Starting out, aspiring blues guitarists focus so much effort on learning solos and licks and far too often pay little attention to blues rhythm guitar playing. That’s unfortunate because while the solo may be the high point of a song to guitarists, lead work usually only accounts for about 20% of a song. So what’s a guitarist to do for the other 80%?
Blues Rhythm Guitar
Rhythm plays an important part in nearly every different style of music on the planet. But, I think that the very essence of the blues is locked in the rhythm patterns and styles that have been handed down over the generations.
From the acoustic Delta sound to the lively electric Texas scene, the blues is played to make people move. And it’s the rhythm that moves feet.
From a guitarist’s perspective, being able to “play in the pocket” or “lock in” or “hit the groove” is what it’s all about. Remember that most of your time playing the blues will be spent playing rhythm parts, so those parts better be in time and make people move.
One of my favorite rhythm patterns that does just that is something called by Uptown Groove by Berklee Online instructor Mike Williams.
The Uptown Groove
PDF version of the TAB available here.
When you play this piece, or any blues rhythm guitar piece, really focus on locking in with the groove. If you get really good at doing this to the Plain-Jane clicks or beeps of a metronome, you’ll have no problem laying down a sweet rhythm part with a solid drummer and bass player.