In order to play “Off” the beat you must first establish the “On” beat. This way you can anticipate or push the music/melody/riff or motif along and then return to the established “On” beat.
When beat one is established we can then push any beat from there on. The key is then to return to the “On” beat to start the next phrase or vamp or piece of music.
If you play “Off” the beat continuously the syncopation/anticipation will be lost.
In order to fully comprehend off-beat playing it is an extremely good idea to learn and practice the two most common essential rhythms in every way possible, both in the bar and across the bar line. But, always coming back to the “On” beat for the start of the new phrase.
You can change the harmonic rhythm or join the rhythms together and create vamps or phrases.
Mixing Both Rhythms Together
Now we will add a bass push/anticipation: [Notice the BASS note is “Tied” across the bar line].
In this example we will add a short melody to a chord:
Here are a set of variations on a chord change:
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