In this rhythm guitar lesson, we look at how to play triplets and swing, aka shuffle rhythms. These are useful for blues, folk and also some pop songs. They are both totally different to the 'straight' strumming we have looked at so far and should never be mixed.
A song either uses a straight rhythm or a triplet rhythm. Straight rhythms, such as 8th strumming split a beat into 2. A triplet is a beat which is split into 3, shown by the small 3 above the notes linked together. The best way to count it is '1 & a 2 & a' etc as shown.
Song examples: Mull Of Kintyre, Stormy Monday and other blues and folk standards
A blues shuffle palm mutes the & to create a pause. This creates the familiar 'bounce' rhythm used in blues songs such as Before You Accuse Me and Sweet Home Chicago. Pop songs such as Sit Down by James use this too but tend to just muss the & strum rather than muting to stop it sounding bluesy!
For blues and rock, playing power chords (even easy open power chords) with some palm muting will sound the most authentic. Without this, the overall sound is still similar to what you have played before. Adding the palm muting makes it sound a bit darker and less jangley.