--1-1-1-1-3-1-0-7-1-1-1-1-0-6-1-1-1-1-0-5-1-1-1-1--|
A good way to compose rhythms is to listen to other songs and practice them to get good, then try making your own. Here's one I made:
G|--1--1-1-1--1-1--1-1--3-2-1-2--|
C|--1--1-1-1--1-1--1-1--3-2-1-2--|
If you notice, it sounds similar to the KoRn song, Faget. I made that riff after listening to it. Rhythming unser solos. You just played your harmony and getting ready for the moment. You look at your fellow guitarist and nod then he shreads a lead solo while your doing a sick rhythm under it. Rhythming under solos is one of the hardest part of being a rhythm guitarist: it's usually super-fast and if you screw up, you screw up the solo. Let's do the rhythm part of the solo to "The Ghosts Of Past Failures" by Shadows Fall (rhythm guitarist - Matt Bachand):
Part 1
G|--7-7-7-7-7--7-7-7-7-7-10-10-10-10-10-10-10-0-5-5-5-5-5-5-5--|
C|--7-7-7-7-7--7-7-7-7-7-10-10-10-10-10-10-10-0-5-5-5-5-5-5-5--|
PM. . . . .  . . . . . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . . . . . . . .   

Part 2
G|--3-3-3-3-3--3-3-3-3-3-0-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-3-3--|
C|--3-3-3-3-3--3-3-3-3-3-0-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-3-3--|
PM. . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
While this may look easy, it is pretty fast and fast Palm Muting like this is pretty hard, especially since you up and down stroke. I'm out, but before I go, If you guys weren't challenged enough, here's a little sumthin' to try:
What Drives The Weak Mini Solo(Shadows Fall):
F|----------------------------------------------8-8/10--13-13p10-13--|
A|--(6)p5-------------10--12-12b-------------------------------------|
D|--------7p5--7-----10--12-12b--12p10-9--10-------------------------|


F|15-----12-13-12--------------20b-20b-(20)-----20-------------------|
A|------x-----------13-----------------------15/17-18---17--18-(18)\-|
D|---x------------------15---(15)------------------------------------|

F|--15/18--17--13--15b-(15)------------------------|
A|---------------------------------15-13-13-13/15--|
I know it's not a rhythm, but it's for guitarists who want a challenge. I'm out. Any question, e-mail me at MetalFreekz@aol.com

