Stop Time - Advanced Rhythm Exercise | Hub Guitar

Stop Time - Advanced Rhythm Exercise

What is Stop Time?

Stop is a musical device where the rhythm sectionThe part of the band that plays the accompaniment to the singer or soloist. Standard rhythm section is drums, bass, keys and guitar. stops the normal flow of time, usually while a soloist or vocalist improvises over the open space. The whole band hits the chords all together, all at once, so the progression continues, but now with gaps that bring out the soloist.

Stop time can also be played by the guitar player, who can play chords on the “1” of every measure, and then improvise within the available space. This requires firm rhythm so that the chords are played in the right space; it also requires careful attention to the improvised portion, to avoid running off on a tangent and missing the arrival of the next chord.

The blues form is a great choice for practicing this technique:


Each chord is played only once, on the first beat of the bar in which it appears. Listen to the backing track for this level to hear an example.

Key Exercises

Exercise 1. Chords only.
Play the blues chords in stop time.

Exercise 2. Chords plus improvised lines.
Play the chords in stop time, filling the gaps between the chords with pentatonic licks.

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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