When I was studying music, one thing I remember my professors kept driving home was that you don't just stop when you see a "rest" in music notation. You play silence. Silence acts as a frame around the sounds you're producing and helps make those sounds feel more profound. Think about what a picture frame does for a photograph.
The full-chord strum is only one way to skin the rhythm cat. A subtler but no less effective approach is playing broken chords, which involves successively picking the individual notes of a chord in a following pattern. An arpeggiated, or “broken,” chord simultaneously outlines the harmony, meter and rhythm.
These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the February 2015 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at the Guitar World Online Store.
I grew up listening to James Taylor, and I admit I know pretty much every word of every song he’s ever performed. But when it comes to the guitar parts, that’s something I’ve still gotta work on. Luckily the legendary Mr. Taylor has taken steps to remedy that. He’s posted a series of free lessons on his site that not only run through some of his most beloved songs, they also incorporate new portable camera technology so that you can see his right hand technique from the inside.
I had the privilege of sitting down with John Butler recently as he went through the fingering and technique for his new song “Spring to Come” off the upcoming album Flesh and Blood. Check it out and Play It Now!
Here’s a great lesson on how to play the classic holiday song “Silent Night” on acoustic guitar. Starting with very simple cowboy chords, instructor Jimmy Brown walks you through adding more complex elements.
It’s that time of year. Trimming the tree, sipping on egg nog, and of course, strumming a few tunes with family and friends. Many of the songs we love to sing and play this time of year of simply arranged. And you can dig right in and play ‘em to your heart’s content. Here are some of our faves that are easy to play at the drop of a hat (a Santa hat that is!).
This week, I go over an all-downstroke 16th note strumming pattern. By adding a measure of 2/4 at the end, I create a little hiccup or stutter. That, in conjunction with adding a fair amount of rests, gives the pattern a punctuated feel. This is a simple way to break up your strumming and explore a simple time signature change without getting overly complicated.