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Intro to Syncopation: Explanation

Mike Salow 210 lessons

Welcome again to another tutorial!

This time around we'll be discussing one of the most important elements of music, rhythm. More specifically, syncopation.

As a beginning to intermediate guitarist, one of the most difficult things to grasp onto is the concept of syncopation. What some players don’t realize is that syncopation is extremely important to learn and is one of the first steps to becoming a more advanced player.

First off, what is syncopation? It's simple really. In its most basic form, syncopation is the act of not emphasizing the down beat. Or in other words, playing rhythms that are on the upbeat etc.

If we're thinking in terms of eighth notes (1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & ) we'd have play some of those "&'s", and that would give us a syncopated feel. Think of funk rhythms or even rhythms used in ska music.

In this tutorial, we'll be syncopating sixteenth notes (1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a ).

In both examples we will take an idea and play it once starting on the down beat (1, 2, 3, or 4) once staring on "e", once on "&" and once on "a". Thus giving us various syncopated feels. So basically moving the rhythm over one 16th note each time.

Pay close attention to the tab and please PLEASE use a metronome! You will need it! :)

NOTE: "&" = "and" 

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