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A New Year Of Happiness
Rhythm guitar provides a framework or backdrop for lead guitar, or some other lead instrument which will play the melody line. Hence, the rhythm guitar part isn't usually the focal point of the song, when playing with other musicians. Yet, if it's done well, it can really make the song!
Okay, we're going to need lot's of filler. Much of the piece will be repeated sequences which change as the chords change. We will add some bass runs for interest, and other transitions, which will stand out in contrast to the more standard playing.
For right-hand technique, use your thumb to pick the bass notes of the songs. Where you see the first three strings played together on the three high stings (G-string, B-string, and high E-string), you can use your index and middle fingers to strike across from lowest pitched strings to highest pitched strings. This is your down-stroke. When you feel ready, try to follow it immediately with an up-stroke. For the upstroke, we will try to strike only the first two strings (High E-string and B-string). This is called a "Carter lick." The rhythm makes a "boom chick-a" sound, with the "boom" representing your thumb plucking the bass note, the "chick" representing the down-stroke, and the "a" rep[resenting the quick upstroke. Try it all together. This forms the framework of our technique here.
Next, we will try to break up the monotony by adding some bass runs where it sounds right. We don't need to over-do a good thing. If you're new to bass runs, try what I put in the lesson. Otherwise, feel free to try other runs in their place. Be creative! Guitar playing should be a creative process.
Measure 16 demonstrates using the pinch, where you play two strings at the same time, playing the lower note with your right thumb and the higher note with the tip of your index finger. Pluck them together! In measure five, pluck all three notes simultaneously. The thumb plucks the lower note, the index finger plucks the middle note, and the middle finger plucks the high note.
You've not completed this lesson until you've re-written it to your own liking. Try changing small parts at first. You may even choose a different strum,or employ more than one strum in the piece, changing at a logical place. Challenge yourself to learn technical skills new to you, to add to your toolbox of techniques. You could add harmonics to ornament your playing. Hammer-ons and pull-offs can also add variety to your playing. Develop an ear for what sounds good to you, and balance that with the opinions of others.
When you're ready to try playing with other musicians, make sure you're on the same page with them. You're part boils down to broken chords. Are you playing the same chords they're playing (Or, rather, do the notes in their lead part fit the chords you are playing?)? And, of course, are you playing in the same key? Those are somewhat obvious things to look at. More subtle things to be on the look-out for include "Does your rhythm style clash with the styles of the other musicians in your group?" "What sound are you looking for?" "Who needs to try something fresh for the band's sound?" If you jam and/or perform with others, you will want to keep these things in mind. Happy New Year!