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					                 Rhythm & Strumming
                                                      Level: Novice
                                                 Course: Guitar Essentials 1
                                                        Lesson: 7

                                            Groove
                                            Whole Note
                                            Half Note
                                            Quarter Note
                                            Slash Notation
                                            Strumming Patterns
                                            Recommended Practice Schedule




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(cc) 2008 Mechasonic – www.mechasonic.com                                                                                      1
Guitar Essentials 1 – Lesson 07 – Rhythm & Strumming                                                         Author: John Malan
                                                                                                               Created; 1/9/2008
                                                                                                          Last Updated: 4/8/2009
Groove
There are a handful of skills that separate the beginner guitarist from the pro guitarist, but probably
the most important of these skills is a good sense of rhythm. You might know a thousand chords but
if you can’t strum them in an interesting rhythmic way, you’ll still sound like an amateur. By contrast, if
you know just one chord and have a good sense of rhythm, you can sound like a total expert.

Groove as a concept is hard to define; it’s an intuitive sense for timing in music combined with an
intellectual understanding of rhythm and time. Very few people have a well-developed, innate sense
of groove without any training, and (fortunately) even fewer people have absolutely no sense of
groove at all.

If you can tap your foot to a piece of music, you have the beginnings of an understanding of what
groove entails.

In order to develop groove, the following steps must be taken:

     1. You must develop a sense for rhythm. Start practicing tapping your foot to music. Your
        body is your primary instrument; it needs to be able to feel the pulse inherent in music before
        you can even try to project that rhythm onto an external instrument.
     2. You must develop an understanding of rhythmic concepts. The purpose of this lesson is
        to introduce you to the most basic of these concepts. It is important to understand the nuts
        and bolts of rhythm in order to better be able to create interesting rhythmic sequences.
        Players who don’t have an understanding of how rhythm works often find themselves stuck in
        a rut, repeating the same rhythms every time they play.
     3. Start thinking in terms of rhythm. When you listen to music, don’t just hear it in the
        background, start trying to identify rhythmic concepts you have learned. When you play, be
        aware of what rhythms you’re playing.

Eventually rhythm will become second-nature, and identifying and performing tricky rhythms will
become second nature. This is when you will finally have groove.

        If you really struggle with rhythm, there are two other disciplines worth exploring that will help
        you improve: dancing and drumming. Taking dancing and/or drumming lessons – even just a
        few – will vastly improve your sense of timing.



Whole Note
In this lesson we’re going to explore three rhythmic symbols, the first of which is the whole note.


                                                          
                                                       Whole note

The whole note is represented as a hollow note head, and lasts for 4 beats in 4/4 time. It gets its
name from the fact that those four beats take up a whole bar.

        The older “classical” name for a whole note is semibreve.



        For this and all rhythms in this lesson, strum down only.




(cc) 2008 Mechasonic – www.mechasonic.com                                                                       2
Guitar Essentials 1 – Lesson 07 – Rhythm & Strumming                                          Author: John Malan
                                                                                                Created; 1/9/2008
                                                                                           Last Updated: 4/8/2009
Play the following examples, look to the music notation above the tab to determine the rhythm. Be
sure to hold the notes for the full four beats. Tap your foot! Always tap your foot!

Exercise 1




Whole Rest
Notes are representations of sound, while rests represent silence. In music, it is important to
understand that what you don’t play is as important as what you do.

The symbol for silence that is equivalent to the whole note is the whole rest. A whole rest is
represented as a dark block hanging underneath the fourth line of the musical staff:




                                                       Whole rest


Play the following examples, and once again look to the music notation above the tab to determine
the rhythm. Make sure that your silences last for exactly four beats.

Exercise 2




Exercise 3




A whole note can be written in music either on a line or in the space between the lines. If the note is
on a line it should be centred on the line, if it’s in the spaces between the lines, its edges should touch
the lines above and below the space.




(cc) 2008 Mechasonic – www.mechasonic.com                                                                      3
Guitar Essentials 1 – Lesson 07 – Rhythm & Strumming                                         Author: John Malan
                                                                                               Created; 1/9/2008
                                                                                          Last Updated: 4/8/2009
Exercise 4
To help with your understanding of these symbols, and to be able to express them on a piece of
paper, practice drawing whole notes here, ensuring that they’re slightly oval and not round, and that
they slant upwards from left to right.




