Category Archives: Rhythm Mastery

Jimi Hendrix playing octave chords

How To Use Octave Chords To Improve Your Guitar Playing

If you learn how to use octave chords to improve your guitar playing, it will also help you to understand music better 100%.  Guaranteed! That is because octave chords have many applications that can benefit your guitar playing.  No matter if you play rhythm guitar or lead guitar.  I recommend you add octave chords to your musical vocabulary.

What are octave chords?

Octave chords are a two-note chord. this chord is made up of two notes that are the same, just an octave apart.  So for instance, if you were playing a C octave chord, the notes would both be C.  This goes for any octave chord you choose to play.  The two notes will always be the same.

These type of chords can do two things right off the bat:

*They can add another easy chord shape to your chord vocabulary

*They can improve your memory of note location along the fretboard

The second thing can be a huge benefit to your paying as it will allow you to find notes faster.   It will also increase your understanding of how to create extended chords because you’ll know exactly where the added notes are located.  This will be done quickly and easily due to knowing octaves.

Reading octave chords

Let’s look at a few octave chords in print.

Octave Chords written in tab

Here you can clearly see we have two notes on two different strings.  If you study closely you can also see that the number value is two higher than the original note.  What I mean by this is that when you have a 3, the octave is going to be a 5.  If you have a 7, the octave number is going to 9.  If you have a 6, the octave number is going to be?

You can also see that the octave note is two strings apart.  So if you are on the 3rd fret of the sixth string, the octave note will be two frets up (5) and two strings down.   On the fourth string.  Your biggest string (the sixth string) will always be on the bottom of the sheet music.

The reason for this is because the lowest note will always be on the bottom.  So in retrospect, you need to look at the sheet music like your strings are upside down.  I know, it’s confusing but I didn’t design it.  I only teach it.  Anyway, try learning it from a lefty perspective like me.  But not to worry, if I can figure it out, so can you.

Watch the video lesson below

Music education

One of the things that you should always be thriving for when learning how to play guitar, is increasing your music education.  The more you know about the notes that make up the musical alphabet, and what to do with them to create what you choose, the better understanding you’ll have of the tools you are working with.

Not knowing where the notes are located on the guitar is a very common problem among guitar players because most of them play by ear or never bother to take time to learn where the notes are on the fretboard.  You want to be better than them.  By studying octaves and creating octave chords, you’ll be able to not only understand the fretboard better, but you’ll be able to find notes licitly split!  You’ll amaze people with this newfound skill.

Chord embellishment theory

By learning the octaves and knowing exactly where they are on all six strings, you’ll be able to develop the skill of understanding, chord embellishment theory.  This is the science of building guitar chords.  Understand this enough and you’ll be able to build any type of guitar chord you choose.  Major, minor diminished, augments, etc, etc, etc.

Information like this can be very beneficial in music composition and songwriting.  If you like to write your own songs, this is a great skill to have.  Knowing how to create different types of emotion is what music is all about.  N matter what instrument or what style you choose to play.  Emotion is everything!  Master the notes, and you’ll be able to create emotion at will!

Rhythm guitar mastery

When it comes to playing guitar, rhythm is most important.  The ability to create chords, chord progressions, strumming patterns, arpeggiated picking and all within the proper timing is the foundation of playing guitar.  Sure it’s fun to play guitar solos, but even so, you still need a solid understanding of rhythm.

That is why I wrote and published my guitar book Rhythm Guitar Alchemy.  This book is a step-by-step method of study that is fun and easy to learn.  With secret elements, formulas, and properties that cater to the scientific development of rhythm guitar playing in both theory and practice.

Rhythm Guitar Alchemy with octave chords

From learning notes, forming chords, and establishing rhythms with proper timing.  Rhythm Guitar Alchemy will provide you with a progressive training guide that will help you to develop an intimate understanding of playing rhythm guitar.

It will introduce you to the rhythm playing concepts and techniques that will propel you forward into the magical world of musical abilities that only so few guitar players ever possess.

You will learn such things as:

*Reading notation and chord diagrams

*Guitar chords of all kinds (major, minor, augmented, etc)

*Common rhythm techniques (strumming, picking fingerstyle)

*How to easily play barre chords (a very difficult chord type)

*Chord embellishment theory (adding notes to chords)

*Rhythm timing formulas (learn to play in time)

*Practice habits (for getting quicker results)

And much, much more.

No prior music knowledge needed

This helpful handbook has been designed to give you a clear and concise method of study that will propel you forward at an alarming rate.  With everything laid out easy and simple, no prior music knowledge will be needed.  Because of this, you will be able to develop confidence

Since music theory is a vital part of learning to be a highly productive alchemist, the basics of it will be presented for your development and the best understanding of the craft.  This will allow you to develop a solid foundation of these concepts and principles.

As a rhythm guitar alchemist, you will be learning the sacred properties and formulas that are needed to create rhythm guitar magic!  Notes, diagrams, timing sequences, progressions, theory and much much more.  All things that will make your rhythm guitar playing appealing to the ear of your listener

Unlocking the mysteries

The search for unlocking the mysteries of your guitar fretboard is what guitar playing is all about.  That is why you can play the instrument for years because there are many many mysteries to uncover.  Rhythm Guitar Alchemy helps you to do that.

But it takes time, consistent effort, dedication and commitment on the part of the player (you) to unlock these mysteries.  With the help of the proper training, you’ll know where to look and how to understand the techniques need to create great music as a rhythm guitar alchemist.

Lesson conclusion

As you can see from this lesson, there are many benefits you can get from learning your octave chords.  Just follow the examples in the tab I wrote out and find them.  The concept also works on the fifth string.  One note will be on the fifth string and the other note will be on the third-string two frets up.

These and other concepts like them will help you to further your understanding of the language of music.  Remember, music is a language and like all other languages, the better you know it, (reading, writing, etc) the better you’ll be able to get your ideas across.

If you need additional help, be sure to check out my book.  It can be found on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions as well as in my eBay store where if purchased here, I will send you an author-signed copy to you personally.

And if you haven’t already,  grab my FREE action-guide “Rhythm Guitar Secrets” to give you a head-start in the right direction.  Need more help?  feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience.

Best of luck and until next time, take care.


