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Advice On Playing In 5/4, 3/4, 6/8

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by High Voltage, Feb 2, 2008.

  1. High Voltage

    High Voltage Member

    Dec 20, 2006
    Los Angeles
    Hey guys Ive been having some trouble playing in 5/4, 3/4 and 6/8 (going from most difficult to least). The specific tunes are Take Five, Footprints, and All Blues. Any books or advice on how to practice this would be appreciated!
  2. Free

    Free Member

    Jun 18, 2005
    With 5/4: first try accenting 5 until you really have it under your belt would be a great starting point - say at 100 - 120 bpm play a five note riff in quarter notes, with each note of the riff falling on a quarter note, and then just accent the last beat (the 5th note of the riff / 5th note of time-signature), etc. Get the feel into your intuition.

    Use the same method, but with eigth notes instead of quarter notes for 7/8 time and just accent 7.

    The other ones should come more easily - it's all just different accents on a quarter or eigth note pulse. Just count it out 1,2,3 - 1,2,3 etc - 3/4 should be particularly easy if looked at in the conventional waltz approach - just imagine waltzing around the room or whatever.

    I look at all rhythm being essentially the same - just with different ACCENTS, TEMPOS, SWING and JUXTAPOSITIONS.
  3. KRosser

    KRosser Member

    Oct 15, 2004
    Pasadena, CA
    There are cultures in the world that feel 5/4, 3/4 and 6/8 as commonly as we feel 4/4.

    I think as much listening and playing and just living with that 'sound' as you can do, the quicker it will become more internalized.

    One suggestion, in the short-run:

    Improvise over a 5/4 song using a pre-written rhythm that you know will work - keep it simple at first, like 1/8 rest-1/8 note-1/4-1/4-1/4-1/4. Go through the whole song using any appropriate notes but ONLY that rhythm.

    Then, change it up, putting that 1/8th rest on different downbeats and doing the whole song that way again. As you get more comfy with it and feel bolder, write a two-bar rhythm that has a syncopation over the barline and improvise with that for the whole tune.

    The whole key is that in pre-writing the rhythmic 'skeleton' you improvise with, you remove the greatest area of uncertainty and allow that 'sound' to get in your ears.

    You want to 'feel' it ultimately, not 'count' it, right?
  4. heretic

    heretic Member

    Nov 20, 2004
    left coast
    I find that subdividing the bar in groups of 3 and 2 can very helpful

    5/8 = 3/8+2/8 (or vice versa)
    11/16 = 3 +3 +3 +2 (or any other combination, depending on the style/beat/groove)
  5. Free

    Free Member

    Jun 18, 2005
    That's a great point that I forgot to mention - what he said...
  6. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2002
    Yep. Put the guitar down and internalize the rhythm. Tap it out until you no longer need to.

  7. vhollund

    vhollund Member

    May 30, 2004
    the 6/8 is not an uneven rythme
    You have to exercise the 3/8+3/8 feel and the 3/4 against the 2/4 feel in the same time
    Once you get into this rythm you will grow addicted :)

    +1000 on that
  8. Mike T

    Mike T Member

    May 8, 2007
    +1 so
    5/4 would be 1-2-3 1-2 : 1-2-3 1-2: etc
    6/8 would be 1-2-3 1-2-3:1-2-3 1-2-3: etc

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