Jazz Blues

Learning Backbeat Timing for Blues Guitar Rhythm Playing | Berklee Online | Guitar Lesson

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A backbeat is a syncopated accentuation on the off beats (so in 4/4, it would be beats 2 and 4). It’s very common in jazz and blues music, and you can especially hear it through the drums and the comping. In this video, Berklee Online course author Michael Williams demonstrates how to feel and count the backbeats while you play, and discusses drummers for players like Albert Collins, James Brown, T-Bone Walker, and more. It is more challenging than it seems, especially if you’re not used to it. He practices over a metronome that only plays beats 2 and 4, so it can feel a bit disorienting to not know exactly where beat 1 is. Therefore there’s emphasis on learning how to count properly over a backbeat metronome before getting to play over it. This video comes from “Blues Guitar,” a Berklee Online course written by Michael Williams.

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ABOUT MICHAEL WILLIAMS:
Michael Williams has been active as a blues and jazz guitarist around New England since 1987. He has performed extensively throughout the US and Canada as a member of Grammy-winner James Cotton’s blues band, and with many other artists, including David “Fathead” Newman, Mighty Sam McClain, the Bruce Katz Band, and his own band, Michael Williams and Friends.
Michael authored the Berklee Online courses Blues Guitar and Advanced Blues Guitar, and teaches private online lessons.

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