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Basic Rhythms To Get You Started

In this lesson, we're going to learn to play the basic rhythms: whole notes, half notes, quarter notes and eighth notes. These are essential to progressing to more complex rhythms and will provide you with the ability to count through a bar of music and play on specific beats.

Each example features an eight beat count-in followed by an eight bar exercise. Count 1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4 during the intro and continue to do this as you play each example. Also remember to count evenly and on the beat, otherwise you'll be counting out of time! The kick and the snare drum function as a reference point for each beat after the intro.

Power Chord In the Fifth Position

This A5 power chord will be used to learn each rhythm.

Whole Note


The duration of a whole note is 4 beats. To play this, simply strum on the first beat of each bar counting 1-2-3-4 as you do so.

Whole Note Power Chord

Half Note


The duration of a half note is 2 beats. To play this, strum on beats one and three.

Half Note Power Chord

Quarter Note


The duration of a quarter note is one beat. Simply strum on every beat.

Quarter Note Power Chord

Eighth Note


The duration of an eighth note is half a beat. This is the first step in subdividing the beat and can be quite challenging because you'll have to concentrate on spacing your strumming so that two strums are played evenly over each beat.

Eighth Note Power Chord