Rhythm Section Mindset

Question...Do you, as a guitarist, think of yourself as part of the rhythm section?

Think about it.

Far too often, guitarists more or less ignore the groove created by the rhythm section in their playing.

How can you tell when this is happening?

Easy. Most often they rush. They aren't in the pocket. They fill up ALL the sonic space.

This lack of groove/rhythmic interest in guitarists is a direct result of our collective tendency to put note choice at the top of our musical hierarchy. The result is that rhythm/groove falls by the wayside.

We're so busy thinking about what scale/chord/arpeggio to play that we never think to just relax and play rhythmically.

The harsh reality is that you can play all the right notes but sound terrible if you have bad time. On the flip side, if your playing is rhythmically strong you can get away with all kinds of bad notes.

Here's the quick fix: Set your attention and awareness on the rest of the band.

Easier said than done, especially if you learned to play in a room by yourself.

But it absolutely can be learned with a little patience and practice.

By simply expanding your awareness, you'll inevitably start to play with better time feel. You'll start to gel with the band. You'll add to the groove rather than take away from it.

You can even try this out when you're playing alone. Before you start to play, imagine a rhythm section playing in your head. Once you can hear and feel the groove, play along.

I'll leave you with the words of bass legend Victor Wooten: "Never lose the groove in order to find a note."

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