How To Recognize & Understand Chord Embellishments like C/B



Playing Electric Guitar

5 Top Tips To Great Rhythm Guitar Playing

When playing guitar, you want to make sure that you learn the 5 top tips to great rhythm guitar playing.  This will allow you to set up a solid foundation for your guitar playing that will benefit you for years to come.

Tip #1  Learn your common open chords.

open position guitar chords

C A G E D & F major.  Along with a few minor chords like E minor, A minor & D minor.  These chords are important to know as they are commonly found in many songs.  Like they say “learn a few chords and you can play hundreds of songs” which is true because a lot of very popular songs on the guitar are made up of only a few chords.  Sometimes only 3 or 4 to be exact.

Tip #2  Know how to move them up the fretboard.

forming barre chords

Knowing how to move the open position guitar chords up the fretboard gives you more diversity and ability for rhythm creation.  This is done by learning to create barre chords, or by using a capo.  These two things take the place of the guitar nut.  Which is what holds the guitar strings in place.

By using your index finger to represent the nut you can take the open chords and move them along the fretboard.  This allows you to create different shades of color in your rhythm playing as well as be able to create chord embellishments.

Tip #3  Learn proper strumming and picking patterns.

Strumming and picking the chords is very important as well because it is this technique that actually creates the rhythm.  Your fretboard hand is designed to form, hold and move the chords once you learn them and the picking hand is designed to create the rhythm of the chords by either strumming them or picking them individually.

These two techniques (or a hybrid of both) are what really bring the chords to life and give the elements of the music, a listening quality to them.  This is what makes the listener want to tap their toe, get up and dance or just sit back and listen.

Tip #4  Learn chord embellishment theory.

common chord embellishments

Chord embellishment theory is what allows you to build upon the basic chord shapes mentioned in the first tip.  It is what allows you to make a major chord into a minor, diminished or augmented.  It is what allows you to create 6th chords, minor 7th chords, #5b9 chords and so forth and so forth.

By knowing your notes on all six strings along the entire fretboard you can form any chord you wish in nay type of inversion.  This is the science of music.  Especially for a rhythm guitar player.  The more you understand chords and how they are constructed, the better you’ll be.

Tip #5  Play in time.

I can’t tell you how many musicians over the years I’ve met who know the chords but can’t play in time and don’t have a good rhythm.  It is quite sad really.  This is a skill set that must be worked on.  You must work daily on developing good timing.

Good timing is everything!  Especially if you plan on playing with anyone in the future.  There are three ways to do this.

  1. Use a metronome

  2. Use a drum machine

  3. Play along to the song

Any of these three techniques will allow you to develop this important skill.  This is a must!  Because without it, all the other skills of knowing the chords and being able to play them all over the fretboard to create music will be useless unless you can play in time.

Rhythm Guitar Secrets

Since these skill sets are so important to play great rhythm, I have created a free training guide that helps in this are called Rhythm Guitar Secrets.  It goes into more detail exactly what has been taught here today.  So if rhythm guitar playing is something you are working on mastering, I recommend you grab my training guide.

Lesson conclusion.

To be a great rhythm guitar player takes time, patience, and effort on a daily basis.  It requires you to study the concepts, techniques, and principles related to rhythm guitar playing.  It requires you to experiment with these concepts and formulas very much like a scientist.

Develop a well in-depth understanding of chords, timing, rhythm sequences and how to put these elements together. This will teach you what great rhythm guitar playing is all about.  By keeping it simple, you will understand the fundamental principles of rhythm guitar playing.

Deeper dive.

That is why I wrote the book “Rhythm Guitar Alchemy

Rhythm Guitar Alchemy

An easy step-by-step method of study that is fun & easy to learn.  With secret elements, formulas, and properties that cater to the scientific development of rhythm guitar playing in theory and practice.

A comprehensive course on the inner workings of rhythm guitar playing.  From learning notes, forming chords, establishing timing and creating rhythm.  Rhythm Guitar Alchemy will provide you with a progressive training guide that will help you to develop an intimate understanding of playing rhythm guitar.

You can find this book, along with all others I have authored, on Amazon in print and Kindle format.  As well as in my eBay store Dwayne’s Guitar World where if purchased here you will receive a personally signed author copy.

And as always, if you have any questions about what I teach or are interested in taking private guitar lessons, feel free to reach out to me through my website Dwayne’s Guitar Lessons. 

Best of luck with your learning.

Sincerely, Dwayne


Chuck Berry playing guitar

Chord Progressions That Work With The Minor Pentatonic Scale

When playing lead guitar in rock music, you must understand rhythm guitar and chord progressions that work well with the minor pentatonic scale.  This way you’ll know how to solo over them. This lesson is taught in the book Lead Guitar Wizardry volume 1. Where minor-key progressions are being given for this specific purpose. Learn about these progressions and how you can use the minor pentatonic scale to solo over them and stay in key. Learn to stay in key and you will sound good every time you play.

Minor key progressions.

Most songs in rock guitar are written in a minor key progression. A minor, E minor, G minor, etc. It is this minor key that gives rock it’s traditional sound and mood. And since rock is mainly derived from the blues it is commonly written in these minor key rhythm guitar progressions. So it is very important to know these as they are a great place to develop your lead guitar playing.

Here are a few examples:

Example #1 in A minor

Am//// G//// F//// E7////

The forward slashes represent the beat for each chord. Since there are four beats per chord, there are four slashes to indicate these beats. Record this progression on your phone and listen back to it to hear how it sounds and where the chords change.

To solo over this chord progression, you can play pattern 1 of the minor pentatonic scales at the 5th fret and it will sound great! Try it. Listen to how the notes sound as you play over this rhythm guitar progression. You can also play it at the 17th fret because the notes are the same.

Example #2 in G minor

Gm//// Cm//// Dm//// Cm////

In this key, you could do the very same thing except instead of play at the 5th fret (where the A note is located) you would play at the 3rd fret where the G note is located. This is necessary to know because without being in the right position, the notes won’t line up and the tone will sound off.

You must be aware of this because without this knowledge you will fail to increase your lead guitar playing and your guitar solos will not sound good. You must be able to find the right location to play in. Take some time to fully understand this and before you know it, you will be sounding good no matter where you play on the guitar fretboard.

