Discover The Secret of Playing Attention-Grabbing Blues Rhythm
Have you ever heard some rhythm guitar playing so catchy that it practically forced you to lock your full attention on it, and start listening with everything you’ve got?
If you’d like to develop that sort of ability in your own guitar playing, read on…
Hi, my name is Colin Daniel, and over the last forty-plus years I’ve helped literally thousands of guitar players finally understand their guitars, using a range of rarely-taught concepts that most guitar teachers avoid like the plague…….
Many teachers will simply give you some cool riffs and licks to learn, then let you go and practice for a while… but to be great, you need to go deeper!
Rhythm is the backbone – the foundation – of any good song. Sure, everyone wants to learn how to solo like Stevie Ray Vaughan, but what do you think it was about Stevie’s playing that consistently forced people out of their chairs and onto the dance floor?
The secret was his rhythm playing.
Even without playing a single solo, Stevie had that ability to get your blood boiling simply through his rhythm guitar playing.
Of course, the solo is the cherry on top, but I’ll let you in on a little secret I’ve learned in 40+ years of playing lead guitar: until a person understands the rhythm part of the song, they cannot create a great sounding solo!
Sure, it’s (relatively) easy to unleash a barrage of notes on the listener, or launch into a string of sizzling slick licks, or blaze around the fretboard masterfully connecting every scale pattern known to man… but until you understand the rhythm – which includes the chord progression, the tempo and the feel of the song – you will not be able to make your solo sound melodic, like it truly fits and belongs as an integral part of that song.
It’s easy to rip off a forgettable solo – they’re a dime a dozen. There’s typically no real melody to them, and they might fit in that particular song, or they could just as easily fit into the next song too.
I hear them all the time.
But then there’s the heart-wrenching variety of solo that simply sears itself into your brain – locked into your soul for decades. That kind of solo is far more difficult to attain, but the reason those sound so good is because of… the rhythm! If you really study any of those “iconic” solos as I have, you will discover how inseparably closely they are working with the rhythm section – the chord progression and the feel of the rhythm.
The bottom line?
If you want to craft mediocre solos, then dive right in and start noodling.
But if you want to craft great solos, then do yourself a favor and take things step by step – understand and improve your rhythm skills first, and then move on to soloing. In the short term, you may feel like you should be trying to land bigger fish than rhythm… but if you step back and take a look at the bigger picture, you’ll go farther and faster by studying rhythm first, then soloing.
But I Can Already Play Rhythm...
Why Would I Need To Improve It?
Over the years I’ve met many a guitar player who was quite confident they already had what it took to be a great rhythm player… except that once I put them to the test, in a real band situation, it quickly became apparent they did not.
Now, I haven’t had the opportunity to see you play, and far be it from me to evaluate your playing from afar. Perhaps you already do have great rhythm chops, and then again, perhaps you could afford to brush up on them a bit. You’ll have to evaluate yourself, but here are some key indicators that may serve as a checklist to help you determine if you need to do that. Many of these apply to soloing, as well as to rhythm playing.
Poor Phrasing in Solos: Playing over a whole bunch of changes without any breaks or pauses. Sometimes called “note diarrhea” (excuse the crude analogy!) this can sound like a torrent of notes that may well be out of the correct scale, but they fail to communicate personality and dynamics. It’s like a wall of sound, but without a real melodic message to it.
Difficulties Entering Solos: Coming into the solo at just the right spot is a real challenge. Solos are fantastic, but they have to be in their proper place in relation to the rest of the song – at a point that relates to the music. Not knowing when to enter a solo is a symptom of not truly understanding the chord progression.
Difficulties Exiting Solos: Perhaps you struggle with always ending your solo early, only to have a few beats of dead space before the songs picks up again, or perhaps you find yourself still noodling away while the singer is trying to get going (while giving you the glare of doom)… Just like in the last point, if you’re having trouble exiting a solo in the right spot, this is a symptom of not fullly understanding the chords and the rhythm, and also of not counting during your solo.
Trouble Placing Licks In Between Vocal Lines: Eric Clapton is a prime example of a guitar player who excels at slipping licks in between vocal lines, left, right, and center. Some people try to do this though, and end up walking all over the vocals. This too is a symptom of poor understanding of the rhythm.
