The importance of the rhythm guitar cannot be underestimated. In the ‘groove’ genre, the greatest recordings of James Brown, Sly & the Family Stone, Herbie Hancock, Government Mule, John Scofield, Medeski, Martin and Wood, and Soulive demonstrate that a tight, grooving rhythm section is absolutely essential. Rhythm and Groove Guitar provides guitarists with a strong set of rhythmic and chordal tools that are the foundation of groove-based music, but can be used to further any style of music.
You’ll start by expanding your chord knowledge and constructing original rhythm guitar grooves using Root 5, Root 6, Major7, Minor7, and Dominant 7th chords. By playing along with artist recordings, groove loops, and instructor-generated exercises, you’ll learn how to effectively use tension, muted rhythms, repetition, and chordal licks (hammer-on / pull off) to your advantage. The course then moves on to address more advanced rhythm techniques, including syncopation, triplets, right hand techniques, and diatonic harmony. The rhythmic foundation you build in this course will help further your improvisational abilities in a duet setting, as well as strengthen your solo playing.
By the end of the course, you will learn to:
- Create your own rhythms and grooves
- Play in 4/4, 3/4, 6/8, 12/8, 5/4, and 7/4 time signatures
- Use chords such as altered dominant and dominant chords with tensions in your rhythm playing
- Use picking lines, single-note rhythmic patterns, and double stops
- Progress from simple to complex rhythmic grooves
- Learn rhythmic exercises to strengthen both your right- and left-hand playing
- Use effects such as wah-wah to enhance your rhythm playing
Lesson 1 Getting Started with Groove
Lesson 2 Constructing Grooves with Movable Chord Forms
Lesson 3 Creating Grooves with Dominant 7 Chords
Lesson 4 Muted Rhythms and Scratch Guitar
Lesson 5 Combining Chord Forms and Rhythm
Lesson 6 Sixteenth-Note Rhythms
Lesson 7 String Combinations, Picking Lines, and Double-Stops
Lesson 8 Converging Concepts in Rhythm
Lesson 9 Triplets and Diatonic Harmony
Lesson 10 Bass Lines and Effects
Lesson 11 Right-Hand Snap and Rhythm Duets
Lesson 12 Putting it All Together
Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements
Completion of Guitar Chords 101 and Guitar Scales 101 or equivalent knowledge and experience is required. This course requires that you have one year of playing experience, a working knowledge of guitar playing, and a basic knowledge of guitar chords.
Students are required to record video for assignments. You can use your smartphone, digital camera, or webcam to do this. If you do not already have a preferred video software, you can use the built-in recorder tool within your assignment post. You can play the backing track through your speakers as you record and the microphone will pick up both the guitar (acoustic or through an amp) and the track as you play along.
- Electric or acoustic guitar. Check outReverb for guitar deals*
- Audio interface recommended
- Wah-wah pedal recommended
Bruce Bartlett has been an associate professor and clinician in the Berklee College of Music Guitar Department for 15 years. His band, the Bruce Bartlett Trio, has played nationally and internationally and released three albums.
Bruce began his career as a recording session guitarist at the age of 19, working for producer Arthur Baker in New York City. He played rhythm guitar for several underground recordings for R&B artists in the early 80s. More recently, he recorded a live performance DVD with John Blackwell (drummer for Prince). He also composed most of the material, along with being a featured soloist for Modern Drummer Festival 2000 at Montclair University in New Jersey.
His sideman and leader work includes performances at the Boston Globe Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Quebec Jazz Festival, and Indonesia Jazz Festival. Bruce has opened for Weather Report and Hirman Bullock, and performed with Chick Corea on Chick Corea Day, in Chelsea, MA, in 2001. Recently, Bruce performed with Zigaboo Modeliste (original drummer of Meters) and is in the process of recording his eighth solo record of original music.
Kevin Belz is a versatile and well-rounded musician with years of playing experience, including extensive touring both internationally and nationally. Some of the names he has recorded with and/or played with include New Orleans piano great and legend Henry Butler, Susan Tedeschi from the Derek Trucks Tedeschi band, Blues great Duke Robillard, Ellis Hall of the Tower of Power band, Mighty Sam McClain, and Handy Award nominee Toni Lynn Washington, to name a few. He has shared the stage with Blues legend, BB King, Buddy Guy, and Ray Charles. He has also toured, performed, and recorded with “ The Commander Cody Band” playing a mix of Country, Western Swing, and rockabilly.
Along with his full schedule at Berklee as Assistant professor in the Guitar Department teaching Jazz, Rock and Blues styles, he also has a full schedule of playing live shows and records in and around the New England area. He has been a regular faculty member at Berklee College for the past 18 years.
When taken for credit, Rhythm and Groove Guitar can be applied towards these associated programs:
Associated Certificate Programs
- General Music Studies Professional Certificate
- General Music Studies Advanced Professional Certificate
- Rock Guitar Professional Certificate
- Guitar Advanced Professional Certificate
Associated Degree Major
- Bachelor’s Degree in Guitar