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Michael Johnson >> Chuck Berry-Rolling Stones styles >>
Lesson Subject: Rolling Stones Style
What you learn: Rhythm & Chords (C)
Michael: Michael Johnson

This interactive lesson will cover rhythm patterns of the Rolling Stones, ala Keith Richards! Many guitarists consider Keith Richards one of the top players of the rhythm guitar! Richard's style features a lazy sounding rhythm style and very interesting chord inversions that almost sounds like he's playing rhythm and lead at the same time. Rhythm playing is essential to any guitarist, these patterns affect both our strumming and lead playing. Here's a sample of the rhythm patterns you'll learn:

Michael: Without a strong rhythm, you solos can even sound sterile, most of what you'll learn in this lesson is:

1. I, IV, V progression in the key of C
2. Variation on that pattern
3. Playing chord inversions and single lines off each chord

This is fun stuff, I still have fun playing rhythm patterns like this even after all the years I've been playing, let's get started. Here's the notes of a C I, IV, V:

Michael: You have C (I), D, E, F (IV), G (V), A, B now these same notes can be played on the lower strings. Here's the notes on the lower strings.

Michael: Here's the I (C), IV (F), V (G) using the lower strings. Let's play our first rhythm pattern:

Michael: This is a standard rhythm practice, soon I'll add more to this pattern. Here's the jam track to play over:

Looping Jam Track 1

Michael: Simple but very effective. In this progression we have I, IV, I, V, I. Now you can add a few inversions to the chord:

Michael: In this example you add a sus4 to each chord. Here's the pictures for each chord:

C Barre (3rd fret/5th string)

C sus 4

Michael: That's the C and C sus4 (suspended 4 chord), just add the little finger to the C.

ECid: Sounds just like the stones

F Major Barre

Michael: Here's the F and F sus4, but is actually fingered a F7 sus4. I fingerpick the chords, which helps to leave out the b7 note.

G Major Barre (3rd fret)

G sus 4

Michael: That's the V chord G and G sus4 (or G7 sus4). Here's how I finger pick the chords; thumb on 6th, 1st finger on 4th finger, etc:

Fingerpick Technique

Michael: Finger picking gives the chords a unique attack and allows you to play various chord inversions with ease. Let's try another rhythm pattern:

ECid: Does Keith Richards finger pick?

Michael: Ecid, he does at times. Richards has a very unique style, he study many of the great blues players who fingerpicked. Notice the inversions which actually turn out to be relative to other chords. Example C, then the F which actually has the major 3rd for the top of the chords:

C Major Barre (3rd fret/5th string)

Em6 (inversion)

Michael: Notice how you hand shifts? The 1st finger replaces the 3rd finger on the 5th fret. Notice the min 6 inversion on the F and G chords:

F Major Barre

Dm6 (inversion)

Michael: Notice how the 1st finger moves to the 3rd fret. The same pattern work for the G as well. Now let's try our next Rhythm:

Michael: In this pattern you play the major chord then slide from the Maj 2nd -> Maj 3rd note off each chord and play a portion of the 5 chord (root, 5). Make sure you're playing over the jam track. That's where the real magic is for playing these lines!!!

C Major Barre (3rd fret/5th string)

3rd finger slides from 3rd to 5th fret

Barre 1st finger - 5th fret/3rd & 4th strings

Michael: Notice how the slide and fingerings set up the pattern. Simple, but very effective! Have any of you played these kind of rhythm patterns before? Here's our next rhythm pattern.

Michael: Now this is when things get very cool, try using variations of all the patterns that you've played earlier. Here's a live track of me making up various patterns:

Teacher Sample 1

Michael: Notice I play the slide/chord inversion pattern (C), then play F sus4, then back to the first rhythm patterns.

Teacher Sample 2

Michael: The second pattern is me playing the I (C) and C sus4, then IV (F) with the slide/chord inversion pattern, then back to all suspended chords for the rest of the progression. See if finger picking will help change your sound. We'll continue more of this lesson next lesson and add more lead patterns between the chords.

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