Regardless of whichever style or genre of modern music you love the most, rhythm guitar is a vital component when it comes to finding the “pocket.” When musicians mention the “pocket”, they’re referring to how a player should feel the beat within the meter. When all the players in a group find the pocket, you will feel the groove in its most irresistible form. Without a deep pocket, a song never feels settled or dynamic. It’s the rhythm guitarist’s job to ensure the pocket always feels great. This, in turn, brightens the overall feeling of the music and helps glue it all together.
In his Pocket Rhythm edition of Take 5, Adam Levy teaches you how to lock in the rhythm section and create a good “pocket” so you can be the rhythm guitarist that everybody wants to jam with. Here are 3 free video guitar lessons from the course. For the full course, check out Adam Levy’s Take 5: Pocket Rhythm on TrueFire!
Rhythm Guitar Lesson – Level 3: Overview
This Level 3 study in 12/8 was inspired by the playing of Mabon Lewis “Teenie” Hodges, who worked extensively with singer Al Green in the 1970s. He can also be heard on seminal recordings by Syl Johnson and O.V. Wright.
Rhythm Guitar Lesson – Level 3: Performance
This study is in nearly constant 8ths notes. In order to make this pocket feel right, I’d recommend practicing with a metronome for awhile. Experiment with picking technique — using all down-strokes, combination down- and up-strokes, or whatever helps the part feel steady yet not heavy.
Rhythm Guitar Lesson – Level 3: Breakdown
Perhaps the trickiest parts of this study are the moments when the 12/8 pattern is momentarily broken to play a fill. The fills here are either walk-ups in the bassline or chordal flourishes played with hammer-ons and pull-offs. Take care to keep steady time during the fills.
Digging these free lessons? Check out Adam Levy’s full course, Take 5: Pocket Rhythm.