92 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    Andro Luigi
    GuitarAngelme wrote: I am a beginner and I have just gotten my guitar. I can't even play it! Do you have a lesson on how to play?
    Ei man, its pretty easy to play... Try Beatles... They have the easiest songs to play... You'll be a legend in no time...
    nathan.price
    wtf dont post tabs as comments they get screwed up. shitty lesson... and he didnt even talk about time sigsor anything important
    djmay71
    wow...this is an insult...if UG would post my article on rhythm guitar, maybe some people would understand...
    Zero_Berserker
    What About James Hetflied!!?? He's a kick ass rhythm guitar man, i can't belive u leave him out of it. Nice lesson man
    darocker123
    ramonesfan wrote: Hells Bells,Ac Dc is wrong.
    actualy thats seemed perfect 2 me. really helpful thnx
    xrtromarine
    Have anyone ever mentioned Dynamics rather than Tuning? coz I'm only a novice player also but I think the latter talks much about Rhythm Lessons than guitar tuning.
    Terry Wayne
    so far....ive seen 4 different tabs for hells bells...and everyone thinks theres is right.....who gives a damn really?
    clive_jordan
    this lesson was awful beginners would be confused and the smoke on the water tab is completely wrong i could go on but i wont.....
    shredder_01
    yeah im a rythm guitarist, im self taught on creatin rythms but i would have to say i picked up a few tips for sure
    outlawgal
    I've only been playing for about 3 weeks and found this lesson to be about useless for a number of reasons. It assumes a beginner knows how to read tabs and understands strumming techniques, hammering, etc. Since most of my friends are long-time musicians, I'm familiar with the terminology but still at a stage where I'm not quite getting it from my brain to my hands. This lesson didn't help a bit.
    volcomdude59
    tht was sick, and yeah, i play rythm and i dont get as much rep as my lead and i sometimes think ours is harder because our hands are constantly moving to different chords and strings while the only time basically the lead moves is during a solo if there is one. (repectively)
    bashfulbrownie
    i dont undestand the chords. c and g. i was so confused at the end but the beggining was pretty easy.
    h20rider
    Although I appreciate the effort that was put into this "lesson", it is worse than useless. Rather than convey concepts, it is bound to confuse the intended audience. I couldn't make heads nor tails of much of it, and routinely play rhythm. This "lesson" should be taken down before it does harm.
    Alu.card
    I'd just like to point out...that Slayer doesn't have a rhytmn guitarist, both Hanneman and King are considered to be both rhytmn and lead, check out angel of death, the "solo-battle" is amazing .
    p_a_morgan
    yeah dude i play rythym guitar in my band..and ppl think its easy..thanks for clearing that up for some ppl
    MeltingWaxFace
    My penis is limp after reading this and I fear it may never regain its rigidity. It is a mere shadow of what it once was. Thanks alot!
    metalheadblues
    cloud12321 wrote: i cant tune my guitar in at all i have tryed here and loads of other sites can some one help please:'(
    it usually takes some time to be able to tune properly..just play and get your muzikal ear developed from then everything would be a breeze..hmmm might end up playing rhythm guitar for some band..good read
    Dwight Schrute
    [code]Bar Chord ex. Smoke On The Water Intro: e|-----| B|-----| G|-----| D|--5-8-10--5-8-11-10- -5-8-10-8-5--| A|--5-8-10--5-8-11-10--5-8-10-8-5--| E|---- -| [/code] :facepalm:
    Paolo Ang
    UG TEAM ! CAN SOMEONE PLEASE DELETE THIS LESSON BEFORE ANY BEGINNER GETS FOOLED BY THIS SHIT. FROM 2005 to 2009, I THINK THERE ARE A NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO JUST STARTED OUT SEEMED TO ACTUALLY BELEIVE THIS SHIT. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. XD
    Horo
    rhythm as to rhythm, lead as to extra(lead guitar is basically that extra that gives the song an edge)
    SGibson666
    but yeah, i'm a begginer(not a noob, i cn pul-off and hammer-on and yadda yaddda yadda) and this made absolutey no sense. Theres no F string! Thumbs down mate.
    naculus
    this lesson is gay. don't listen to this person at all. Cant even play smoke on the water right. Stop teaching if you don't know what your doing! All this is doing is slowing people down.
    Jinchu
    This is, on the whole, a terrible rhythm guitar lesson. I agree with previous commentors that the advice on various tunings and ways to play in those tunings are incorrect. Also, I would like to point out that this lesson does not address the core of what it's supposed to: RHYTHM. Without using measures and counts to address this issue, all you're doing is tabbing riffs... that's it. If you're not teaching how to KEEP RHYTHM AND TIME, you're defeating the purpose... Go ****ing kill yourself.
    Lefty3741
    This lesson sucked. if i had been a beginner i would not have understood it. the smoke on the water tab is wrong but for everyone that keeps saying Hell's Bells is wrong it is not that is actually the way ACDC plays it.
    Das Tier In Mir
    Arguing about Smoke on the Water? Wow. Just wow. How did you get it wrong? It's a simple song if you think about it for like 2 seconds. and I am a Rhythm Guitarist as well. You insult me. No just joking ,man. Just post stuff you actually know about next time.
    whoisthisguy
    i congratulate you on the effort you put into writing this lesson. but before you post information on the internet (in general not just guitar) make sure the information is right . keep strating
    LPriffer23
    who cares who wrote it. he is just tryin to put some of his creative ideas out there...i dont see any of you tryin at this.
    heggazz
    very shit lesson, sorry but it really was. Did not explain any aspect of rhythm, I agree that it was just a beginner who wanted to make a lesson.
    MrOtter
    yeah, maybe it was just me but that was pretty useless. If you really want a good lesson on rhythm guitar playing pick up the new guitar one mag. it has some nice instruction and some really fun riffs.