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Rhythm Guitar:
16th-Note Funk and Soca Grooves

             


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16TH NOTE FUNK AND SOCA GROOVES:

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Q: I have just started playing in my first band and I feel that my rhythm guitar skills are weak. Can you offer me any suggestions for what I can practice on to help my rhythm guitar get better. I have a pretty good idea of the general rhythms in music, like; eighths, sixteenths and triplets, but I find I have trouble maintaining the groove in a really smooth way through an entire song during a band rehearsal?
~ Anthony

A: Guitarists can quickly improve their rhythm guitar skills by applying sixteenth-note exercises, such as those used in Funk & the Caribbean Soca music.

One thing to keep in mind is that rhythm guitar is the main aspect of playing in a band much more important than licks and soloing. Think of the most famous players in the world; Clapton, Hendrix, Page, Van Halen, Gilmore... not only are they amazing soloists, but they are equally amazing at rhythm guitar.

To rapidly increase your level of skill with rhythm guitar I have noticed that a serious study of sixteenth-note grooves along side of Caribbean music like; reggae, soca and calypso, tend to be the best method.

These styels are so important because not only do you have the chord shots to develop, but you also have a good deal of

 

 


scratch rhythms to attend to as well. These scratch ideas require you to mute out string groups and produce a muffled rake effect which comes across more as a percussive effect.

By training yourself on performing very synchopated sixteenth-note rhythms found in these styles, you can gain a solid control of your left and more importantly your right-hand strumming technique.

By working slowly with a metronome and counting the beat as you perform these studies, you will develop the chops necessary to perform these styles perfectly in time.

A by-product achieved through this practice is the added ability to easily duplicate lines heard on albums, at rehearsals or lines you hear in your head while writing music.

DAILY PRACTICE:
To begin your day, work on performing steady sixteenth-notes in time with a metronome. Select a chord, turn on your metronome at a slower pace and begin playing the chord in perfect time.

Work on developing both scratch technique as well as performing without. Next, move on to performing a series of rhythm guitar exercises. One measure studies tend to work the best.

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