Improve your rhythm playing with this guide to 16th notes, the roots of chug

Metallica's James Hetfield is metal's heavyweight champion of rhythm guitar (Image credit: Stefan M. Prager/Redferns via Getty Images)

In previous columns, we've looked at a bunch of different examples of ways in which musicians will typically accentuate the eighth-note upbeats – those “and” counts between the beats – to produce a variety of interesting and dramatic syncopations in 44 meter. 

As we saw, this can add rhythmic flair to a groove or song and create an energetic feeling of forward motion. I’d now like to introduce you to a deeper level of rhythmic complexity, using what are called 16th notes, which involve dividing a bar of 44 into 16 units.   

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Jimmy Brown

Over the past 30 years, Jimmy Brown has built a reputation as one of the world's finest music educators, through his work as a transcriber and Senior Music Editor for Guitar World magazine and Lessons Editor for its sister publication, Guitar Player. In addition to these roles, Jimmy is also a busy working musician, performing regularly in the greater New York City area. Jimmy earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies and Performance and Music Management from William Paterson University in 1989. He is also an experienced private guitar teacher and an accomplished writer.