Watch the The Bo Diddley Beat online guitar lesson by Jeff McErlain from Blues Survival Guide: Rhythm Edition
There are certain beats and rhythms that we know right away, this is probably one no known simply at the Bo Diddley rhythm. Diddley was known at The Originator because he was so influential on easily rock artists like Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, and The Rolling Stones. He drew heavily on African rhythms and this one in particular became the cornerstone of rock music. This rhythm is a great primer for the left and right hand, play it with the supplied drum beat but also try it with a metronome too. The trick on this one it to keep the swing and groove going on it and not play it too straight. Here is the classic Bo Diddley beat and rhythm, this one is fairly tricky but well worth it. The classic tune Hey Bo Diddley 1955 and influenced many other hits including George Throughood's version of "Who Do You Love?", Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" David Bowie's "Panic in Detroit", The Stooges "1969" and U2's "Desire". This syncopated rhythm is a great way to develop the left and right hand coordination. The goal here is to sound the rhythm with just the right hand while muting with the left. I love this because it really shows off the rhythmic possibilities of the guitar. Note how I am moving between the low and high strings to accentuate the rhythm even more. It's coo to note that the tune "Bo Diddley" is only one chord, what makes it so great is the tension and release developed throughout the tune using dynamics and instrumentation.