Speeding Up And Slowing Down: If the rhythm guitar player is speeding up and slowing down, this can really pull the song apart at the seams, and in extreme cases, cause total meltdown. I’ve seen it happen. It ain’t pretty.
Difficulty Nailing The Tempo: Constantly starting a song faster than it should be, or much slower than it should be, are two more symptoms of an undeveloped rhythm player. Players who struggle with this often speed up fast songs even faster than they should be, which causes the vocals to work overtime trying to squeeze their words in. Slow songs are even more challenging, because there’s all that space in between each strum – which is more room to make a mistake! Rather than accept the space, and get comfortable in it, many players try to unconsciously narrow the gap by speeding up the song.
Every Song Sounds The Same: Stuck in a rut with one or two habitual grooves, it starts to feel like every song comes out the same. I’ve seen this often – a player will force pretty much any kind of song into his groove. It’s just what comes easiest to them, but it indicates a lack of listening skills, and a poorly developed sense of rhythm.
Poor Dynamic Interpretation: Perhaps the song sounds robotic, lifeless, or simply lacks groove factor. Dynamics are the key to making a song come alive – they are what cause the song to rise and fall, ebb and flow, move from mellow to happy. Dynamics indicate movement and change, and a player that struggles with their rhythm will find that most often, they are stuck in static – playing the same way all the way through a song, with difficulty using simple strumming to communicate the heart of the song.
Good Rhythm Rocks!
Many great musicians have made successful careers of playing mostly rhythm guitar, with just a few solos. Jack Johnson springs to mind – everything he plays is incredibly rhythmic. Even if the drums and bass cut out entirely, his rhythm playing can carry the song, and often does.
Even more importantly, the way he plays that guitar practically forces people to start moving! Their foot starts tapping, they start clapping, maybe they even start dancing – but the point is, it is the rhythm paired with a great chord progression that gets people moving. When Jack lays down a mean groove on that guitar, it gets people feeling good about the song even before the vocals start, even before anyone gets the chance to solo.
The average song is 80 to 100 bars long, give or take. Out of all of that, you might get a 12 bar solo. The rest of the song is rhythm work – and that’s where the song shines… or splats. If you get a song with a great rhythm groove happening, and throw a beauty solo on top, then you’ve got a real winner, but without that rhythm, even the best solo is going to fall flat.
I’ve heard guitar players complain, saying that rhythm is too boring, and they’d prefer to just take the solos. Well, I’m here to tell you that good rhythm rocks! If you know how to put together a great rhythm part, it will be a joy to play, every time. Playing rhythm guitar is fun and expressive… but perhaps some of that fun needs to be rediscovered!
Communicating Through Rhythm
Good rhythm can communicate a message – yes, even simple strumming can tell a story!
Speaking of stories, many years ago I met this old Native American man selling his CD’s at a fair. His name was Father Toma, and he had this really cool but unusual music. The lyrics were in his native tongue, which I did not understand. Being a musician, I wanted to figure out what rhythm he was using, but he wouldn’t simply just give me the answer.
Instead, he told me “stop listening with your mind and start listening with your heart.”
So, one by one, I went through his songs and began listening with my heart. After a few false starts, gradually, one by one, I was able to give the right answer as to what he was writing about – and it blew me away!
This was a powerful lesson to me of how rhythm alone can in fact communicate a message that is right in line with the lyrics – even though I didn’t understand a word of what was being sung.
The more you study and understand rhythm, the more the different elements of your music will come together into a powerful message, able to communicate on many different levels.
The greatest rhythms in the world are fractioned off the human heart beat. Learn to put your heart into the rhythm, and you will find yourself on the path to producing great music.
Learn IN DETAILS How To Create
A Great Rhythm Track
This course is unique among all other guitar courses I’ve seen, and here’s why: when I first started the Ultimate Blues series, I created a half dozen jam tracks for teaching purposes. At the time, I added various rhythm tracks with different guitars here and there, with an aim to make each track sound as great as possible.
In the The Ultimate Blues Guitar Course: Stage 3 – Rhythms I reverse-engineered all those jam tracks, bar-by-bar, and we’ve used them as the foundational examples for the course. This means that once you’ve completed the course, you’ll know how to play every single guitar part on these tracks. You’ll know them inside and out, so well that you’ll easily be able to apply all of the principles to other songs or to write your own, if you so desire.