Example #3 in B minor.

Bm//// Em//// F#m//// Bm////

In this minor key, you would play pentatonic pattern 1 at the 7th fret on the sixth string. Because that is where the B note is located. And since the pentatonic scale is a minor scale we would be playing in the key of B minor. That will work great over this minor rhythm guitar progression.

You can also play at the 19th fret because these are the same notes. Just located in the second octave on the guitar. If you play the minor pentatonic scale at the 19th fret you will see that the notes are the same. This is very helpful to know as this will give you some tone variety to your playing.

Example #4 E minor.

Em//// Am//// Bm//// Em////

The key of E minor is probably the most common key to play in. It is worth investing time to know where this key is located. You can play this in an open position (around the first few frets) or you can play it at the 12th fret where the E is located at the end of the scale.

If you play the E minor pentatonic scale in the open position, it will be off of the open E note on the sixth string. If you play it starting in the second octave it will be played at the 12th fret and will give you a nice variety of fretboard positioning for the other 5 pentatonic scale patterns.

Example #5 C minor.

Cm//// Gm//// Am//// Dm////

This rhythm guitar progression will allow you to play a guitar solo at the 8th fret because that’s where the C note is located on the sixth string. So being that we know that, we can play our scale pattern here and it will sound good over this rhythm guitar progression in C minor.

As with the other keys we’ve learned, we can also play this scale at the 20th fret but due to fretboard fret length, you might run out of notes. If you have a full two octaves (24 frets) you’ll be ok, but if you have a 22 fret or 21 frets (as in a Fender Strat) you will not have enough space in this position to play the first scale pattern. But you’ll be fine at the 8th fret.

Example #6 D minor.

Dm//// Gm//// Am//// Dm////

D minor is a nice common key to play in as well. This key will be located at the 10th fret on the 6th string. If you play the scale pattern over this rhythm guitar progression you will hear that the notes line up and your solo will sound fine because you are playing “in key” as it is called in the world of music.

Since you run out of frets higher up the fretboard, It’s best to just play pentatonic scale pattern #1 at the 10th fret. But If you’ve learned the other pentatonic patterns and know-how they hook together, you can use them to play on the fretboard in different positions.

Lesson conclusion.

Al that has been presented is very common rhythm guitar progressions to play guitar solos over. You can hear these in multitudes of songs throughout the decades since the start of rock & roll back in the ’50s when people like Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard & Jerry Lee Lewis were making people go crazy with this sound.

So take some time to learn these progressions, record them on your phone or other device and listen to how they sound. Then try to play pentatonic scale pattern #1 over the top of them in the locations that I have taught you.

After a while, you will be able to recognize them in a song when you hear them. You will also discover that most of the guitar solos are played on this famous scale. It is the most common and highly recommended you practice it.  Get to know it and the other four like the back of your hand.

Lead Guitar Wizardry

If you need more help understanding lead guitar playing I recommend you get my book Lead Guitar Wizardry volume 1 which can be found on Amazon or in my eBay store which I will be happy to sign for you.  If you have any questions, contact me and follow me on social media.

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Best of luck and until the next lesson, take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne

Tony Iommi

How To Play Classic Rock Riffs With Power Chords

In this lesson, we are going to learn how to play classic rock riffs with power chords.  This is the fun of learning these types of chord shapes.  Once you learn how to form them and move them around the fretboard, you’ll be able to play all kinds of cool rock riffs.

Rock Guitar 101.

It is a great training method for getting started playing rock guitar. It is a simple 7 lesson method book that is easy to understand and provides quick results with full-color pictures and diagrams that anyone can learn from. especially if they have no prior music knowledge or training.

Rock Guitar 101 wi teach you how to acquire the right tools, how to tune your guitar, easy to play chords, establishing a rhythm, picking hand development and how to play classic rock riffs. All this in an easy simple method for all beginners. Not to mention free video lessons to go with the book available on my youtube channel. Which will allow for even easier learning and even quicker results.

By lesson 7 you should know.

The tools that are needed to get started. This includes the right type of guitar (certain guitars are best for playing rock guitar) cable and amplifier. These three tools are vitally important as they set up the foundation for your whole learning journey.

How to tune the guitar with an electronic tuner (which is recommended to start) by knowing which one is best to choose, where to get it either online or off and how to use it to tune your guitar.

You should have learned how to get a good solid rock tone which is also very important for this style of music. Plus additional training on how to get this out of a guitar effects pedal. This is an alternate way of getting your rock tone if you can’t get it out of the amp.

Easy rock chords.

By this time you should know how to form your simple open and closed power chords that are the fundamental chord types for this style of music. Open and closed power chords are the easiest you can form and the most common for playing rock guitar.

After learning these, you should have learned how to switch between these and move them along the fretboard for creating chord progressions that are the foundation of playing songs. As well as learning how to develop your hands and fingers to hold and move the chords better.

Establishing rhythm.

Once you have gotten comfortable playing chords on the fretboard you then need to be able to establish a rhythm. This is something you should have down as well. Rhythm playing is the foundation for playing songs of any type in any style of music and rock music is no exception.

Being able to establish and hold rhythm is a very valuable skill to learn and develop and should not be overlooked. It is like the concrete foundation that holds up a house, but in this instance, it is the music that is being held up. And this establishment of rhythm is set you up for what is coming next, an intro to lead guitar playing.

Intro to lead guitar playing.

Since this is a starter book I don’t go into major detail about this but I think it is important to introduce you to the fundamentals of lead guitar playing in-case in the future, you want to get into playing guitar solos. This can be done by learning the minor pentatonic scale.

The minor pentatonic scale is the one that all great guitar players of the past have used and should be learned by you. This scale is very versatile.

By this time you should have all that is stated above down physically and a well-rounded understanding of their concepts and principles.  If you do, great we can proceed.  If not I recommend you go back and get down what is needed to understand lesson 7.  Playing classic rock riffs.

Lesson 7. Playing classic rock riffs.

Rock riffs are a section of music that catches attention.  It is usually a part of the song that repeats and sticks in people’s heads.  It is usually this rock riff that makes people want to play guitar in the first place.  That is why classic rock music is so appealing to rock guitar players.  It has plenty of rock riffs to catch our attention.

