You have heard it said that timing is everything. Well in this lesson that holds true. On guitar, especially if you want to play rhythm, good timing is essential. But before we get into the groove lets talk about what timing is.
Timing is playing in a sort of synchronicity with the other rhythms and melody occurring at the same time. One tool used to aid in this task is the time signature. Time signatures are a notation device used to mark beats per measure, which appears as a fraction.
The top note marks the beats per measure and the bottom notates which note gets the beat, weather it be a quarter note (4), half note (2), eight note (8), or sixteenth note (16).
Each of these notes have a certain values that is dictated by the time signature these notes look like this. In order: Whole, Half, Quarter, Eight, and Sixteenth.
We will talk more about this in a later lesson but for now lets apply this to guitar. Lets start with our hands. If you were to clap out 4/4 time signature you would clap four evenly spaced beats with an emphasis on the one; one, two, three, four. Then a new measure would begin and you would repeat this process. Let’s try these different time signatures with our hands.
4/4 3/4 5/4 6/8
When playing in 4/4 time you will not necessarily strum only four times but you must stay within the confines of the measure returning to the emphasized one at the beginning of the next measure. Let’s try a few simple strum patterns with our guitar. Placing our hand above the sound hole we will use down strokes to play these patterns.
4/4 3/4 5/4 6/8
You will find that certain strum patterns come more naturally and it may be easier for you to play in 4/4 it is to play in 5/4. 4/4 is the most common time signature in popular music. Let’s go ahead and try a few more difficult strum patterns using up and down strokes. Don’t forget if you are using a pick you will want to lean the top of the pick (the side in your hand) down on the down strokes and reverse the angle for the up strokes. This will give you a clean smooth strum.
4/4 3/4 6/8 4/4
Not try some of your own patterns. If you have a good metronome set it to a slow tempo and trying playing your own patterns along with it.