And practice drawing whole rests here:




Half Note
As its name dictates, this rhythm lasts for half of what the whole note lasts: 2 beats.



                                                          
                                                       Half note

The half note is represented as a hollow note head, with a stem pointing either up or down. It lasts for
2 beats in 4/4 time. It gets its name from the fact that those two beats take up a half a bar.

        The older “classical” name for a half note is minim.

Play the following examples, look to the music notation above the tab to determine the rhythm. Be
sure to hold the notes for the correct amount of beats – don’t cut them short.

Exercise 5




Half Rest
The symbol for silence that is equivalent to the half note is the half rest. A half rest is represented as
a dark block sitting above the third line of the musical staff:




                                                       Half rest
(cc) 2008 Mechasonic – www.mechasonic.com                                                                      4
Guitar Essentials 1 – Lesson 07 – Rhythm & Strumming                                         Author: John Malan
                                                                                               Created; 1/9/2008
                                                                                          Last Updated: 4/8/2009
Play the following examples, and once again look to the music notation above the tab to determine
the rhythm. Make sure that your silences last for exactly the amount of beats illustrated.

Exercise 6




Exercise 7




Exercise 8
Practice drawing half notes and rests on these staves, following these guidelines:

    Ensure that the note heads are slightly oval and not round, and that they slant upwards from left
     to right.
    The stems should be 3½ spaces (gaps between the lines on the staff) in length from the note
     head.
    A stem should point upwards if the note head is on or below the third line, and should point
     downward if on or above the third line.
    If the stem points upwards, it should be to the right of the note head, if it points downwards, it
     should be to the left.




(cc) 2008 Mechasonic – www.mechasonic.com                                                                    5
Guitar Essentials 1 – Lesson 07 – Rhythm & Strumming                                       Author: John Malan
                                                                                             Created; 1/9/2008
                                                                                        Last Updated: 4/8/2009
Quarter Note
As its name dictates, this rhythm lasts for quarter of what the whole note lasts: 1 beat.



                                                           
                                                       Quarter note

The quarter note is represented as a solid note head, with a stem pointing either up or down. It lasts
for 1 beat in 4/4 time. It gets its name from the fact that that single beat takes up a quarter a bar.

        The older “classical” name for a quarter note is crotchet.

Play the following examples, look to the music notation above the tab to determine the rhythm. Be
sure to hold the notes for the correct amount of beats – don’t cut them short or hold them for too long.

Exercise 9




Exercise 10




Quarter Rest
The symbol for silence that is equivalent to the quarter note is the quarter rest. A quarter rest is
represented as a strange angular symbol:




                                                       Quarter rest




(cc) 2008 Mechasonic – www.mechasonic.com                                                                        6
Guitar Essentials 1 – Lesson 07 – Rhythm & Strumming                                           Author: John Malan
                                                                                                 Created; 1/9/2008
                                                                                            Last Updated: 4/8/2009
Play the following examples, and once again look to the music notation above the tab to determine
the rhythm. Make sure that your notes and silences last for exactly the amount of beats illustrated.

Exercise 11




Exercise 12




Exercise 13
Practice drawing half notes and rests on these staves, following these guidelines:

    Ensure that the note heads are slightly oval and not round, and that they slant upwards from left
     to right.
    The stems should be 3½ spaces (gaps between the lines on the staff) in length from the note
     head.
    A stem should point upwards if the note head is below the third line, and should point downward if
     above the third line. The stem can go in either direction if the note head is on the third line.
    If the stem points upwards, it should be to the right of the note head, if it points downwards, it
     should be to the left.




Most people struggle to draw a quarter rest accurately. The best way to draw it correctly is to visualise
it as a ‘z’ connected to a ‘c’, both at an angle.




(cc) 2008 Mechasonic – www.mechasonic.com                                                                    7
Guitar Essentials 1 – Lesson 07 – Rhythm & Strumming                                       Author: John Malan
                                                                                             Created; 1/9/2008
                                                                                        Last Updated: 4/8/2009
                     This diagram illustrates the relationship between these three rhythms:




If you are struggling with these rhythms here are some more examples to practice:

Exercise 14




Exercise 15




Exercise 16




Exercise 17




(cc) 2008 Mechasonic – www.mechasonic.com                                                                      8
Guitar Essentials 1 – Lesson 07 – Rhythm & Strumming                                         Author: John Malan
                                                                                               Created; 1/9/2008
                                                                                          Last Updated: 4/8/2009
Exercise 18




Exercise 19




Slash Notation
Not to be confused with the guitarist from Guns ‘n Roses and Velvet Revolver, slash notation is used
to represent rhythm specifically for how chords should be strummed. Slash notation rhythms look
similar to the music notation rhythms we have explored so far except that they are more angular.

