Guitarist Rhythm Troubles – How to Stay on Beat!

Lots of beginner, and even intermediate guitarists have rhythm problems, I did as well.

Actually, guitarists are notoriously known to have no sense of rhythm whatsoever, thats why drummers were created, to help us stay on beat 🙂

The problem is not really that we don't have a sense of rhythm, but I think it has more to do with the fact that by simply missing 1 beat, so for example plucking just 1 or 2 notes off beat, guitarists tend to get totally off beat from there.

I had a guitar teacher that showed me a couple of rhythm developing exercises back when I was learning as well, some of which I can't really show you through a blog post, but here is what you can do to start out:

  • Create just a simple power chord strumming rhythm using just a few chords, and just play that over and over a lot. I made one for your quickly, you'll find it below.
    • Play this over and over about 50x on each go, and focus on keeping perfect rhythm.
    • It's a good idea to use a metronome as well.
    • Once you can do it, add palm muting to just the 8th notes of the first 3 chords.
    • And once you can do that, make up new rhythmic patterns with new chords and practice those as well, focusing on the rhythm.

      Rhythm Exercise

      Rhythm Exercise

  • Play along to simpler rhythm guitar songs, so the original recordings, and just focus on the rhythm and getting it perfected. By rhythm guitar songs, I mean songs where there is a rhythm guitarist who is just playing a given chord progression over and over throughout the entire song...
    We have several guitar lessons on songs which you can use to learn rhythm guitar and play along with the original song, so have a go at those as well.

These are what helped me, but it took quite a while, and actually, I still get off beat at times during solos even today... The key thing is that when you get off beat for whatever reason, find the rhythm again.

I know this is easier said than done, but believe me, staying on beat gets easier and easier after doing lots of focused rhythm developing exercises.

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