These jam tracks aren’t just “stock progressions” – they’re complete songs, and each one was chosen specifically to illustrate a different aspect of the blues, and each one is inspired by hit songs you’re probably already familiar with.
With the course, you’ll get access to 3 different versions of each jam track which allows you to easily separate out the different guitar parts that are happening in the background. Your ability to “hear” what’s going on in different layers of the music will improve greatly through this process as will your understanding of how to create a rich, full, multi-layered guitar driven blues song.
Later on, in Stage 4, these will be the same tracks we’ll use to craft solos with, and with a very good working knowledge of each track you will be setup perfectly to play some amazing lead parts.
Take Your Rhythm To The Next Level
Why Choose The Blues?
I chose the blues as the focal genre for this course, because nearly all of our modern musical genres trace their roots back to the blues. If you do your homework, and trace the influences back far enough, you’ll find that the blues fathered country, country-blues, modern blues, classic rock ‘n roll, metal and many other genres.
With that in mind, learning how to play the blues is really a great way to learn how to play many different styles down the road. Besides, the scales you learn from this course are universal – although they are very popular in the blues, there is nothing to stop you from using these same concepts in any genre that appeals to you.
Why Is This The ULTIMATE Blues Course?
Simply put, because in my ever-so-humble-opinion, it is.
Seriously, if you’re the type of person who expects to learn everything there is to learn about playing blues guitar in a half-hour McDonald’s Happy-Meal-lesson, then you’re in the WRONG place. That’s not my teaching style, and you’d be better off to go find someone else to teach you blues guitar, because you won’t be happy with this course.
If however, you’re the type of person who wants to really, truly LEARN how to play blues guitar, then this is the place to be. Sure, at times it might feel like we’re moving along a bit slowly, but I can assure you, out of my 40+ year experience in training over 5000 guitar players one-on-one, everything in this course has been purposefully placed there to build a rock-solid musical foundation for you.
By the time you’re through this course, you will not be left with any holes in your knowledge about blues rhythms, the only place to go from there is up and branching out… getting more and more advanced in your playing. You will not find yourself puzzled by the foundational stuff.
Stage 3: Rhythms
This particular course is NOT the complete Ultimate Blues Course. The complete course is four stages, and this particular stage we’re talking about today is all about rhythm. Here are the other stages: Stage 1 (Chords), Stage 2 (Scales), and Stage 4 (Solos).
There are many courses available on how to play blues guitar, but few (if any) take the time to really truly establish an unshakable foundation in your guitar playing that will give you the confidence you need to tackle any challenge. The Ultimate Blues Course does that. The part we’re discussing today is Stage 3: Rhythms.
Chords are the foundation, the starting point, of everything else that happens in the blues. Understanding how to play them, how they’re related to each other, how they join together to form keys and how you can adapt them for the blues lays the foundation for going further, with rhythms and progressions. Scales are also super important, because your scale IS your solo… and taken all together, Chords (I), Scales (II), and Rhythms (III) form the foundation you need to get where most people really want to go – Soloing (IV). If you jump straight to soloing without these key ingredients in place, you will be limited in your ability to play and understand what you’re playing.
Is This Course At My Level?
This is NOT a straight-up beginner course. If you’re just starting to play the guitar, then you’d be much better off starting with my beginner course instead, then come back here when you’ve completed it.
However, with that said, this course is designed for players to jump in at a low-intermediate level. You need to be fairly familiar with your basic open chords, and perhaps know a few bar chords, or at least have attempted bar chords before. Other than that, the most important qualification is to come with patience, and an open mind that is ready to learn.
If you apply yourself, you WILL learn from this course, and your playing will progress greatly.
But I Just Want To Rip Out A Sweet Solo!
Patience, young grasshopper! To be truly great at just about anything in life requires first understanding the basics of what makes it work. Just like the karate kid had to practice “wax on, wax off” a million times, there are things you need to master before you get to the fun stuff too. A friend of mine brews beer as a hobby – he tells me you can’t make a decent batch until you first understand how yeast, malts, water, and hops all work together. Trying to skip past all that will leave you completely in the dark as to what you’re doing, and furthermore, if you ever do get a good batch, it will only be by pure blind luck, and hard to repeat.