                                                       Music Notation            Slash Notation

             Whole note



               Half note



            Quarter note



Rests remain the same as those in music notation, and aren’t written any differently.

Slash notation can be written within the staff, but is most often written above the staff in order to make
space for the melody, as in this example:

Exercise 20




(cc) 2008 Mechasonic – www.mechasonic.com                                                                     9
Guitar Essentials 1 – Lesson 07 – Rhythm & Strumming                                        Author: John Malan
                                                                                              Created; 1/9/2008
                                                                                         Last Updated: 4/8/2009
Strumming Patterns
Here are some strumming “patterns” using the rhythms we have covered so far, apply these rhythms
to the songs you learned in previous lessons.

Exercise 21




Exercise 22




Exercise 23




Exercise 24




Now create some of your own:

Exercise 26




Exercise 27




(cc) 2008 Mechasonic – www.mechasonic.com                                                            10
Guitar Essentials 1 – Lesson 07 – Rhythm & Strumming                                Author: John Malan
                                                                                      Created; 1/9/2008
                                                                                 Last Updated: 4/8/2009
Exercise 28




Exercise 29




Exercise 30
Take one of the strumming patterns above and apply it to one of the songs you can play. Not all
patterns fit all songs neatly, and often the simplest solution is the best option. These two strumming
patterns should cover most songs adequately:




(cc) 2008 Mechasonic – www.mechasonic.com                                                                   11
Guitar Essentials 1 – Lesson 07 – Rhythm & Strumming                                       Author: John Malan
                                                                                             Created; 1/9/2008
                                                                                        Last Updated: 4/8/2009
Recommended Practice Schedule
Here is a recommended practice routine for what you have learned in this lesson. When you achieve
the target speed without making mistakes, you can stop practicing the exercise.

Add these items to whatever you are currently practicing.

        Don’t be overwhelmed by the quantity of items that need to be practiced. Start with the first five
        to ten items and as you reach the target speed replace them with items further down the list.
        You’ll find that you’ll go though this list very quickly. Possible stumbling blocks will most
        probably be exercises 20 and 30.

     Item                         Time           Current Speed   Target speed   Notes
1    Exercise 1                   3 mins                         90
2    Exercise 2                   3 mins                         90
3    Exercise 3                   3 mins                         90
4    Exercise 4                   5 mins         -               -              Do this once
5    Exercise 5                   3 mins                         90
6    Exercise 6                   3 mins                         90
7    Exercise 7                   3 mins                         90
8    Exercise 8                   5 mins         -               -              Do this once
9    Exercise 9                   3 mins                         90
10 Exercise 10                    3 mins                         90
11 Exercise 11                    3 mins                         90
12 Exercise 12                    3 mins                         90
13 Exercise 13                    5 mins         -               -              Do this once
14 Exercise 14                    3 mins                         90
15 Exercise 15                    3 mins                         90
16 Exercise 16                    3 mins                         90
17 Exercise 17                    3 mins                         90
18 Exercise 18                    3 mins                         90
19 Exercise 19                    3 mins                         90
20 Exercise 20                    5 mins                         90
21 Exercise 21                    3 mins                         90
22 Exercise 22                    3 mins                         90
23 Exercise 23                    3 mins                         90
24 Exercise 24                    3 mins                         90
25 Exercise 25                    3 mins                         90
26 Exercise 26                    3 mins                         90
27 Exercise 27                    3 mins                         90
28 Exercise 28                    3 mins                         90
29 Exercise 29                    3 mins                         90
30 Exercise 30                    15 mins

(cc) 2008 Mechasonic – www.mechasonic.com                                                                     12
Guitar Essentials 1 – Lesson 07 – Rhythm & Strumming                                         Author: John Malan
                                                                                               Created; 1/9/2008
                                                                                          Last Updated: 4/8/2009

				
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