So in this lesson, we are going to look at a couple of easy rock guitar riffs that will put all we’ve learned to use and allow us to play some music.  Because what good is learning all the chords and putting in the hours of development if we can’t play songs?  It makes no sense.  Rock Guitar 101 is designed to get us developed to eventually have fun playing songs and here is where we are going to start.

Smoke on the water.

This is the number one rock riff of all time so we will start here.  I’ve written it in closed power chords so that it is easy to play.  If you’ve done your homework, this should be quite easy to master.

Smoke on the water riff

This is the main riff of the song and is repeated several times.  It is suggested that you listen to the song to get the timing down.  Once you feel comfortable playing the riff, try playing it along with the song.  This is a bit challenging at first but I guarantee you that it will pay huge dividends in the long run.

Highway to hell.

This is another classic guitar riff that is very recognizable and not too difficult to play.  Although a bit harder then smoke on the water.  I say this because of the timing that is needed to execute the song properly.

Highway to hell riff

Once again I have presented this in easy power chord format.  This is originally played with natural chords and can be a bit tricky for a beginner.  That is why I present it in this format.  So that you can get used to playing your closed power chords.

As I mentioned before this is a nice riff to practice your timing skills.  Notice the space between the first and second parts.  Without this, the riff won’t sound right.  So listen to the song and get down the groove.  AC/DC is known for their groove and if you are ever to play their hor rocking songs, you need to master this.  There is no exception.

Lesson conclusion.

If you want to get started playing rock guitar or know anyone who does, Rock Guitar 101 is an excellent starter book.

Rock Guitar 101

With everything needed to get you progressing forward at a rapid rate with no previous music knowledge necessary. Once you get the fundamentals down you will be able to springboard from there.  And in doing so you will build a skill set that can last you a lifetime.  You might even be able to pass it along to someone you love in the future.

Free video course on Youtube.

In addition to the book, you can also get a free video course on my tube channel of the same name as my website.  Dwayne’s Guitar Lessons.  Here you will find a video lesson for all the lessons in the book to help further your understanding and help you to get quicker results.  And as always, if you need additional help feel free to reach out as I am always happy to help.

You can get this book on Amazon or through my eBay store.  If you get it through my eBay store I will personally sign it for you.

Best of luck and until the next lesson, take care.

Sincerely, Guitar teacher, Dwayne Jenkins

C major guitar chord

Why Certain Notes Are Used When Forming Guitar Chords

In this lesson, we are going to learn why certain notes are used when forming guitar chords. The reason for these notes being in the chords themselves is that they have to resonate in harmony when being played together.  If not, they will sound “off” and will not be pleasant to the ear.  This is called chord-embellishment theory.

What is chord-embellishment?

This is the understanding of what notes are used in creating guitar chords. When learning guitar chords, there are certain notes that are chosen for this purpose and they are not chosen randomly. They are chosen for the purpose of sounding harmonically correct. Or in basic terms, notes that sound good when played together.

When you put certain notes together on any instrument whether it be guitar, piano, violin etc, they must be in harmony with each other or else they won’t sound good when played. This usually happens when a person is just starting out learning a song or certain piece of music and doesn’t quite have all the notes mastered.

Although once all the notes are mastered, the music sounds good to the ear and is pleasant to listen to. That is because all the notes are in harmony with each other. This is usually because these notes all come from the same musical key.

What is the musical key?

A musical key is a certain set of notes that reside at a certain pitch in the musical spectrum. They may be a set of notes that are up high or they may be a set of notes that are set low. Maybe even in the middle somewhere. Regardless of where they sit, they are all relative in one way or the other and that is why they sound good together.

This is considered playing “in key” and it is when all the notes in the piece of music sound good together. And for this to happen we must have a basic understanding of how this works. This is where the embellishment theory comes in.

So when it comes to playing guitar chords, you want to make sure you choose the correct notes.  Because if you don’t the chords won’t sound good when you form them.  They also won’t sound good when you play them with other chords either.  Make sure you fully understand the basics of why these notes are chosen to form the basic foundation.  Then you can proceed to extend the chords from there.

How chords are formed.

First, we start with the key that we’re are playing in.  Let’s say the key of C.

C D E F G A B C.  Now let’s say we give each note a number value.  1-8.  C being one D being two and so forth and so forth.

The most basic natural chord in music is the triad.  A chord that is made up of 3 notes.  Tri meaning three, ad meaning notes.  A three-note chord.  Out of the key of C, or any key for that matter, the numbers chosen for this triad are going to be the 1, 3 & 5 of the key. This is what’s known as the guitar chord theory.

notes of the C chord

That means that the notes we would choose to make the C Major triad would be the C E & G.  Look at the notes in the above paragraph.  You can clearly see that the 1 3 & 5 are these notes.  And if you look at the C major chord forming it on your guitar and you know your notes (if you don’t I highly recommend you learn them) you can clearly see these notes in this chord.

Why do I need to learn chord theory?

Learning chord theory can help improve your guitar playing in many ways.  It can help you to understand how music works and why it works in harmony when certain notes of the key (any key) are put together to form guitar chords.  Actually chords in general no matter if you’re playing them on the guitar or piano.

Improving your guitar playing is what it’s all about.  By knowing your notes, you’ll be able to create additional chords as well.  Like minor chords (where you flatten the 3rd note by one fret) and 7 chords (where you add the 7th note of the chord, sometimes flattened seventh) and augmented or diminished triads.

By knowing this information, you’ll be able to switch between chords faster, add to your chord vocabulary and be able to express yourself much better in general.  By knowing what notes to add, move or take away you’ll be able to enhance your musical palette of emotion.  You’ll be able to see chords as colors.  And like colors, you’ll be able to create different shades.

Lesson conclusion.

Being able to fully understand what is needed when forming guitar chords is essential to forming, and alternating guitar chords.  This valuable skill will allow you to make leaps and bounds above the competition.  Most guitar players do not know this information.

So if you can take some time to study & wrap your brain around the concept that is being taught in this lesson, you will see very clearly how knowing this information can benefit you.  It can really help you to compose better songs and also to understand the inner workings of music theory.

And if you’d like a book on the topic, I recommend The Guitarist’s Music Theory Book.  This book will show you a lot more in-depth about what is being taught in this lesson and taken further down the path.

