ACOUSTIC GUITAR 006: Chord Strumming with Grid Systems

Acoustic Guitar 006:
Chord Strumming with Grid Systems...

Strum patterns and rhythmic duration are two of the most important areas for a guitarist to master. The majority of  playing focuses on rhythm guitar. Once our ability to perform concise application of; strum direction, isolated strum attacks, and rhythm feel is under control, our guitar playing will be at a new level of perfection.

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The grid system (described throughout this lesson) will use two grid concepts to help perfect rhythm guitar skill. The first is the rhythm duration grid. Here we learn about each beat and its relationship to the sixteenth-note. This system determines specifically where 90% of our strumming will take place along the rhythm grid and where attacks need to be grouped and understood as rhythm patterns.

The second concept of the grid system includes string set isolation. As an acoustic player, each chord attack we make to the guitar strings will generally need to be highly targeted in order to successfully produce the sound of the harmony we're after. The strum attack associated to our chord voicings will pull out the chord tones related to the piece we're performing. And, when done correctly, the harmonies will come together with the perfect tonal response from the guitar.

In example one, we'll start by getting organized with an introduction to straight-time strumming. This practice will help players focus their attention upon the feel of the beat in time and associate their strum direction to each stress and accent of the beat.

Example 1a, applies an easy to perform mix of the eighth and quarter note pulse. Example 1b, adds sixteenth notes. And, example 1c incorporates more complex use of the sixteenth-note duration.

Example two begins the important technical concept of string set association through isolated strumming. Example 2a, places emphasis upon strumming into specific strings of the string-set grid system. A pattern of mid-range to lower, then higher string sets are applied to help players target their strum hand attacks. Example 2b, continues on with further development, however the rhythm feel becomes more syncopated.

PART TWOThe second part of the lesson plan moves on to more complex application of both the string-grid strumming technique as well as, the mix of varied rhythm duration. The ideas applied in example 3 combine several elements to create more challenging exercises.

Example 3a, explores the use of low to high string set register with an example that divides the strum attacks between the two string grid registers. A Country-Rock groove is used to demonstrate this idea across two progressions that apply different string-set registers. All of the chord qualities used are the same within each study. However, example 3b reverses the string set grid voicings by flipping the voices to a group of chords that move from higher to lower.

In example four, a comprehensive blend of several techniques are mixed together to create strum patterns that use a combination of both strumming and finger-picking. The riff takes a key of "C Minor" rhythm and mixes both upper and mid-register strumming with arpeggio plucking to achieve a fantastic sound. Isolated strumming parts are combined with both licks and arpeggio plucking to form an acoustic part similar to the styles heard by guitarists like, "Tommy Emmanuel," or "Lindsey Buckingham.

Related Videos:

Chord Strumming with Grid Systems... 

ACOUSTIC GUITAR 005: Rhythm Comping Technique

ACOUSTIC GUITAR 004: Travis Picking Accompaniment Style

ACOUSTIC GUITAR 003: Using Chords as Templates



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