SONGWRITING: Get out of the rhythm rut

Usually when I’m working song ideas out on acoustic guitar, I tend to play in the same damn tempo and rhythm, all the time. Typical strumming… around 90bpm. I’m a big fan of 90bpm, because I love producing instrumental hip-hop beats, and 90 is pretty much the tempo of most good hip-hop.

But for guitar strumming and stuff, it gets old, fast.

So get out of the rhythm rut. Stop strumming 8th notes up & down all the time! Chances are, if you haven’t been writing songs much, you might be overusing 8th note strumming patterns. And if you’re a pianist, you might be overusing that “Hey Jude” rhythm pattern (8th notes in left hand, quarter notes in the right). God knows, we all have.

Here are some indie acoustic guitar and piano songs of varying tempos/feels that all have interesting rhythms and grooves… it’s a Spotify playlist… so get Spotify if you don’t have it (it really kicks ass):


Some examples in the playlist above:

Jets to Brazil “All Things Good And Nice” (half notes on piano)

Matt Costa “Vienna” (Bossa Nova-style strumming pattern on guitar)

Fun “The Gambler” (piano arpeggio in 6/8 time)

Jack Johnson “Taylor” (lots of funky single-string picking, and fast strumming over a slow feel)

and lots of examples of fingerpicking in various rhythms


About chriscaulder

Posted on August 11, 2013, in songwriting. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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