The Guitarist's Music Theory Book

The Guitarist’s Music Theory Book by Peter Vogl is the first music theory book designed for guitar by a guitarist. The book explains music theory as it applies to the guitar and covers intervals, scales, chords, chord progressions, and the Nashville Number System. You will also get online access to audio examples of all the music in the book and also an ear training section. The Music Theory Book was written to help all guitar players achieve a better understanding of the guitar and of the music they play.

Need any additional help in this lesson, feel free to reach out.   And if you haven’t already, grab my FREE action-guide Rhythm Guitar Secrets with insider tips to help improve your guitar playing.

Thanks again for reading and until next time, take care.

sincerely, Dwayne.

Picking hand

How To Develop Your Picking Hand For Better Rhythm Playing

Your picking hand

In this lesson, you are going to learn how to develop your picking hand for better rhythm playing.  This is a vitally important skill to master when it comes to playing guitar.  Especially rock guitar!  Because rhythm is the backbone of the music.

A very important step in your educational development of playing rock guitar.  All the rhythm you create will be done with your picking hand.  That is why it is so important to spend some time on this skill set.  Actually, it is a must and can’t be overlooked.

Your two hands represent different aspects of your guitar playing.  Your fretboard hand that will form the chord shapes and switch between them, and your picking hand that will create the timing and rhythm patterns of the music.  The development of both is equally important.

Sleight of hand magic.

When watching someone play this is a valuable part that is often missed.  This is actually where a lot of the guitar magic happens.  Very much like a magician that does slight of the hand.  It is the hand that you don’t focus on that is creating the magic.

So take this into consideration with your learning and really begin to focus on your picking hand and its development.  Be aware of your picking hand placement and how you hold your pick.  These two things will make a world of difference.

Practice good hand posture and always be aware of your playing.  Where your hands are positioned at all times.  This focus of attention to detail will make a world of difference in your progress and how your tone will be produced.

Different types of picking techniques.

Make sure to practice picking downward, upward and alternate picking.  This will allow you to play more complex picking patterns down the line when you start getting good.  If you really pay attention to this lesson you will develop a really good picking hand that will allow you to become great at playing both rhythm and lead guitar.

When you’re learning to play guitar, you are working on both hands at the same time.  So naturally, when the fretboard hand gets tired from forming and moving chords, you can allow it to take a break and work on developing your picking hand and creating rhythm.

down picking

The more you focus on your picking hand development, the better you are going to become.  The better your timing is going to be, the more aware you are going to become of your own style of playing the guitar and the more of you and your personality you are going to bring out in your playing.

Notice the placement of the pick between your fingers and your hand position close to the strings.  your other fingers can be used as well to stabilize your hand.  It’s all personal comfort and everyone plays a bit different.  So it is really up to you to find what is best.  And this will come only through practice.

Some rhythms you create will be loose and flamboyant as where others may be tight and muted.  It just depends on what type of rhythm playing draws your attention and takes to your liking.  That is why I recommend you learn songs from your favorite players.

Learning guitar from your favorite players.

Learning songs from your favorite players develops a lot of skill sets at one time.  But the main thing that it develops is discipline.  Discipline is what’s going to set you apart from your average player.  How much discipline you develop through hours of study and practice.  Remember, what you put in your going to get out.

If you put in a little, you’re going to get out a little.  But if you want to get out a lot, you are going to have to put in a lot.  It is really that simple.  Now when you learn from your favorite players you learn how chords are put together in progressions.  You learn basic music theory by noticing what keys they commonly play in.  You learn what picking and strumming patterns that they commonly use.  You learn what timing signatures they play in to set certain moods.

Then you take all these things that you’ve learned and you apply it to your own original compositions.  If that’s what you choose to do.  Or, you take these learned skill sets and apply them to other songs by other artists.  When you do, you begin to notice that they too use some of these chord progressions, picking patterns and time signatures.  Now you’ve have killed two birds with one stone (as the saying goes) which makes you a more proficient player in half the amount of time.

Lesson conclusion.

When it comes to being proficient at playing rock guitar or guitar in general (no matter the style) you will need to put in some time.  No matter what people on the internet are trying to tell you. It does take work, hours of study, dedication, and dedication to a routine practice schedule.  You do this on a regular basis and I guarantee you that you will see quick progress.

And if you truly want to develop the art of playing rock guitar quickly and easily, be sure to grab a copy of my starter book Rock Guitar 101 where you will learn the fundamental principles needed to get you up and running very quickly.

Rock Guitar 101

Rock Guitar 101 will take you every step of the way.

From the very first lesson, you’ll start learning having fun.  By learning what type of equipment to buy (guitar, amp, tuner etc) to learning rock guitar chords, progressions, developing rhythm and much, much more.  With full-color pictures and diagrams for easier understanding and quicker learning.

Not to mention that it is only 7 lessons and get be gotten through pretty quickly.  Not like a book that has more information than is necessary.  You can leave that for future study.  Once you get your basics down and can play a few great rock riffs with confidence.

I can’t begin to tell you how many guitar players I’ve met over the years who have skipped the basics.  They have jumped ahead to learning songs and don’t have the fundamentals down.  It hinders their playing.  Why?  Because they run into roadblocks they can’t get through.

Because they skipped over the fundamentals they stop their progress.  That would be like trying to read when you don’t know your alphabet or how to pronounce words.

Learn your fundamentals and enjoy the fun of playing guitar for life.  And if you haven’t already, be sure to grab my FREE action-guide Rhythm Guitar Secrets to give you insider secrets to help improve your rhythm playing.

Learn the musical knowledge and pass it along to others who might want to enjoy it too.  And if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Best of luck to you.  Until next time, take care.


Izzy Stradlin

How To Form Power Chords And Create Rhythm

In this lesson, we are going to learn how to form power chords and create rhythm.  Once you have mastered your open chords or would like to take a break from them, you can proceed to work on your closed power chords. Once you get the open chords down you can focus on learning power chords & creating rhythm with them.

Closed power chords.

Closed power chords are very much like your open power chords, it’s just that now your playing two strings where neither one is open. These are going to be then next chords in your vocabulary to learn because they are played with two fingers instead of just one. Your index finger and your ring finger. Or the pinky if you prefer. Everyone plays a bit different.

