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.
The pentatonic scale most definitely has a place in the lead arsenal of any guitar player, but does it have a role in rhythm work? Clearly, as heard from players like Jimi Hendrix, Billy Gibbons, John Frusciante, and Tom Morello, among others, it does. In fact, regardless of your style, there’s a wealth of single-note riffs, double-stop moves, and chordal embellishments lurking within the scale. Squeeze these sounds between the cracks of basic chord shapes and you’re instantly a more interesting rhythm player.