Simple Rhythms Make Great Patterns
Sometimes, you only need a simple trick to create the right feel, and thatâ€™s the key to the groove in Example 1a. The steady eighth-note pattern is about as simple as they come, but itâ€™s the consistent use of downstrokes that gives this rhythm pattern its character. This steady chugging sound provides more of a constant rhythm than alternating between downstrokes and upstrokes, and you can hear it in countless songs, like the Beatles â€śAcross the Universe,â€ť which has a similar sound to Example 1b.
Play the progression in Example 1c with a heavy hand, and it sounds similar to the overdriven fill section of Coldplayâ€™s â€śYellow.â€ť Lighten up the strums, and it sounds like the verse backup to the same song. But this Iâ€“Vâ€“IVâ€“I progression can sound like a completely different song with just a few more tweaksâ€”add a little palm muting and chunk through just the lower portion of each chord to get a power-chord type accompaniment similar to countless songs (Example 1d). And make sure to play around with any rhythm pattern you come across. Alternating between the power-chord type sound for two strums and the full-chord strums for two strums provides a more varied sound (Example 1e), and playing around with all of these variables gives you many more options.
Excerpted from Acoustic Rock Essentials
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