Syncopation-syncopated eighth – quarter – eighths

Syncopation is when a note, strum, or musical event happens in between the downbeats. It adds rhythm interest, and typically rhythms that make you want to dance contain a lot of syncopation. Many strumming patterns contain syncopation and almost all melodies do.
The rhythmic figure in this pack is one of the most common syncopated figures in contemporary music.
How will it benefit my guitar skills to play these?
-If you want to hear a strumming pattern in a song and be able to play it, it’s essential to become comfortable with this figure as it’s all over the place.
-It will help your rhythm become solid enough to add vocals on the top easily.
-It will make you versatile and able to play many different strumming patterns.
-Strengthening your rhythm helps every aspect of your playing including lead and melodies.
-Many songs have melodies or chords that change just before the bar on an upstroke, and getting good at these figures makes that much easier.
syncopated eighth quarter with rest
This pattern has an eighth note, followed by a quarter note that is held over beat 2. To play this, you’re going to play a downstroke on beat one, an upstroke on the ‘and’ of 1, then ideally you’re feeling beat two and tapping your foot, bringing your arm down without hitting the strings, and then playing the upstroke on the ‘and’ of 2.
Practise this very slowly with muted strings or chord of choice. It will help you know where you are if you can tap your foot on the beat. Counting out loud AND tapping your foot will make you really good at this. Counting out loud, tapping your foot and clapping the rhythm first will help you really understand it, and once it’s thoroughly understood it’s a lot easier to play.
Now check out these other rhythms that use the eighth-quarter-eighth syncopation. This first one starts with a quarter note, then two eighth notes, then the eighth-quarter-eighth figure from above.



If you practice like this, you will develop massive skills:
  • Clap the rhythms while counting out loud and tapping foot
  • Read them as they’re written. Then read vertically up and down the page.
  • Play them with muted strumming, then take a pentatonic or single note scale and play it in the rhythm that’s written, horizontally and vertically. = RHYTHM GENIUS.
Just as an aside, if you include this in a rhythm you write, it’s important to know that you always need to ‘see’ the middle of the bar. For reading the rhythms, it gets hard to do if we can’t see where the end of beat two is. So you generally won’t see or write a figure that goes over the middle of the bar (ie a quarter note starting on the ‘and’ of 2). This figure might appear over beats 1 and 2, or beats 3 and 4, but it will never appear over beats 2 and 3.
eighth quarter eighth note exercises