New subcategory of players…THE RHYTHMICALLY CHALLENGED

So this is my first post to the community. My first attempt to find others who can relate to my guitar struggles. This seems to be a great place where people of all levels and experiences can support each other. This community is naturally subdivided into newbies, intermediates, advanced and everything in between.
I’m proposing a new subcategory of players…THE RHYTHMICALLY CHALLENGED. This suggests that some people who have a natural sense of rhythm (or coordination skills) can learn guitar much faster and get to a greater level of playing. And as a “rhythmically challenged” student of the guitar; I constantly have a certain thought in the back of my mind “will I actually achieve my guitar playing expectations”?
It would be easy to respond with…well if you’re having fun, why would you quit? Well I am having fun, but I only continue to work through my struggles because I fully expect to achieve my vision of guitar success.
I hope to find some that felt like this and have achieved their expectations. Where are you players that could not dance, and or juggle, or chew gum and walk at the same time LOL. I’m not completely uncoordinated but the struggles are real! Please tell me that I can develop a sense of rhythm. That someday I will be able to sing the lyrics of a song without my hands falling apart as if I have zero control over them.
Thanks for hearing me out


You can develop a sense of rhythm.

I’m definitely in the category, but my sense of rhythm improved so much over the last 3 years, especially in the last 2-3 months when I came back to studying rhythm guitar.

What helped:

  • I took a Konnakol (South Indian rhythm study) course at a local collage. It’s been invaluable.
  • I started singing while playing.
  • I made a habit of breaking down rhythms and analysing them to greater detail.
  • I learned to slow to a crawl, then speed up.
  • I stick to practising with a metronome. I learned new ways of practising with it. e.g. setting it to only click on beats 2 and 4. Or 1 and 3. (Or only to ‘and of 3’ if you have the courage)

And, of course, like everything else, practising every day is key.


Justin has rhythm and strumming exercises in every level of his beginner course and there is a subcategory for every level. No need for any more subcategories. If you’re having problems post in the appropriate lesson thread.

In your introduction you said you’ve been practicing for 2 years. Is this 2 years with Justin’s Beginner Course or 2 year surfing youtube. Where are you in Justin’s course? If we knew we could help with struggles.


thanks…appreciate that. The rhythm study course is interesting!

the subcategory was kind of a joke. Did I not post in the proper place?

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Hey! I resemble this!

I am happy to be home on a thread for the rhythmically challenged.

I do admit that after two years here and with guitar, I am improving. I also spend a lot of remedial time on basic rhythm practice. It has been a little harder strumming and picking with my non-dominant hand.

I see no reason we can’t excel at rhythm. It is another part of the learning. I spend time with the metronome, air strumming and playing, just being attentive to it.

Singing….well, that pretty much makes my whole body lose any semblance of function. I will tackle that one later.


lol on the singing…seriously, I have no control over my hands when I start to think lyrics while I’m strumming! thanks

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Hey there, I would be a liar if I called myself rhythmically challenged however I do have a question - if you play one of your favourite songs and you just start to hit your lap to a main rhythm or clap your hands are you able where the rhythm is and if you are clapping in time? I think majority of people have it as Justin suggests in one of his lessons as when you go to a pub and you hear someone performing out of time something won’t be clicking for you.

Now the reason I mention it is that when I play a guitar I feel rhythm pretty well now, but if I want to dance for instance I can feel the rhythm but heavens sake my legs don’t know what to do and how to keep in time! I just hate dancing as it makes me feel like I am rhytmically challenged although more likely I just lack confidence and skill to do it well.

And I believe it’s the same with the guitar, once I couldn’t strum well with time as I was lacking fundamentals. Justin course helped a lot in that department and now I think I am okay at that :grinning: hope you will discover this in you one day

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Hi Gnivek.
Try recording yourself playing, mistakes and all, then in maybe a month, same again and compare them.
I was really pleased with the progress.
It keeps me inspired to continue with the journey.
For me slow and steady seems to be my best approach so being able to compare progress is encouraging.
Best of luck with your guitar journey.

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I’m probably the opposite of rhythmically challenged… I used to play drums… however I think we all have an innate capability for rhythm, but it must be learned! And takes a lot of specific practice.

