Here’s another way to use monotonic-bass picking. Try plucking a bass note with the thumb followed by three eighth notes in the fingers.
Some modern rock and pop tunes get a boost by injecting a laid-back groove with a 16th-note swing feel.
The so-called Bo Diddley beat, shown in Example 5a may seem difficult at first, but if you break the beat down into a 16th-note subdivision, you’ll find a 3–3–2 pattern in the first half of the measure that may help you get a handle on it.
Finding a chord progression’s parallel major or minor key is easy: simply take the letter name of the original key and then flip it to major or minor.
A cousin of alternating-bass fingerpicking, monotonic-bass fingerpicking keeps your thumb on the same bass note, instead of alternating between two or three notes.
John Lennon added an interesting twist in the Beatles’ “Julia” by playing the same bass strings in the same order for each chord, regardless of which string held the root.
This pattern lifted from bluegrass boom-chuck rhythm alternates bass notes with strums, as shown in Ex. 2a. You can mix bass notes and strum patterns in many ways.
Strum through this pattern on one chord, and you can hear the verse rhythm behind the Strokes’ “Last Night,” the rhythm pattern behind Hall and Oates’s “Maneater,” or the recurring anthemic rhythm in the Doors’ “Touch Me.”
The steady eighth-note pattern is about as simple as they come, but it’s the consistent use of downstrokes that gives this rhythm pattern its character.
One great way to use the flatted fifth is to approach it from below, ascending from the fourth.
Sometimes, you only need a simple trick to create the right feel, and that’s the key to the groove in Example 1a.
Example 6a shows a syncopated rhythm that has become a staple of classic rock, modern rock, and pop.
Some modern rock and pop tunes get a boost by injecting a laid-back groove with a 16th-note swing feel. Example 7a shows one common syncopated groove you can get with this feel, and Example 7b shows how you might embellish it to sound similar to Train’s hit “Drops of Jupiter.”
A great way to add a percussive pop to your rhythm patterns is to play scratch rhythms on beats two and four of each measure, simulating the sound of a backbeat snare drum.
Blues and rock are two styles that are heavily intertwined, and the rhythm pattern in Example 3 instills more of a bluesy sound into your rhythm simply because it’s a common rhythm pattern in blues tunes.
Monotonic-bass fingerpicking, in which your thumb keeps playing the same bass note instead of alternating between two or three notes, is common in acoustic blues but works great in folk and rock, too.
Example 2 shows a pattern in 6/8 time, the way many players interpret the traditional classic “House of the Rising Sun.”
Five patterns can unlock the fingerboard for both the minor- and major-pentatonic scale.