I recommend you use the first and third fingers as this is more standard and will leave your pinky open to add chord embellishments later when you learn to form chords using three and four fingers. But for now, we’ll just stick with two.

What’s great about these chords is two things.

  1. The chord shape always stays the same no matter where you’re at on the fretboard.

  2. They allow you to move up and down the fretboard, unlike the open power chords that stay at the second fret.

This allows you to unlock many mysteries of the guitar and rock guitar songs by playing chords of this type.  Most rock songs ever written, mostly use or have used these types of chords.  So make sure you take some time to learn how to form them and then learn how to move them around the fretboard.

When learning to form power chords you will need to stretch your fingers a bit.  Because this chord shape is created by two fingers on two strings with a fret in between them.  And once you learn this to form this chord, you will need to keep this shape when moving it around the fretboard.  Be sure to watch the video lesson on how this is done.

Chord types of these are not the easiest to form as a beginner, but with a little consistent effort on a daily basis, you will begin to see some progress and that is when the fun starts to happen.  And as with all things, you must be patient and not give up. If you stick with it, your reward will be all the cool rock songs you’ll be able to play.

Reading power chords in tablature format.

Watching me form them in the video lesson is fine.  But it is very beneficial that you learn how to read them in the written tablature as well.  This will give you more of a rounded education, a step up on most guitar players (most don’t read sheet music) and a more enhanced learning experience. Heres some examples of what power chords look like in tablature format.

G power chord

Here we have a G power chord.  Where the first finger (index) is on the sixth string third fret and the third finger (ring) is on the fifth string fifth fret.  Remember in guitar sheet music your biggest string will be on the bottom.

D power chord

This is a D power chord played on the fifth string.  Apply the first finger on the fifth string fifth fret and the third finger is on the fourth string seventh fret.  The D power chord is played on the fifth and fourth strings and provides a bit of a brighter sound than the G chord formed on the sixth string.

Rt4 A power chord

Above is an A power chord played on the fourth string.  Using the first finger on the fourth string seventh fret and the third finger on the third string ninth fret.  Since this chord is played on the fourth string, we will consider it a Root four A power chord.  Because the root of the chord (which is an A note) is located on the fourth string.

Always remember (I can’t stress this enough) that the strings in the sheet music are upside down.  I know it can be confusing.  Sorry but I didn’t create it, I just teach it 🙂  Anyway, now that we know how to form a few chords, let’s look into how to create the rhythm with those chords.

Creating a rhythm with power chords.

Accomplish this with proper timing and emotion.  When creating a rhythm with power chords playing rock music you want to start out with a simple 1 2 3 4 count.  Because this is the most common timing of rock music.

Listen to bands like AC/DC.  They use this timing in almost all they’re songs.  You can tap your foot to the beat and follow along to the music.  It is simple and effective.  Then once you get the initial timing of rock music down, you can create more complex rhythms.  But in the beginning, keep it simple.

Malcolm Young

This creates the internal clock that all musicians must have and by focusing on improving your timing by counting (to yourself or out loud) you begin to develop this very important skill set.  I can’t begin to tell you how many musicians I’ve met who have not developed proper timing.

Additional counts to use when creating rhythm.

Here are a few more to experiment with:

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &.

1 2 & 3 4.

1 2 3 & 4

Any of these examples will produce a nice rhythm and if you work with them enough, you’ll begin to discover other ones you can create as well.  Think of how creative you can be with just these four numbers.  Look at our number system 0-9 and all the endless possibilities that we can come up with.  Even though you’re just using four numbers, the concept is the same.

Once you work with these counts you’ll begin to recognize familiar parts of songs you already know.  So practice these rhythm counts while moving your power chords up, down and around the guitar fretboard.  That way you will develop your internal clock and be on your way to becoming a good solid rhythm guitar player.  Which is vitally important.

Moving your power chords is essential to learn. Make sure to lift your fingers slightly off the fretboard but keep them on the strings and play only the two strings that the chord is made of.  The rest of the strings try to mute with your fretboard hand.  This will keep unplayed strings from vibrating and causing unwanted sound.  It will allow you to produce a cleaner, rich guitar tone.

Lesson Conclusion.

There are certain techniques that are associated with playing rock guitar that you will need to master.  This takes time.  But with the proper training, it won’t take as much time as you think.  That is why I wrote Rock Guitar 101.  A simple step-by-step method on getting started playing rock guitar.

Rock Guitar 101 will help out in many ways and allow you to progress at your learning faster than you ever thought possible.  Once you learn what tools are necessary,  you will then learn how to set them up and get the best out of them.

You’ll also discover how to develop practice habits, basic music theory and much, much more.  All without previous musical knowledge or ability.  This can be very very beneficial when getting started.  If this is you or anyone you know, be sure to order this book today on Amazon and get started having fun learning how to play guitar.

Until our next lesson, take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne Jenkins

Malcolm Young

How To Recognize & Understand Chord Embellishments like C/B

When learning guitar, you’ll want to be able to know how to recognize & understand chord embellishments like C/B. Or possibly D/F#, Or F/C.  Knowing how to recognize the chords that you might be looking at in a songbook or possibly in tabs on the internet is very important to be able to play a certain song.  Or to possibly add note extensions to a particular chord.

Like for instance C/B

Chord embellishment C/B

In the first chord diagrams, we are playing a C major.  A chord is one of the basic natural chord shapes in the guitar because it is so common in many songs.  In the second diagram, we are changing the root note of the C on the third fret fifth string, to the B note on the second fret fifth string.  This adds a little different sound to the chord.  It gives it a little “darker” tone in the base being that you’re moving the root chord down one fret. You’re still playing a C major chord, you are just embellishing it to give it more character.

How about D/F#?

Chord embellishment D/F#

Here is another very common chord shape you will find in many songbooks and chord charts.  The infamous D/F#.  In this diagram, we have a D major chord with an F# added in the base.  Here we have a natural D chord shape on the second and third strings on the second and third fret.  We then add an F# note on the second fret of the sixth string.  Once again this adds a “darker” tone to the chord.

