I am a sort of a random guitar player. If I want to learn a song I liked, I try to listen to it as much as possible, pay attention, and make my ears work in order to understand its basics. Worst case scenario, I ask my friend Google to find transcriptions made by people far more courageous than me. Several days ago, I discovered the RhythmStrummer.com website via The Fifth Fret (an excellent blog that I suggest you to read). You know that I love video websites (No, no! Not that kind of website you’re thinking of!!) so here is a review of Rhythm Strummer.
The essence of a song.
I tend to reduce a song covered on the guitar to its basics i.e. lyrics, chords and rhythm. For the beginner (but not only) the crucial aspect lies in the rhythm! Attempting to render a song without the necessary dose of rhythm is a nonsense (and don’t get me started on solos ’cause there will be blood everywhere!). To me, the rhythm aspect defines music much more than melody (though I know I’m a bit restrictive here!). The ear is quite capable of spotting and understanding a rhythmic pattern, but rendition is sometimes tricky to execute. Sheet transcriptions have the advantage to give the structure of the song and to bring some rhythmic indications (scores at least unlike the tabs).
Rhythm Strummer: Easy Guitar Songs Videos.
Rhythm Strummer is an educational website that provides guitar lessons on video, but not any kind of lessons. Unlike many websites out there that decypher the most difficult techniques to master the most amazing solos (do not get me wrong, I think their existence is entirely appropriate and justified), the mission of the Rhythm Strummer team is to teach you the essence of the songs as I previously described it.
Beginners, and not so beginners who sometimes wish to have a perfect ear, this website is made for you if your desire is to learn the basics of a song: chords, rhythm patterns that suit well, and how to place the singing melodic line on top of this. The catalog of easy guitar videos available is about 25, but no doubt that the choice will increase in a near future. The easy guitar lessons videos are very well made and feature:
- Inlays to show the position of the hands and the shape of the chords
- Diagrams of the rhythmic patterns to apply to play the song.
- Very clear explanations from the teachers.
In addition to songs, Rhythm Strummer also provides a collection of techniques lessons on rhythm guitar. And not surprisingly, the easy guitar technique lessons are as good as the easy songs videos: clear, well realized and useful.
Easy guitar songs videos cost $ 4.99 that open access to a lesson for 30 days. 30 days during which you can view the lesson as many times as you wish. I guess this is enough to get the basics of the song and take all the notes you’ll need. They also offer a subscription formula of $ 24.99 to get a 30 days access to 3 easy guitar song videos and all the easy techniques library.
Some will say ”Yeah ok fine!! But you can find similar stuff for free’ out there” and I will answer ”yes indeed…” . Oh! I might argue a bit by putting forward 3 facts that you can check on the free stuff section of the website
- The video lessons are very good.
- Instructors are fun.
- They try to do things in accordance with certain ethics, like paying fees to the copyright holders. And some ethics in business is pretty good, right?
I think the website itself can be improved on some visual and ergonomics aspects, and I’m sure they will improve. Though the website is quite recent I am pretty sure it will become a good resource for those who don’t want or can’t have private lessons (no teacher in the neighborhood, lack of available time,…). Perhaps subscription options will attract more people … But I guess to pull such a feature they’ll have to have some feedback as their users base will grow.
To go further on Rhythm Strummer: