This lesson will help you coordinate your playing hand, the one that makes the rhythm, with your foot, the one that's doing the time keeping.

 

Which foot you use to count with will have consequences. If you are supporting the guitar on your right leg then using the right foot to count  may upset the stability of the instrument. If you are standing, which i would recommend trying more than once, then you are free to dance to the beat. Much better to be moving around than hunched over a music stand. I use my wrong foot. It feels odd for about one minute then it becomes something you can do.

 

For this exercise though I want you to be sitting (as you probably are now reading this) and have the hand you use for rhythm and the foot you use for counting free to move.

 

Gently tap the foot to a relaxed count of 4, out loud but to yourself. Imagine a piece of string connecting the foot to the rhythm hand. Every time the foot goes down the hand follows, every time the hand comes up the foot follows. I don't know if it's a yo yo or a tug o war. You move the hand like you're bouncing a ball, with a little bit of wrist, tapping a little drum with your rhythm stick, counting 1, 2, 3, 4.

 

If the ankles are sore then you really need to chill, take a stress pill and think things over. Why are you in a rush?

 

All of the emphasis has so far been on the downstroke and the foot tap. When the hand and the foot come back up they are performing the upstroke. This stroke will be called 'and'. All upstrokes have the same name.

 

1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and

We never want to get faster. We actually want to learn how to control time and you need to learn where the brakes are before the accelerator. So, I want you to do this to the tempo (speed) and rhythm of 'A, B, C, D, E, F, G...

1  &  2  &   3  &  4  &

A  B  C  D  E  F  G

↓   ↑  ↓   ↑   ↓   ↑  ↓  ↑

That last upstroke, after the 4, is a very important one when it comes to chord changing. I will cover that in another lesson. Repeat ALL of this without interruptions to a regular count. As there are 4 downtrokes and 4 upstrokes in every count of 4 (not forgetting the final upstroke) we call this an eighth note system and it will be the only system you will need for a very long time. Lifetime guarantee.