Call-And-Response Rhythm | Hub Guitar

Call-And-Response Rhythm

Two Voices

In this exercise, we’ll develop on the idea of playing two parts with just one instrument, in the context of how this challenge can help you hone razor-sharp rhythm.

Let’s set a metronome to a laid-back beat of 100 BPM, in 4/4 time. This exercise is four measures long, and can be repeated indefinitely.

For our source of pitches, we’ll use a G minor pentatonic scale. On the “1” of every first measure, we’ll play the root of the scale. Then, we’ll add some sort of freely improvised licks, phrases or chords, returning to playing the root on the first beat of every other measure.

Continue this exercise and be sure that you can always keep track where the “1” is accurately. Practice this with a metronome and make sure you consistently land right on top of “1”. This is a useful skill because it allows you to wander rhythmically, improvising and filling space, but always coming back “home” to the downbeat.

Hear an Example

Listen for the downbeat (the low “G” bass note) every four measures.

Advanced Version

Once you feel comfortable with this exercise, you can modify the metronome to play fewer beats. If the tempo is 120, you can set it to beat 2&4 at 60BM, or only the “1” at 30BPM.

Key Task

Film or record yourself playing this exercise. Are you able to keep the beat, or does your time slip? How long can you keep the beat before slipping? Can you learn to hear yourself slipping, and gently return to the beat?

As the creator of Hub Guitar, Grey has compiled hundreds of guitar lessons, written several books, and filmed hundreds of video lessons. He teaches private lessons in his Boston studio, as well as via video chat through TakeLessons.

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