Fixing time/rhythm problems

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Ang3lus, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. Ang3lus

    Ang3lus Member

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    I have had quite a few rhythm/time problems lately, i keep losing it middle of the song or middle of the lick i can't remember what time i was trying to play, also i have no idea how to play 6/8, 12/8 (i probably do but don't know that i do).

    anyone got tips on how to improve time and how to play all kinds of different times ?

    This is the video btw
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1wti_d136c
     
  2. bendix

    bendix Member

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    For me, I found that I often got ahead of the band a little bit when I was playing. I was so worried about my part that I didn't listen to anything else. But what really solved it for me was to really listen to how what I was playing was fitting into what the rest of the band was playing. It was really tuning into the overall feel of the song and being a part of the clockwork mechanism of how that feel expressed itself. At the time, I was listening to a lot of funk and the meshing of all those parts was particularly pronounced in that style. Eventually, it became second-nature to tune into that part of the music.
    Tim
     
  3. The Captain

    The Captain Supporting Member

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    What have you tried ?

    Working with a metronome is the basic starting point for good time.
    Are you playing with a band ? Mostly I keep time with the band, rather from than from the band, but there are a couple of sngs where I lock onto the bass player or the snare or kick.
    Metal is the best discipline for learning solid time, lots of polyrhythms and triplets etc.
    Being a Metallica nut, I have spent tons of time grooving on all of James' riffs. That is pretty good grounding.
     
  4. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    If you like the music, listen to some Stax - Volt stuff. The band (Booker T & The MGs) plays way behind the beat practically all of the time. Also play as if you were trying to slow the band down a bit. It will get you "back" to where you should be.
     
  5. Jon

    Jon Member

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    If you want to concentrate on timing/feel you need to simplify what you are playing, at least initially, so that you are able to concentrate more fully on the timing & rhythms. When you played on that clip were you tapping your foot in time with the drums? Part of the problem is that if you don't hear or feel rhythmic variations in your head in relation to the beat of the song, you won't be able to utilise them in your playing. Try tapping your feet in time with the song and tapping out contrasting rhythmic phrases with your fingers.

    As an exercise, try restricting your playing to the 3rd and 4th strings of the standard 1st position (shape not fret) pentatonic scale so that you only have 4 notes to play with. Play along to the track just using those notes and concentrate on locking whatever you play in with the track. Leave plenty of gaps and try to concentrate on playing very specific rhythmic groupings of notes (imagine each phrase is a brass riff). Try to hear/hum licks before you play them - don't worry if the notes aren't exact as long as the rhythm and contour (i.e. where it goes up and down) are there. Since you are restricted to a few notes it should force you to start coming up with rhythmic variations to keep it interesting. Once you can do this when confined to a small area of the neck you can start to explore the same ideas all over the neck.

    Try to think in terms of your solo being groups of phrases with a bit of a gap between them. If you listen to an actor reading from a book it always sounds good as they vary the rhythms/accents/pitches of the text to give emphasis and meaning to the words (as opposed to a schoolkid reading outloud in a monotone voice with no rhythmic variation). Imagine each one of the notes in your lead phrase is a word and that you are speaking - maybe giving a rousing public speech or having an argument with a partner - sometimes you ask a question, sometimes you get angry, sometimes you plead, sometimes you're sarcastic, sometimes you laugh. A good solo should sound like a good singer.

    Start listening to and playing along with funk - syncopation is a great tool for making your rhythm AND lead playing sound interesting.

    Hope this helps :dude
     
  6. vhollund

    vhollund Member

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    Maybe take some courses in dance and percussion
    That really helps the rythme
     
  7. mike walker

    mike walker Member

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  8. Ang3lus

    Ang3lus Member

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    thanks Jon
    I will try that.
    my teacher said after listening that i need to concentrate on what i'm playing because overall i don't have any time problems playing someone elses stuff.
    he said my riffs are hard to remember, which makes them
    1. annoying to listen to
    2. don't have a solid structure

    that's why i love upping videos, i finally solve that "i can't point out what's wrong with my playing"
     
  9. Jon

    Jon Member

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    If I had to criticize the video that you posted (in a constructive way because your playing is by no means poor), the two things that struck me were that, firstly when you were playing the main riff early on, you were letting certain notes hold on where on the original they are cut off in a staccato manner - to my ears the mixture of staccato and full notes gives the original version some 'funkiness', and secondly your solos were slightly meandering as though you didn't have a clear idea of roughly what your phrase would be just before you played it. Neither is a huge problem though - just be aware of them and try to put in a bit of work regularly to improve them and you'll quickly see results.
     