The F# played over the D chord adds character and a bit different type of emotion to the chord voicing.  If you just play D by itself it can have a nice bright natural sound.  But by adding the F# note embellishment it adds a little bit of moody emotion.  Which can be great for certain types of applications.

Chord embellishments add emotion

musical emotion

By understanding the notes that make up your chords, you can then add texture and emotion to your playing.  Music has been known to move people.  To make them display certain feelings.  Excitement, joy, anger, sadness, etc.  This can all be given recognition to the chords being constructed in the song.

Of course, there is more to it than that, but chords and how they are put together is a huge part of that feeling you get from music.  That is why if you want to move people with your music, you should learn to understand the inner workings of chord construction and playing rhythm.

This is an aspect that I think gets overshadowed by the lead guitar solo.  For example as in AC/DC.  Malcolm lays down the rhythm and Angus plays the solo over the top.  Now when you think AC/DC you picture Angus playing hot lead guitar!  Which he does quite well might I add.  But what is often overlooked is the fundamental rhythm that Malcolm is playing underneath.

Malcolm Young

In fact, a good lead guitar player needs to have a good sense of rhythm in order to play solos over the top.  But it is even more important for the rhythm guitar player to create the emotion of the musical landscape that moves the listener.  This can be seen very clearly in any AC/DC song.  In fact, it can be seen in most rock songs in general.

Understanding music theory

Another great benefit of being able to recognize chord embellishments is a better understanding of music theory.  Understanding music theory will open you up to a whole new world!  A world of endless possibilities.  Where the sky is the limit when it comes to musical composition.  Where you’ll literally learn another sacred language that most guitar players have no idea about.

I say this because most guitar players don’t read sheet music and don’t take the time to learn to understand how music theory works.  They merely play by ear.  This is good in its own right, but by being able to understand music theory, you’ll be able to soar above the crowd.  You’ll be able to put notes together and know for sure they will sound good.  No fumbling around and guessing.

By knowing your notes (and if you don’t know this by now I highly suggest you get on the ball of learning them) you will be able to clearly see where you can add notes to the chord or take notes away to create variations and alterations in the chord voicing.

Become a rhythm guitar playing alchemist!


A what you ask?

A rhythm guitar playing alchemist.  A person who studies the inner working of properties.  These people were scientists who attempted to turn lead into gold.  By studying the properties that made up the metals they felt they could alter the DNA and change the metal into something else.  Gold!!

In fact, this is what musicians do.  They figure out a way to turn lead into gold.  Well actually Vynl into gold but you know what I mean.  Think about it, when an album sells 500,000 copies it’s considered gold!  If it sells a million copies it’s considered platinum!  See what I’m getting at?

Lesson Conclusion

In my humble opinion, I recommend you take some time to learn how chord embellishments work and use them in your own music to create color and emotion.  This will make your music more enjoyable to listen to and give you greater satisfaction as a guitarist because you understand the inner workings of the guitar.  Which will allow you to unlock its mysteries that someday you may turn lead into gold!

That you will one day create a musical composition that will move people in such a way that they buy it.  Then more people will buy it and if your lucky, you may sell 500.000 copies.  Maybe even more.

Thank you once again for reading this lesson and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out and I will help.  And if you haven’t already, be sure to grab my FREE action-guide Rhythm Guitar Secrets for exclusive training tips that will help you excel your guitar playing.

Until our next lesson, take care.




best guitar player

How To Get Started Playing Rock Guitar

One of the things that are hardest at the beginning of a venture is getting started. How to get started playing rock guitar is no different.  Rock Guitar 101 will show you how to get started playing rock guitar quickly and easily. Even if you have absolutely no prior musical knowledge. It’s that simple!

What is needed first?

What’s needed first when playing rock guitar is the correct type of guitar.  With so many to choose from nowadays, it’s hard to know which one is best.

Well here are a few ideas to begin with:

  1. The IBANEZ RG450DX

This guitar is perfectly designed for playing rock music.

  • The Ibanez RG series of guitars has remained a standard in rock music for the last couple of decades, thanks to the effortless playability of its Wizard III neck. Switching between aggressive rhythm playing and wild lead lines is effortless on this slim-profile neck. Guitarists love the feel and playability of the Ibanez’s RG guitars. You will, too!

2. The Fender Standard Stratocaster

This guitar defined the rock music genre when it was invented.

  • The Standard Series is the perfect choice for any musician looking to upgrade to a professional level instrument
  • The “C” shaped tinted neck provides universal comfort and elegant styling
  • Achieve the classic iconic tones that only a Fender Stratocaster with three single-coil pickups can provide
  • Vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge with a high-mass block provide increased sustain and enhanced tuning stability
  • Reduced hum provided by the shielded body cavities.Rosewood or maple fingerboard with 21 medium jumbo frets

3.  The Epiphone Les Paul

This guitar has been played by millions of rock guitar players.

  • With a set neck, rosewood fingerboard, and Trapezoid inlays, this Standard is that and much more. Cream binding on the body and neck and a Locking Tune-o-Matic bridge, this guitar is a gift that keeps giving
  • The Les Paul Standard Plus-Top PRO has the very popular Epiphone ProBucker 2 and ProBucker 3 pickups. If that wasn’t”t enough it also offers the neck pickup volume with push/pull coil-tapping and the Bridge pickup volume with push/pull coil-tapping
  • Like every Epiphone, the Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plus Top PRO features a Limited Lifetime Warranty backed by world famous 24/7/365 Gibson Customer Service. Be a part of history today with the Les Paul Standard Plus Top Pro

4. The Schecter Omen

This is a fairly new model that has become very popular for playing rock.

  • The Omen-6 features a Basswood Body with a bolt-on Maple Neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Schecter Diamond Plus Pickups
  • Black Chrome Hardware with Schecter Tuners
  • Tune-O-Matic Bridge with String Through

What’s next after acquiring a great rock guitar?

Now you want to find a nice rock guitar amplifier.  This is very important because it allows you to get the rock “sound” that is needed for this style of music.  Without the proper amplifier, you will not be able to get the right guitar tone and you won’t be inspired to play.

Here are a few practice amps to take into consideration.

