Guitar Licks Mastery: Rhythm Accents Control

Author: Tommaso Zillio

Author: Tommaso Zillio

Despite the fact that you learn “one lick a day” your soloing relies always on the same few licks and it’s really difficult for you to implement the new things? This is a common problem, let me show you one possible solution to that.

When you learn to play an instrument such as the guitar, there are some areas of musicianship that appear obvious that you have to practice: technique, speed (if you’re into that), scale/chord knowledge, etc. At the same time there are some areas of musicianship that DO NOT seem obvious. These are the areas that most people take fro granted as they should be “natural”. For the present article I need mention only one: rhythm.

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Everyone is convinced they have good rhythm. Everyone is convinced that rhythm is natural, and it’s a matter of “feel”. And that’s why nobody practices it (or at least, practices it enough). Fact is, not mastering your rhythm – meaning, being able to control in detail the timing of the notes you play – is reason number 1 why most people have problems implementing “exercises” into actual real-life musical situations. They simply try to play the exercise as they learned it and more often than not the exercise will NOT fit the rhythm – groove, feel, call it however you want – of the song they are soloing on.

What can be done about it? Well, the very first thing is to learn how to manipulate rhythm by displacing the accents in a phrase (whoa, that was a mouthful). This allows you to do two important things:

  • It makes “old” like sound “new” because now their rhythm is different, and
  • It helps you “fitting” the exercises you know into songs that may have a different rhythm.

Now, I could explain how to do that forever, but I think that the best way to learn it is by a direct and simple example, so you can HEAR what I am doing. If you play the video below I will show you a very simple example and some suggestions on how to apply this to everything you do. It’s so simple and you will use it so often that you will wonder how could you live without it. :-)

After watching the video, it is your turn to take your licks and change their rhythm as shown in the video. this system will work beautifully also (and especially) with the licks that you think you play “too much”. If there is a lick that you don’t want to play because you have played it too many times, this procedure will make it fresh and new.

You don’t need to know thousands of licks: you need to know just a few of them and then master all their variations: this way you will sound with a coherent style and it will be much easier for you to improvise and write your solos.


About the Author

Tommaso Zillio is a professional guitarist and guitar teacher. Visit Tommaso’s site to know more about music theory for guitar

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