Playing Rhythm Guitar: Basics Part 10 – Understanding Eighth Note Rests


In this tutorial, we will look at what rhythm guitar players need to know about eighth note rests.

As you will recall from our Rhythm Guitar Part 8 Tutorial, eighth notes receive ½ of a beat.

This means eighth notes are counted as:

counting eighth notes rhythmic notation

Here is how an eighth note rest is symbolized:

eighth note rest


Since an eighth note is ½ of a beat in duration, eighth note rests also last for ½ of a beat.

eighth note rest-2


So this means there would be silence on the “ands” of each beat shown in this example.

eighth note rest breakdown


In this example, the eighth note rests are placed on the beat:

eighth note rest breakdown2


Now let’s practice clapping some rhythm patterns that use eighth note rests.

Rhythm Pattern 1



Count out loud, and tap your foot as you perform the rhythm pattern with a metronome.

Most guitarists find the next rhythm to be tricky at first. But don’t worry, with some practice you will be able to master it.

This is the first rhythm pattern we have looked at where you are playing off of the main beat.

In this pattern you are playing on the “ands” also known as the up beat.

Rhythm Pattern 2



Now let’s look at some additional examples.

Rhythm Pattern 3



Rhythm Pattern 4


Rhythm Pattern 5



Be sure to practice these five rhythm patterns with a metronome.

Also be sure to count out loud and tap your foot as you perform them.

Once you feel comfortable with the rhythms, grab your guitar and play the rhythms with one chord. Pick any chord you like.

Remember, where there are rests, there needs to be silence. So you can’t let any notes or open strings ring during a notated rest.

To do this you will need to mute certain notes/open strings. See Playing Rhythm Guitar: Basics Part 6 – Muting and Understanding Rests, if you need a refresher on how to mute strings in guitar chords.

In our next tutorial, Playing Rhythm Guitar: Basics Part 11 – Counting Rhythms Revisited, we will at something very important you need to know when you count rhythms.

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Playing Rhythm Guitar: Basics Part 10 – Understanding Eighth Note Rests — 1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Playing Rhythm Guitar: Basics Part 11 - Counting Rhythms Revisited | Guitar Accelerator Blog: Play Guitar - Electric and Acoustic Guitar Lessons

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