  10. Ang3lus

    Ang3lus Member

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    Jon,
    any tips on how i can improve that ?
    it's true that i have no clear idea of what i'm gonna play
    i see a structure and i'm going through the motions.
    any specific ideas ?
    sounds like you are pretty knowledgeable
     
  11. Lolaviola

    Lolaviola Supporting Member

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    Subdivide
    I always try to warm up w/ a chromatic scale, in 1st position, because I don't have to think about the left hand (LH) but any scale you know backwards and forwards will do.

    So, concentrating on the right hand (RH) I'll pick a med tempo and play 1 hit per beat (alternate up, down strokes) I'll go up and down the scale, keeping time.
    (One, two, three, four)
    Keeping the beat the same, then I'll do 2 hits per note(pick down, up) go up and down the scale.
    (One-and, two-and, three-and, four-and)
    Then 3 hits per beat (triplets)
    (One-la-li, two-la-li, three-la-li, four-la-li)
    and finally 4 hits per note.
    (One-e-and-a, two-e-and-a, three-e-and-a, four-e-and-a,)
    Keep the overall tempo the same, using a metronome, ideally singing or intoning the subdivisions as well.


    Next you could try the 4-hit exercise but accenting different beats:

    One-e-and-a, One-e-and-a, One-e-and-a, One-e-and-a,

    One-e-and-a, One-e-and-a, One-e-and-a, One-e-and-a,

    One-e-and-a, One-e-and-a, One-e-and-a, One-e-and-a,

    One-e-and-a, One-e-and-a, One-e-and-a, One-e-and-a,

    You can do this anywhere, you don't need a guitar!

    For improv, try this:
    http://gitarprinsip.com/2007/12/03/jamey-aebersold-tips/
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2008
  12. Jon

    Jon Member

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    I'm not knowledgeable... I just sound like I am.:banana

    It's really moving on to the next level of improvisation. You have the physical ability to play the notes and scales. It's now the process of learning exactly what to play and when. I would say that most guitarists go through this so it's not like you're doing anything wrong. A lot of it comes down to listening to other guitarists and musicians in general and comparing their playing with yours to see why their phrases work. The more you start listneing and studying, the more you hear subtle things which really start to make a difference when you incorporate them into your playing.

    With ref to hearing your licks before you play them, here's a link to a good lesson by Bob Russell:
    http://people.uncw.edu/russellr/hardstuff.html

    One thing that really helped me was to play a slow 12 bar blues solo without any kind of backing track and trying to use specific notes in your licks to show an imaginary listener where the chords are changing - once you can do this, when you ARE playing over a backing your licks will sound much stronger. Fairly simple things like switching between minor and major pentatonics will also help (e.g. Albert King in 1 bar, BB King in the next). Think of short rhythmic licks - play them once with certain notes then keep the rhythm the same but play different notes, play a lick in one octave then repeat it in another octave etc.
     
  13. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

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    There's two ways to do it- play it like it's written down, in which case you'd be counting, "one-two-and-....." as some of the others have explained in their posts. Or else hear it before you play it.

    We could be talking about something that's a prewritten riff/song or an improvised solo, it doesn't matter. Either way you should be hearing it before you play it. A lot of guitarists do it the other way- they start playing something (based on a pattern or scale shape) and then start to hear something from that, and try and make something out of it- turn it into an idea. And some guys are great at it. But IMO, the thing we all (should) strive for is playing what we hear in our heads. The instrument is just the medium.

    Anyway, a lot of guys can do both- both hear it before they play it and play it like they're reading it. They know which beat a note falls on without having to think about it, what each note is, etc.
     
  14. KagakuNinja

    KagakuNinja Member

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    A minor thread hijack here... Do skilled players actually count in their heads when they play (1 uh and uh 2 uh, etc)?
     
  15. GBStratman

    GBStratman Member

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    Disclaimer: I am not a skilled player, but I know people who are and have asked them this question. Generally, the answer is "no." But the deeper answer is that they can, and do, in situations that require them to, eg complicated, multipart lines. Most skilled musicians have gone through enough rhythmic training in which they did count so that at least common meters are internalized and subconscious.

    I believe any aspiring musician can internalize the count, but depending on one's innate rhythmic ability, it may take more or less conscious effort, meaning counting it out. I also believe this needs to be done at slow tempos. It's too easy to fool yourself at fast tempos that you can do it (it's just harder to perceive your mistakes at fast tempos).
     

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