Rhythm Guitar Ideas for Jamming.
You don’t want to go into a jam with a friend, and then just strum chords. That gets pretty boring pretty quickly.
The whole idea of jamming is that you will feed off of each other with cool inspiring, improvised parts that will bring out the best in the other person you’re jamming with.
Here are some other ways you can approach rhythm guitar.
- Bass lines/grooves.
You could play bass grooves. This is always fun to jam over.
You want to make your bass lines simple, interesting, and above all: repetitive.
Resist the temptation to make your bass line too busy or to vary it up. Repeat the line the same way over and over again without alterations, to create a strong groove.
Scroll down to see a video showcasing all the ideas of this blog.
- Bass Slapping on guitar
Very few guitar players use this fun technique.
Guthrie Govan is one of the guitarists who use slapping parts in some of his songs.
This technique works great in a duo performance or jam with another guitar player.
However: even if there is a bass player attending the jam, you can still bass slap on the guitar
You could then create cool rhythmic and contrapuntal grooves slapping along with the bassist in the jam band.
For added creativity, you could try this through an octaver lowering your signal down an octave.
You should also try this using an envelope filter. Tons of fun. 🙂
- Using rhythmic ideas from other cultures you don’t usually explore in jams. (Ethnic rhythms)
It might be refreshing, especially if it’s a style of music you don’t play often, to bring in some Bossa rhythm guitar in a jam, or African rhythms. This will surely inspire your jam buddies to come up with cool ideas in their playing.
- Play mutes to add a percussive element to your rhythm playing.
That’s what funk guitar is all about: 16th note rhythms, chords, and mutes.
But you could add mutes without necessarily having to play the busy 16th note rhythms that are part of funk music.
The percussive element you add to your rhythm playing, will accentuate the groove and inspire your jam buddies more than if you’d just strum chords.
- Come up with cool sounding chord progressions.
There is nothing wrong with I IV V, but it might be more inspiring to your jam buddies if you stretched out a bit harmonically.
Also: try to avoid only playing triads only. The more colorful nature of 7th chords, or even better, chords with tensions, will surely sound much more inspiring for the musicians you’re jamming with.
Besides I IV V in C major, you could for example explore modes and play:
Dm | G7 | Am | Fmaj7 (D Dorian)
Em F G Em (E Phrygian)
or play funking 1-chord grooves over a dominant chord.
G7 | G7 | G7 | G7 || (G mixolydian)
- Using rich harmonic textures.
Like for example adding open strings to chords to create cool, lush, voicings.
Or adding tensions and open strings.
- Volume swells with lush voicings.
This sounds especially great, coming out of a rhythmically busy, funky jam part…
suddenly switching to big, lush voicings with volume swells, sounds like ear candy.
When I say “lush voicings”, I typically mean cool-sounding chords with open strings, or with tensions, or combinations.
- Combining bass notes, chord strums and percussive mutes.
When you do this, you evolved from guitar player to “orchestrator” on guitar.
You’re combining guitar strums, with percussive mutes with bass notes, and turn your guitar into a full band.
Like in this following example:
I give tons more examples of all the above, and many other rhythm guitar techniques for jamming in my private lessons.
All the above will greatly improve your power in jam sessions. 🙂
Jamming with people is tons of fun: but it gets all the more fun the more you master techniques like the ones discussed above.
It’s not only fun, but it’s also really darn good for your musicianship.
The people you play with, play much better, and play much cooler sounding things, the better you play.
Hit me up anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, or if you would like to book a lesson.
These free lessons are cool, but you will never experience the progress, joy, and results that my students experience in lessons when you’re learning by yourself from blogs and videos.
That is why people take lessons: way better results and progress, much more complete information, exposed to way more creative ideas than you can get from a blog or YouTube video.
There is only so much that self-study can accomplish.
If you want to see amazing results and progress in your guitar playing, buy your first lesson here and get started ASAP.
You’ll impress your friends and loved ones in no time with your guitar playing!
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