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How to Play a Basic Rhythm on Guitar

Learn how to play a basic rhythm in this Howcast video for beginner guitar players.


Let's talk about basic rhythm. You're going to hear a lot of terms and maybe you remember some of them from grade school: whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, and then a special one called dotted half notes. Let's start with whole notes. A whole note is whole. We have to remember that because this equals four beats for us. All that means is that I'm going to play the first beat and let it ring: 2, 3, 4. And then I got to do something else, so: 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4. So all I'm doing is playing our chords G, E-minor, C and D, on the first beat and letting it ring for four. So now I can break that in half, and that's called a half note. So half of the whole, so the whole used be four, and half is now two. So all that requires is that I'm going to play every chord for two beats: 1, 2, 1, 2; or you can say 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 1, 2, 1, 2. The next one we can talk about is quarter notes, so a quarter of the whole, the whole was four, a quarter is one. All that means is that I'm going to play on every single beat: 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4. And then last let's talk about dotted half notes. Now, the dot does something special to every note. What the dot does is it takes half of the value of the note, in this case we're talking about a dotted half note. So, half if you remember is two beats so we're taking half of that, which is one and we're going to add it back to the original note value. So a dotted half note equals three beats: two plus half of itself, one equals three beats. And we're just going to play a chord and let it ring for three beats: 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3. And there you go‚ simple rhythm.

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