This is the thirteenth lesson in the Playbook for the Beginner and Beyond series and deals with the basics of playing rhythm and strumming. For a listing of all the lessons in this series, click the link above or search for the lessons under my name.
View all of Steve's lessons by going to Steve Cass: Lesson and Music Guide.
We're going to talk about some basic moves, and then I'm going to refer you to another lesson here at WN that perfectly explains everything you wanted to know about timing and note duration but were afraid to ask.
This looks like a long lesson, but it's really not, there's just plenty of examples. Here's the layout of the lesson:
Pgs. 1-3 information
Pgs. 4-9 examples
Pgs. 10-12 pick control, homework and conclusions
Alright, Let's Get Down to It
Here's the very basics about rhythm and strumming. In western music, the most basic of metered units is called a measure. And the most basic of measures contain four beats of equal value. So, each of these main beats is given a value and a name of a 'quarter note', literally meaning that it is one fourth of an entire measure. If you can count, '1, 2, 3, 4', then you've just counted through your first measure by using quarter notes.
If you play twice as many notes as are currently there, then you'd be playing eighth notes. Makes sense, huh? So, if you can count '1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and', then you've just counted through your first measure by using eighth notes. The same doubling would give you 16ths: '1 e and a 2 e and a 3 e and a 4 e and a'.
This is about all you need to know to play a song in 4/4 time. But like I said, I'll refer you to another lesson at the end of this one so you can quench your thirst for more knowledge on the subject.