Playing the 3-2 polyrhythm on 2 strings

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Playing the 3/2 Polyrhythm on 2 strings

A 3/2 polyrhythm is a rhythm that can be counted either in “threes” or in “twos”. 

Let’s see this in action by playing a simple polyrhythm on 2 strings.

Polyrhythms = using conflicting rhythms

Polyrhythm is the simultaneous use of two or more conflicting rhythms (this is the Wikipedia definition).

In this lesson, we will explore the 3/2 polyrhythm. What this means is that we will play a rhythm that could be counted in “threes” or just as easily could be counted in “twos”.

Counting in Threes

There are several ways to ‘count’ triplets

  • Count 1-2-3, 2-2-3, 3-2-
  • Count One-and-uh, Two-and-uh, Three-and-uh

Below is a single bar with two triplets.

We play the 3rd string open ( the G string )

Counting in Twos

Let’s now just play 4 quarter notes on the 5th string at the 3rd fret. 

You could count this as 1-2-3-4 but actually we will count it like this “1 2 1 2”.

(the most important thing is that it is not a triplet)


Putting it all together

Putting it all together – the threes and the twos, it will sound like this.


Play slowly at first and then increas3 speed

Start by playing the pattern by tapping on the guitar like I do in the video.

Then play the twos and threes individually and then combine.

Once you have mastered it, then try to play along to the metronome. 

If you would like to see the previous lesson (intro to polyrhythms) or move on to the next (arpeggios with polyrhythms), find the links below:

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