I think many guitarists spend a lot of time on chords, scales and songs, but probably not enough on rhythm. Do you use a metronome every time? Do you practice rhythm patterns over, and over, and over, and over (and over) until you can do it without thinking?

That’s basically what drummers do - a lot of practice is not bashing out songs on a kit, it’s repeating rhythms over and over and over on a practice pad with a metronome. Rhythmic rudiments on a practice pad, slowly, slowly, then speeding up. If you are rhythmically challenged and want to improve, do the same on guitar with strumming patterns and a metronome. Use a metronome every time you practice! It will fall into place.

Rhythm is also very specific. Go through the same next time you learn a new strumming pattern - slow, faster, eventually automatic.


Being rhythmically challenged isn’t even a thing, in my humble opinion. I would bet that 99.9% of people can clap their hands or tap their foot along with most regular songs. That’s rhythm right there. Even toddlers can do it so it’s innate rather than learnt.

The challenge is in fact performing a complex task while keeping rhythm. The solution? Get better at the complex task so that it takes less concentration, allowing you to move some focus on to other things… like keeping it to a specific rhythm.

In other words, the solution is practice… just like everything else.



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This is something that’s plagued me for awhile myself. I feel I want to create some new genera that champions the concept of rhythmic ambiguity and demonizes quantization.

I think it’s okay when playing solo or doing sort of “singer-songwriter” type work. But I wouldn’t expect it to go over well in a jam session, and a lot of people would likely find it jarring or even downright uncomfortable.

I like to create songs freely so only analyze them after creation. Seems there’s quite a few places where I have missing or extra beats. I’ll remedy that sort of thing, but I kinda prefer leaving in the speed ups and slow downs. Plus it seems I change time signature throughout at certain points, like in the bridge or chorus. I was unaware of that until a drummer friend of mine told me.

All this said, I’m in an open relationship with my metronome :upside_down_face:


This is me!!! Good News…I improved soo much :slightly_smiling_face::sweat_smile::upside_down_face::sweat_smile: …Some people struggle singing in tune, some people with the F chord or bar chords in general…me I struggle to tap my foot and coordinate along with it! And even if I now can do it and it’s almost automated it still requires patient practice everyday.


Sometimes it just has to be beaten into you! :laughing:

That’s the only important thing and should be your ‘vision of success’ :smiley:


Hey, I didn’t know you play drums as well as guitar :wink:

I don’t play drums, but I’ve got a pretty strong ear for rhythm… and it helps me so much in my guitar playing. Well worth practicing! Developing that inner sense of a beat will allow you to navigate songs and solo/riffs so much easier. Also when you make a mistake and perhaps “fall out” of the song for a second… with a strong sense of rhythm your brain will continue to follow along with the song, even when you’re not playing, and it will allow you to pick it up and continue playing a bar or two later. Invaluable skill to have for live playing… when you make a mistake, when the drummer does… or when the singer comes in a bit late, or forgets/skips a part etc…

So, yeah, incredibly useful. Metronome practice is important, not only for developing speed and such…

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The main thing I take from the OP, is the inability to maintain a reasonable level of playing while also trying to sing.

This is all about practise, and getting everything ingrained in your memory, so you have the extra mental capacity to add something else to the mix.
If it’s taking 90% of your concentration to just play a song, then that only leaves 10% to think about lyrics.
You need to practise playing the song, until you can play it with minimal mental input. What I found that meant when I done the original beginners course, was don’t even think about trying to sing a song at the current level that you’re learning. Only try it on songs probably 2-4 stages behind where you’re learning.


It’s more played than play, I played through my teens, forget the exact age I started, 12 or 13, and sold my kit around 19. It’s been over 20 years since I played, although every now and again I try a kit at a music store and can still play. Just not as good as I was (I was never an amazing drummer, but pretty competent).

I do have a handpan drum which is in the background of some of my videos, pretty fun to tap around on. Mine is tuned to Am pentatonic. This kind of thing: Handpan - Wikipedia

Thanks, I agree. I’ll keep at it!

yes. I’m going to start doing this! thanks