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Watch the Essentials: Rock Rhythm Unplugged online guitar lesson by Angus Clark from Essentials: Rock Rhythm Unplugged

Hi, I'm Angus Clark, and welcome to Essentials: Rock Rhythm Unplugged. I, like a lot of people, was inspired to take up the guitar by rock music. So, the electric guitar became a part of how I connected to the music I loved, and the acoustic guitar was always "second fiddle". I had to play catch-up on my acoustic rhythm playing once it became apparent that everyone relies on a guitar player to be able to deliver a song on a solo acoustic guitar, or come up with an appropriate part should the ensemble need to deliver the song "unplugged". That's what this course is about.

We're going to focus on some fundamentals and some advanced concepts that deal with creating a guitar arrangement. We're going to address some common mistakes that electric guitar players make when getting on an acoustic guitar. We're also going to look at the acoustic guitar playbook and what the tricks of the trade are for an acoustic player that are not so commonly used on electric, like the capo.

None of this is meant to be overly challenging, but the devil is in the details. String noise, dynamics, consistency, and precision are all fundamentals that some of us get lazy about when bashing away on an electric guitar surrounded by a band where there are cymbals ringing and lots of other instruments are covering our being sloppy in one way or another. So, let's get back to basics and see how we can have fun with the acoustic six-string.

I'm using a Gibson J-45 for this course, with light gauge strings (.011 is the top string I believe). For an electric player, there's no reason to make this overly hard for your hands. Gibson’s have turned out to be my top choice for a combination of ease of play and tone. I am a long-time Martin fan, and I still love the sound and the vibe, but they are usually a bit more challenging to play. The audio here is a combination of mics and the LR Baggs pickup in the guitar, which is a great pickup system.

I'll perform every piece and then break it down for you. I'll show you the techniques used, and the decision-making process that goes into crafting your own unplugged versions. All my performances are tabbed and notated as well. So, grab your guitar and let's get started!