All of our guitar heroes have one thing in common — they know how to lock their rhythm parts into the groove, whatever style they’re playing. And learning how to play solid rhythm guitar, in a variety of styles gets you the gig and keeps you up on the local jam stage all night long. These two free guitar lessons from James Hogan’s Groove Guitar: Rhythm will help you jump start this essential skill.

Quartet Groove – Performance

This example is inspired by Southern gospel quartet music. Since the early 20th century, four piece gospel quartet singing groups have played a prominent role in historically African American churches. In the early days, these groups were typically accompanied by piano, guitar or lap steel, although many churches had bass drums and tambourines to use as well in the early days.

With this instrumentation, there is a heavy emphasis on the quarter note; especially beats 2 and 4. Uptempo “drives” with tambourine or snare “cracks” on beats 2 and 4 are a staple in gospel music. This example, in particular, is a “drive” groove in E. Note: While many modern churches have moved on to full bands with full choirs, there are still many small churches that play quartet music. Also, fast quartet “drives” are still widely popular today, even in the bigger megachurches. It’s definitely an essential groove that will help you learn to “dig” into quarter notes!

If you find yourself struggling with this tempo out of the gate, I recommend slowing it down to really master the accents and muting. Once it’s clean, work it up to tempo and drive home those quarter notes!

Quartet Groove – Breakdown

Nashville Hot – Performance

This is a really fun 90’s style country shuffle in the key of A. This one is inspired primarily by legendary session ace Brent Mason, along with Albert Lee and many others who played guitar on studio sessions in the heyday of 1980’s-90’s hot country records.

We’ll be using a lot of chicken pickin’ here and digging into those shuffle 8th notes. Dig out your trusty Telecaster for this one, though if you don’t have one, you can always just “run what you brung!” (P.S.- now you’ve got a great excuse to go buy a Tele!)

Nashville Hot – Breakdown

Dig these free guitar lessons? Check out the full course for more: Groove Guitar: Rhythm