Loading the player...

Lewis Turner - Back To Basics Part 4: Rhythmic Sub-Divisions

Lesson Notes

** As featured in issue 28 **

Over the last couple of guitar lessons we have been getting deep into the basic rhythm and timing side of guitar playing and we continue on this path in this guitar lesson by looking at how to sub-divide rhythms. If we think of “standard” music, then most of the time it will be in 4/4, also known as common time. 4/4 is a Time Signature and means there are 4 quarter (crochet) note beats in one bar. You can use any rhythm within that bar, but it must add up to 4 beats.

There are many different time signatures in music that we will look at in the future and the same rules apply, but for this lesson we are just concentrating on common time. Cast your mind back to music lessons in school, where you were probably taught, Semibreves, minims, Crochets etc. These still apply but in contemporary music the American terminology tends to be more common place, here is a list of terms and what they mean:

Whole Note or Semibreve = 4 beats, one note per bar

Half Note or Minim = 2 beats, two notes per bar

Quarter Note or Crochet = 1 beat, four notes per bar

Eighth Note or Quaver = 2 notes per beat, eight notes per bar

Eighth Note Triplets = 3 notes per beat, twelve notes per bar

Sixteenth Note or Semi-Quaver = 4 notes per beat, Sixteen notes per bar

There are others but the above are by far the most common. On the video and the tablature you will find the lesson is devoted to the use of, Quarter, Eighth, Triplets and Sixteenth notes, but you should also familiarise yourself with playing Whole and Half notes too. Why is all this important to you as a guitarist? Well there are many different reasons. As we have looked at in the past, rhythm and timing are essential skills to work on and develop as it’s the very root of all music. From a timing point of view you should be able to set a metronome to any tempo and be able to play through all of the above sub-divisions without going out of time, or pausing when going from one to the other, (You will find various exercises for this on the Tab and also demonstrated on the video). Certain styles of music base themselves or predominately use certain rhythms, Sixteenths are common place in Funk for example. Therefore in order to play certain styles convincingly you need to have these common rhythms ingrained into your playing. When reading music you need to know how each of these rhythms sound and feel in order to play a written piece. People have various ways of counting and remembering these rhythms including words such as “Tea” or “Coffee”. It’s vital that you always know where all the solid beats in the bar are, in this case the 1,2,3 and 4. Therefore I would recommend counting them the following way;

Quarter Notes; 1  2  3  4

8th Notes; 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +  (+ = and)

8th Note Triplets; 1 + a 2 + a 3 + a 4 + a

16th Notes; 1 e + a 2 e + a 3 e + a 4 e + a

Keep in mind that most of the time you won't have a situation of one bar all 8ths then the next bar all 16ths etc., many different rhythms can exist in one bar. I can't tell you how many times counting the above way has saved me on a sight reading gig! A good exercise is to take a piece of music and just try to count through and tap out the various rhythms, there are many good books out there that just deal with the rhythm side of playing. Eventually with time and practice you will be able to look at any of the above rhythms and instantly know how they sound, before you play it. Having a good grasp and understanding of Rhythmic Sub-divisions will also make your improvising and general playing far more interesting. If you can play really inside the beat and swap effortlessly between rhythms that's when you can start to add rhythmic interest and excitement to your playing. As with all things I talk about in these columns, your ultimate goal should be to make everything musical not mechanical, once again with time and practice you will naturally swap between these rhythms and many others without thinking about it. However, to get to that stage you need to go through the process of learning them. A couple of good ways to try and make them musical from the get go, is to improvise either over a backing track or to a metronome restricting yourself to just one rhythm. For example only using 8th notes, not running up and down scales but improvising. Then try combining or swapping between rhythms, until you really feel confident that you can throw any of the above rhythms into your playing without thinking about it.

Have a look at the video that takes you through the Tab examples, try them for yourself, then try using and developing them in your own playing. Next time we will look at how to find notes on your fretboard. Good luck!


Up Next

Lewis Turner - Back To Basics Part 1: Developing What You Already Know

Lewis Turner takes you through your pentatonic scale like you've never played it before in ...

Lewis Turner - Back To Basics Part 2 - Timing & Rhythm Essentials

Reconnect with the basics of rhythm and how to play guitar in time in this ...

Lewis Turner - Back To Basics Part 3: The Elasticity Of Time

In this rhythm & time feel guitar lesson, Lewis Turner presents some useful guitar timing ...

Lewis Turner - Back To Basics Part 4: Rhythmic Sub-Divisions

Learn all about playing guitar parts in time using and feeling rhythmic sub divisions in ...

Lewis Turner - Back To Basics Part 5: Finding Notes On The Fretboard

Lewis Turner gives you a comprehensive guide to finding and naming every note on your ...

Lewis Turner - Back To Basics Part 6: Vibrato and Bending

Brush up on your basic vibrato and string bending guitar technique in this guitar fundamentals ...

Lewis Turner - Back To Basics Part 7: Five Positions Of The Minor Pentatonic Scale

Lewis Turner gives you the lowdown on all five of the pentatonic scales and how ...

Lewis Turner - Back To Basics Part 8: Practising And Linking Pentatonic Shapes Together

Learn how to play guitar solos using all your pentatonic scales. Lewis Turner helps you ...

