This weeks lesson teaches you a few ways to play rhythm guitar over a simple pop progression. In this video I take five different approaches to playing over the progression. This lesson will help you learn how to use simple triads and intervals to create rhythm parts that fit in the pop style of the track. I take these basic fundamentals and add techniques like Curtis Mayfield/Jimi Hendrix style slurs, arpeggios, and slides to add interest to the guitar part. The progression is a I-iii-IV-bVII in the key of G (G-Bm-C-F) and each lick lasts for four bars.

The first lick is one of the simplest way to approaching playing rhythm guitar over the progression. It mainly sticks to using close triad shapes with a low bass note that is fretted with the thumb. By removing the doubled notes (on the A and high e string) found in the common barre chord shape, you can get a clearer sound that leaves room for the rest of the band in the mix. The last voicing is one of my favorite for using over F chords. Replacing the third of the chord (A) with a second (open G) turns the chord into a Fsus2. It sounds really open and I can never pass up a good chance to use open strings!

The second lick is done in the style of Curtis Mayfield and Jimi Hendrix’s rhythm playing. They both used a lot of different embellishments around simple triad voicings to spice up their guitar parts. You can pick up a lot of ideas just by listening to them as most of it is very simple. It is characterized by a lot of hammer-ons/pull-offs and slides to and from chord tones.

The third lick takes an eighth note arpeggio through the progression. While you could play the same idea moving around between close position triads, I prefer to focus on voice leading the chord tones through the progression. This is also another example of using open strings as a way to spice things up. The open G on the third works as a chord tone or extension for each of the chords in the progression.

The fourth lick uses 6ths to take a melodic idea through the progression. Using intervals is a good way to create a rhythm part that does not take much space in the bands mix. Focus on landing on chord tones to keep the sound of the progression firmly in the listener’s ear.

The fifth and final lick is another interval based idea. This is a lighter, pop version of what a power chord guitar part is to rock music. The top note creates a melody that follows the chord progression and helps to create a very simple counter line to the other instruments.

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