The other day, I was listening to Alanis Morissette's unplugged version of the Police's "King of Pain", and as I started playing along with it, I realized that there were a few different musical elements I was using to make the rhythm guitar part sound a bit more lively. So, I'll use some of the basic structure of the tune to help point out some things you can do to make your rhythm playing more interesting.
Let's get familiar with a basic accompaniment pattern and some of the chords we'll be using. The basic rhythm is shown in mms. 1-2 and is a standard 8th note arpeggiating pattern, with the bass note played on 1 and 3 of the measure. You can easily play this pattern either with your fingers or a pick.
The tune is in C# minor for the verse, and E major for the chorus. The chords from these keys that we'll be using are:
The basic pattern is shown for just the C# minor chord in mms. 1-2, and the rest of the example arpeggiates through the chords listed above.