The exact same thing is true for the guitar. Sometimes learning guitar feels like climbing a mountain. The path is steep, tiring, and feels like it will never end. But every now and then you get to a nice lookout point, and realize that while you’ve been sweating away, you’ve actually managed to climb a good distance. And then you’re back into the trees again for a while… Along the way, there are some that encourage you, some that discourage you, some that give bad directions that end up wasting your time and effort, and occasionally, someone that gives you quality directions and can even lead you to where you’re trying to go.
That’s my role – to give you all the tools you need to get to the top of your guitar mountain. But, just like a mountain climber with a Sherpa, you’ll have to trust me that I know the way, and even if at times if feels like we should be going quicker or in a different direction, I promise you, there’s a well-thought out reason for each step along the journey.
If you don’t have your rhythm playing down cold (both in theory and practice), your soloing is going nowhere. Many of the best guitar solos are in fact intricately tied to the rhythm of the song, and work directly off the chord progression at all times. Learning about rhythms and chord progressions is a crucial step in your blues journey, and the better you understand the topics in Stages 1, 2, and 3, the better you’ll be able to really succeed with the final stage.
How Do YOU Learn Best?
I’ve taught more than 5000 guitar players one-on-one over the last 40+ years, plus thousands more online, and during that time I’ve come across every kind of learning style imaginable. No student is exactly like another, and I’ve discovered that the best approach is to actually use multipleapproaches. In one-on-one lessons, I always write out notes for my students, in addition to explaining and demonstrating. It is this combination of techniques that really helps people learn quickly and deeply.
I’ve applied that same approach to teaching in a course, as I would to my one-on-one students. In The Ultimate Blues Guitar Course: Stage 3 – Rhythms you’ll get a complete 242 page course book along with 16 hours of video instruction.
This book isn’t simply a collection of tabs to help with the video (like what most other video courses provide), but instead you’ll actually find the theory and concepts we talk about explained and even diagrammed in detail. Sure, I’ve included tabs and diagrams for everything, but there’s so much more than that as well (see thumbnail examples on the right). Plus, there are additional examples in the book of the things we cover in the course, that are not included on the video. If you follow along in the book as you go through the course, you’ll find it really complements and helps confirm the things you’re learning!
By being able to both read and hear what I’m teaching, I guarantee you will be able to learn the guitar much quicker than otherwise.
If you order the DVD version of the course, you’ll get a hardcopy of the book along with the DVDs. If you choose the download option instead, you’ll be able to download the PDF of the book and print it out yourself, or just use it on your computer.
100% Risk-Free Satisfaction Guarantee
If you’re hesitant about purchasing online, that’s okay – I understand. In fact, that’s why I stand behind all my guitar lessons with a 100% Risk-Free “No Weasel Clauses” Satisfaction Guarantee.
My guarantee states that if for any reason you’re not completely satisfied with the guitar lesson, I’ll give you a complete refund within 60 days of purchase, with no hassles.
This completely eliminates the risk on your part – you’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain by trying The Ultimate Blues Guitar Course: Stage 3 – Rhythms!
45+ Years of Guitar Teaching Experience
At Your Service
So who is this Colin Daniel guy? Well, without tooting my own horn, I wanted to assure you that you’re in capable hands. I’ve been a professional musician and teacher for over 45 years… I’ve played hundreds of gigs, led dozens of bands, written and recorded dozens of original songs, and taught over 5000 guitar players in person, many of whom have gone on to become professionals in their own right. Recently I’ve been able to reach even more students via the internet, and I’d love to help you learn guitar too!
Are You Ready For Your Rhythm Playing
To Take A Massive Step Forward?
The Ultimate Blues Stage 3: Rhythms course is 100% focused on giving you all the tools you need to play awesome blues rhythm. Far more than just strumming techniques, you'll discover the joys of shuffle, straight feel, and other common blues styles. You'll master the art of the rhythm riff and gain deep insight into creating multiple guitar parts for the same piece of music. Throughout, we'll be working in-depth with six amazing blues tunes that are sure to keep you rocking!
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Are you ready to become a Riff Ninja like me, and take your blues guitar playing to levels that you never before dreamed possible?
Keep on Rockin’