There are several rhythms used in playing Arabic songs on the guitar. Two of these rhythms are the most popular. The first one is similar to popular Spanish rhythms and we will call it “Spanish”. The second commonly used rhythm originates from the popular “Baladi” Rhythm which is played on the Derbakkeh (Drum). In our tutorials we will be covering those two Rhythms with all their variations, starting from the basic fundamental technique to the most advanced one.
Before you start playing Arabic guitar rhythms, there are a few rules of thumb that you need to know:
1. Most rhythms start with a downward stroke on the bass note. The bass note is the first note of the chord and is not necessarily played on the first string. The A minor chord has A as its bass note, which is the open fifth string (2nd from top). When playing a rhythm using this chord you should not touch the first string otherwise you will be playing a wrong bass note. You should be familiar with the base notes for all the chords and where they lie on the fret. Check out the chords lessons to learn the common chords used in playing Arabic songs
2. The upward and downward strokes of the rhythm are played on all the strings used in the chord. Sometimes the chord uses the entire 6 strings such as in Gmajor, Fmajor, and many others. Some chords, however, do not use all the strings. A very common chord in Arabic music is Dminor, which consists of three notes: D,F,A. When playing this chord, the first string (low E) is not used, and you should not strum it when playing the rhythm. In the chord diagram, you will see an x next to the low E string, which denotes that this string should not be played
3. When playing the rhythm, the hand movement should originate from the wrist and not the elbow. Your hand should move up and down from your wrist while the arm is stable. This lets you play the rhythms faster and with less effort. Make sure you are aware of this while practicing in order not to pick up any bad guitar playing habits!
4. You should always start practicing the rhythms as slow as you can and increase the speed gradually. After a good amount of practice, the rhythm movement should come naturally. This means that you should not be playing while consciously instructing your hand about the strum movements; your hand should be moving on its own. To make sure you got this, try singing a song while playing the rhythm, your hand movement shouldn’t get affected while you are singing.
5. In order to maximize your learning from these tutorials, make sure you go through them in their original sequence. Most of the tutorials start with the basic movement of the rhythm and then build on it. You do not want to confuse yourself by skipping through lessons.
6. Focus on getting the time right. When changing chords, make sure you do not start your strumming too early or too late. I suggest you practice with a metronome in order to make sure you are keeping the right time. After all, you are a rhythm guitarist, and when playing with a band you might be the one keeping the time for everyone. You don’t want to mess things up!
7. Practice, Practice, Practice. Once you get a rhythm type right, even in its native form, try playing a song and see how you are doing. Examples of songs applicable to the rhythms taught in the tutorials are provided with their tabs and chords in order for you to be able to test your skills, practice and have fun at the same time. Don’t forget to show off in front of your friends!
This is all we can think of in terms of introductory notes. Before you start with the tutorials, make sure to check Hand finger symbols and reading the sequence of the strokes. before you move to the rest of the rhythm lessons