The 3 Best Guitar Rhythms to Study

One of the most important areas that a musician needs to develop is their sense of rhythm. Without great feel and solid groove music is weak and meaningless. It is common knowledge that a guitarist cannot play in a group (in a band) if they have bad timing. Master these three studies to build a solid rhythmic foundation...

If a guitarist cannot record against a click-track or a drum loop, if they have a rotten sense of time and if they have a terrible sense of feel they're pretty much done as a musician. Nobody will want to work with them.

In fact, even if you want to be a soloist / a singer-songwriter you’re going to lose your audience if you have a poor sense for time and groove. It's just as bad as not being able to carry a melody.

In this lesson I’m going to give you three rhythms that you need to start with and nail down 100% in order to continue your studies and move onward and learn to develop more complex rhythms.

We’ll study the three best rhythm builders to learn early on. And, once you have these rhythms, moving onward to other more complex rhythm patterns will feel a lot easier.


The first rhythm pattern involves what I will refer to as the; Steady Quarter-Note Pulse. This rhythm feel is very popular and it will show up in; pop music, folk songs, country western pieces, rock tunes, soul numbers and Motown almost every style of music.

The feel and strumming is simple because it’s based on the quarter-note beat. You can play it with all down-strokes. A famous song that applies this is the Beatles piece “In My Life.”

The groove (when performed) looks like this…

The next important rhythm pattern I want to run through is going to simply add an eighth-note into the groove that we just learned how to play. On the beats of; 2 and 4, we’re going to add in the eighth-note feel.

This creates a groove that guitar teachers will often call the “Down – Down /Up” strum pattern.

A song that you can look up and go and practice this groove into is the famous Don Willams piece, “I Believe in You.”

To help you understand how to strum this rhythm feel,the pattern is shown below...

For our final rhythm pattern, we’re going to replace the quarter notes that were used in our last rhythm strumming idea (on those beats of 1 and 3), by adding more eighth-notes to create a steady eighth-note strumming pattern.

This pattern is extremely popular, especially in rock songs, but you’ll also find it applied within a lot of folk and country-western songs as well.

If you want to hear a strum pattern like this, have a listen to Steve Goodmans folk song called, the “City of New Orleans.” Specifically the version that was covered by Willie Nelson - where the strum pattern was altered to reflect this, “Steady Eighth’s” feel.

Below is an example of what this rhythm pattern looks like...

It’s important to understand that Strumming and Chording technique are the foundation of guitar playing. And, because we mostly play rhythm on the guitar, these skills need to be available to us at a very high level.

In fact, learning to perfect chording and strumming is the very first level that we’ll learn when it comes to having good skillful hand coordination. And, these skills are what also helps us to be able to move further along and get better as guitar players.

Once our rhythm and chording ability is well developed, we’ll be able to have both of our hands working together and complement each other. Plus, once the basic rhythms and chords are developed, we’ll be able to go onward from there to learn more complex chords and rhythm strum patterns to help us play in more styles and musical situations.

Hey, thanks for joining me, If you'd like to Find Out What You Should Learn Next on Guitar - take a look at the courses over on my website at

My step-by-step; Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced courses will cover what you need to know, along with how to be able to move forward and become the best player that you can be. I've worked on these courses since 1992 and I feel that all together they're the best guitar program you'll ever find.

The courses will help you learn to identify what's required to get you up to the next level of guitar playing, in a very organized way, that makes sense.

I look forward to helping you further at ...As always, if you enjoyed this lesson, please give it a thumbs up on YouTube and subscribe for more, until next time, take care and we'll catch up again on the next video. Bye for now!



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