  1.   Marshall MG10

  • Clean & overdrive channels
  • Gain channel contour control
  • Custom 6.5-inch speaker
  • A line in for jamming along with tracks
  • Emulated headphone output

2.  Marshall MG15CF

  • Compact size for practice and small jams, featuring critically acclaimed Marshall analog tone
  • Output (RMS): 15W, Speaker: 1×8″
  • Channels (storable): Clean, Crunch, OD1, OD2, Digital Effects: Chorus, Phaser, Flanger, Vibe, Octave, Digital Reverb: Spring, Studio
  • Internal FDD, Mp3/ Line In jack, Emulated headphone Output and MG Foot controller Compatible
  • Includes: ChromaCast Pro Series 10ft Cable and ChromaCast Pick Sampler

3.  Fender Mustang 

  • With a turn of a knob, choose from clean to mean tones from the 17 various amp models that will accommodate almost any genre of music.
  • Shape the on-board amp models ‘on the fly’ or dig deep and edit them with your computer using the included Fender FUSE software to further alter the included effects such as reverb, delay/echo, tremolo, phaser and many more.
  • Jam along with your favorite tracks by simply plugging your MP3 player into the Auxiliary input and you instantly become part of the band and /or practice privately with the 1/8th headphone output jack that also mutes the speaker output.
  • Capture moments of inspiration and build songs using the included Ableton Live Lite 8 Fender Edition studio-quality recording software compatible with either MAC or PC, Controls: Gain, Volume, Treble, Bass, Master, Preset Select, Modulation Select, Delay/Reverb Select, Save Button, Exit Button, Tap Tempo Button
  • Limited Warranty Included

4.  Orange Crush20

  • Foot switchable channels
  • Analog signal path
  • CabSim loaded headphone output
  • New High gain preamp design, 4 stage preamp
  • 20 Watts

I believe any of these amplifiers will work just fine for getting the rock tone that is necessary for playing rock music.

Now You Get In-Tune

Having the instrument in-tune is most important.  Without it, you won’t sound good, even if you know how to play.  So make sure you acquire a good solid guitar tuner.  Once again there are many to choose from.  Here is the one I’d recommend.

Snark Clip-on Tuner

  • Full-Color Display
  • Features frequency range tailored to guitar and bass
  • The tuner can be used on the front or back of the headstock, Rotates 360°
  • A very popular model for hobbyists and professionals alike

Now all you need is a standard guitar cable to plug the guitar into the amp and your set to start having fun.

Oh, there is one more thing

Some good training material to help get you started and headed in the right direction.  Enter the book Rock Guitar 101.  A book designed to get you started with a simple step-by-step method for easy learning and quick results.

Rock Guitar 101

Rock guitar 101 is a system of methodology that takes you through the basics of learning how to play rock guitar.  Getting the right tools of the trade, learning your first rock chords, creating rhythm, reading and understanding sheet music plus an introduction to lead guitar and popular rock song riffs.

This book is filled with full-color photos and diagrams for easy learning with no previous musical knowledge required. Plus additional training tips are presented as a bonus along with a rockstar quiz to make sure the student understands the material thoroughly.

Once you get through this training, you will have a well-versed understanding of the fundamental principles associated with playing rock guitar.  In addition, you will have a smile on your face due to being able to play some rock guitar song riffs.


By acquiring the proper tools and training at the very beginning of any new venture you are going to able to progress faster than you ever thought possible.  You are going to be able to get quicker results and you are going to have more fun in the process.

So if you’re interested in playing rock guitar, make sure to get all the elements needed to get you started and I guarantee you that you will see results fast!!


Because you took the time to do it right!  The way it should be done.  And if you still have questions, feel free to contact me so as I may help guide you in the right direction, and get you on your way to having fun playing rock guitar.  And if you haven’t already, be sure to grab my FREE action-guide Beginner Guitar Secrets where you’ll receive exclusive training tips to help you improve your guitar playing.

Additional Training

Until next time, take care.

Sincerely, Dwayne Jenkins

Jimi Hendrix

Learn To Play Like Jimi Hendrix

Learn to play like Jimi Hendrix with three different chord types.  This will allow you to play his music, understand his approach and use these chord types in your own songs.

Jimi Hendrix was one of the first guitar wizards. Meaning he was doing things with the guitar that most people hadn’t even thought of yet.  And in doing so, he left his audience in total amazement!

See, you must think about doing something, visualize doing it and then move into action actually physically doing it.  Of course, he might not have been the first to do all the crazy things he did with the guitar, but Jimi Hendrix was definitely the first to bring it to the attention of the masses.

Common Chord Shape # 1. The infamous Jimi Hendrix chord E7#9

This is a jazz chord and utilizes all fingers.  Quite advanced from using power chords.  Be sure to practice forming this chord to get it to sound clean and ring out with clarity. This can enhance creativity.

Jimi Hendrix Chord

Work on getting this chord down as it will be a fundamental building block for future chord shapes you might want to explore. In doing so, learn to switch between chord shapes for maximum efficiency.

Common Chord Shape #2. Moving the F chord shape up the fretboard.

This is another chord type that Jimi Hendrix uses in his music.  You simply take your natural F chord shape that you normally play at the first three frets and move it up the fretboard.

Jimi Hendrix chords F shape

Now to be able to do this well you need to try to get your thumb over the top to capture the low E string. This will allow the chord to sound correct as you move it up and down the fretboard.

Common Chord Shape #3.  The Octave chord.

This is another very common chord type that Jimi Hendrix uses in his music.  You can find this in songs like Purple Haze and Fire just to name a few. This is a very simple chord type.  Use two fingers on two strings with an open or muted string in between.

Jimi Hendrix Octave Chord

The notes in this type of chord are played individually like in the intro to Purple Haze or together like in Fire.  Listen to these two songs and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Lesson Conclusion.

Jimi Hendrix used many techniques in his music and I would recommend getting some books on his music and watching some videos to learn more about his style and of course listen to his music to fully understand his approach to playing guitar.

Who knows, maybe you’ll learn some techniques you can use in your songs to make people say “Wow, how do he/she do that?” But in order for that to happen, you must be committed to the instrument and develop good practice habits.

And if you haven’t already, be sure to grab my FREE action-guide Rhythm Guitar Secrets for future training tips and tricks to help with your guitar playing.

Best of luck And if you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email.

Sincerely, Dwayne