Tech­nique Fo­cus

Rhythm gui­tar

Guitar Techniques - - Play: Rock -

The rhythm gui­tar play­ing in Funk 49 has a lovely feel and a snappy de­liv­ery. It may seem like an easy part to play but, as ever, the devil is in the de­tail. There are plenty of sub­tle nu­ances in the way the semi­qua­ver rhythms are de­liv­ered. One of the most im­por­tant as­pects of play­ing good rhythm gui­tar is to keep the strum­ming hand mov­ing, up and down, in time, re­gard­less of whether it is needed to hit the strings or not. If you keep the strum­ming hand mov­ing it works very much like a pen­du­lum. It is very dif­fi­cult to nail a groove con­sis­tently by guess­ing with sin­gle strums here and there. Us­ing the strum­ming hand to ‘ghost’ the rhyth­mic sub-di­vi­sion is a far more me­chan­i­cal way of mak­ing sure your time­keep­ing is sound.

The ba­sic riff from the verse part is a re­peat­ing, two-bar pat­tern that is played with a 16th note (semi­qua­ver) feel. This means that all the 8th notes (quavers) are played with a down stroke and the 16th notes that fall out­side of this are played with up stokes. Check out the strum­ming di­rec­tions in bar 3 and you will see the part is played with a va­ri­ety of down and up strums depend­ing on where the rhythms are sit­u­ated in the bar. The length of the chords is also a fac­tor and can be con­trolled with the pres­sure you ap­ply with the fret­ting hand fin­gers. If you re­lease the pres­sure off of the fret­ting hand, but leave the fin­gers in con­tact with the strings, the chord will be cut short and the strings will be muted to cre­ate that lovely feel.

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