Lewis Turner - Back To Basics Part 9: Linking Pentatonic Licks

Learn how to play more musical guitar solos using your pentatonic scales and link guitar ...

Lewis Turner - Back To Basics Part 10: 5 Shapes Of The Major Pentatonic Scale

You know how to play your 5 minor pentatonic scales around the guitar neck, but ...

Lewis Turner - Back To Basics Part 11: Relative Major and Minor Scales

Get to grips with your basic scale harmony and music theory for guitarists in this ...

Lewis Turner - Back To Basics Part 12: Playing In Different Keys

Learn how to play guitar solos and improvise in any key in this guitar improvisation ...

Lewis Turner - Back To Basics Part 13: Improvising Through Different Keys Using Pentatonics

Lewis Turner teaches you how to play confident guitar solos in all 12 keys using ...

Lewis Turner - Back To Basics Part 14: Developing Technical Ability - Alternate Picking Part 1

Build your alternate picking guitar technique and improve you picking skills with Lewis Turner in ...

Lewis Turner - Back To Basics Part 15: Developing Technical Ability - Alternate Picking Part 2

Join Lewis Turner for this 2nd guitar technique lesson looking at how to improve your ...

Lewis Turner - Back To Basics Part 16: CAGED Chord System

Learn everything you need to know about the CAGED guitar system in this Lewis Turner ...

Lewis Turner - Back To Basics Part 17: CAGED Major Scale

Want a quick way to learn how to play and visualise your major scale shapes ...

You May Like

Nick Jennison - The Ultimate Guide To Melody & Phrasing: Part 2 - Intervals & Subdivisions

In the second instalment of this comprehensive guitar improvisation lesson series, Nick Jennison takes a ...

Nick Jennison - The Ultimate Guide To Melody & Phrasing: Part 1 - Note Choice & Placement

Nick Jennison explores creating melodic interest within your guitar solos using the vehicle of stability ...

Nick Jennison - The Ultimate Guide To Melody & Phrasing: Part 3 - Stylistic & Expressive Elements

For each of the soloing styles contained in this guitar lesson series, certain genre specific ...

Nick Jennison - The Ultimate Guide To Melody & Phrasing: Part 4 - Modern Blues Solo Rationale

In this guitar lesson, Nick gives an insight into his thinking behind each phrase of ...

Nick Jennison - The Ultimate Guide To Melody & Phrasing: Part 4 - Modern Blues Solo Analysis

In this modern blues guitar tutorial, Nick Jennison takes you through how to play his ...

Nick Jennison - The Ultimate Guide To Melody & Phrasing: Part 5 - Modern Prog Rock Solo Rationale

Nick Jennison leads you through a guitar improvisation deep dive, with this guide to his ...

Nick Jennison - The Ultimate Guide To Melody & Phrasing: Part 5 - Modern Prog Rock Solo Analysis

Learn how to play this epic modern prog rock guitar solo, phrase by phrase in ...

Nick Jennison - The Ultimate Guide To Melody & Phrasing: Part 6 - Minor Blues Solo Rationale

Nick Jennison looks at a guitar solo study in a minor blues ballad style, in ...

Nick Jennison - The Ultimate Guide To Melody & Phrasing: Part 6 - Minor Blues Solo Analysis

In this blues guitar lesson, Nick Jennison teaches you how to play his amazing blues ...

Nick Jennison - Creating Drums On Acoustic Guitar

In this percussive acoustic guitar techniques lesson, Nick Jennison shows you how to emulate drums ...

Nick Jennison - An Introduction To Slide Guitar

Get started with slide guitar playing in this beginners guide to slide guitar with Nick ...

Nick Jennison - Extended Range Secrets Part 1

Nick Jennison steps into the world of extended range guitars with this exclusive 7 string ...

Sam Bell - Extended Range Secrets Part 2: Seven String Guitar Approaches

Sam Bell continues our series of 7 string metal guitar lessons, stepping into the world ...

Danny Gill - Pentatonic Sequences That Can Be Used Anytime, Anywhere, And On Any Song Part 1

Play more interesting pentatonic guitar licks and runs with the power of scale sequences. Danny ...

Danny Gill - Pentatonic Sequences That Can Be Used Anytime, Anywhere, And On Any Song Part 2

Uncover some game changing pentatonic sequences and guitar licks with the help of Danny Gill ...

Danny Gill - Pentatonic Sequences That Can Be Used Anytime, Anywhere, And On Any Song Part 3

Rejuvenate your pentatonic guitar soloing with these great guitar exercises, sequences and routines in this ...

Sam Bell Rhythm Guitar Concepts Part 1: Internal Time Keeping

Learn how to play rhythm guitar in time and improve your time keeping in this ...

Sam Bell Rhythm Guitar Concepts Part 2: Feeling 8th Notes

Play rhythm guitar with better timing in this guitar lesson with Sam Bell. Learn how ...

Sam Bell Rhythm Guitar Concepts Part 3: Feeling 16th Notes

This rhythm guitar lesson with Sam Bell focuses on the building blocks of good rhythm ...

Sam Bell Rhythm Guitar Concepts Part 4: Tonal Aspects Of Chord Voicings

Sam Bell teaches you how to play the famous “Motown Skank” style of rhythm guitar ...

1 2 3 19
Top magnifiercross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram