Learning to dance with or feel the timing live.

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Redhouse-Blues, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. Redhouse-Blues

    Redhouse-Blues Member

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    One thing I really notice lately, that practicing with a metronome does not always carry over live. I can lock in with a metronome no problem, I use it everyday. I think the real key to being a great guitar player is timing. When I land all my chords, licks and everything in the right place, it sounds great, but if it's off, it's really off, no matter how well it's played. Some guy's have this gift of being able to dance with the time and really feel it and play with it on the fly. I want to develop that in my playing, but I'm not sure how.

    Ideas??
     
  2. ksandvik

    ksandvik Member

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    Practice. Play with all kinds of drummers and band configs. Play drums.
     
  3. AndyNOLA

    AndyNOLA Member

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    Yup.
     
  4. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

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    You have to hear it. Not just the downbeats or the heavy beats, but the off beats and everything in between. Ever play any latin music? Reggae? Anything that isn't so downbeat heavy or so heavy on the "one"? If you haven't I'd say get into that, I can give you some recommendations.
     
  5. michael patrick

    michael patrick Supporting Member

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    Lose the metronome. If you can teach yourself to feel the beat fine by yourself without the metronome, you'll be able to hold it together with other people a lot better.
     
  6. Redhouse-Blues

    Redhouse-Blues Member

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    I already play with a few bands and a few different drummers, that's what has me seeing the need to work on this.

    dewey, I want to learn to hear it and feel better, I'll take any recommendations, I'm open to anything!!

    michael, what are some ways to work on that?

    Thanks!!
     
  7. Sensible Musician

    Sensible Musician Member

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    Redhouse you are are sniffing around the door of one of the core essentials of music. Bodily motion is the key to developing good time. It can be developed. Some people do have a such a high rhythmic aptitude that you might call them gifted, but that is very extremely exceedingly rare; it is much more common that it is simply developed.

    The most valuable - and probably the most counter-intuitive - bit of info on this subject is that your motion needn't be cyclically in sync with the music to improve your sense of time. Instead of focusing on dancing, just keep moving, the more mass you move - legs, torso, head - the more you will feel musical time superimposed on the more familiar, essential sense of space that is deeply rooted in the oldest parts of the brain. But if you have to choose one part to move make it your head.

    Practice standing - you can just sway; that much will work wonders. Again your motion doesn't have to be in time - your sense of motion is naturally acute, and locking in with good time while you move your body teaches you to sense time with greater detail and accuracy.

    If you watch for it when you watch performances (e.g. YouTube) you will notice that a lot of the greats are head bobbers. None of the greats sit stock still. For guitar watch Scofield (and listen of course)! He feels the pocket DEEEEEP and he is my fave as far as his rhythmic bag. He moves in all different ways, and he moves differently when he plays with MMW vs. his bop trio. Generally he's not really dancing in time.

    The theory behind this stuff is interesting. There are threads in psychology and neurology, as well as the cucko mystical religious cartoon Nazi world of Raiders of the Lost Ark - Rudolf von Laban, a pan-mystical cloak enthusiast who worked under Goebbels, is an oft-cited patriarch of the theory of musical movement. Then there is hippie new age mumbo jumbo that may be entirely wrong in theory but works nonetheless LOL. Edwin Gordon, my preferred source on this subject, is the one who really married research and practice.
     
  8. cram

    cram Member

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    I wonder if I'm doing this right, but what I think you're getting at is something I experiment with. My avenue into it is by accentuating different notes or turning a tune on it's head in terms of style.. like rock to a country feel or experimenting with the upstroke on a downstroke dominant thing..

    Is that what you're talking about or am I way off?
     
  9. Redhouse-Blues

    Redhouse-Blues Member

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    That's exactly what I want to develop, I see that in a lot of great players. They get their body into what they are playing and I'm guessing that's adding to the feel of what's being played. I always wondered if that was the thing helping them stay in the pocket so easy. What I meant about dancing with the time was, being able to play in and out of the pocket at will and always being able to come right back in freely, never missing a beat.

    If it's not a gift, I wanna learn it.
     
  10. sharpshooter

    sharpshooter Member

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    I always go back to listen, and learn, from music from the '20s > '40s, stuff that has a "real" melody,,with accents, and syncopation,, that get my feet to tappin',,,and all your nervous-ticks start happening all at once.
    Some good boogie-woogie,,sobbing saxophones,,eight-to-the-bar,,,,
     
  11. AndyNOLA

    AndyNOLA Member

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    Right on. In Afro-Cuban music the dancers control the musicians as much as the musicians control the dancers......this ia Legba and Ochun. Its part of the deal here in New Orleans as far as the Neville's, Meters. Wild Magnolias, Mardi Gras Indians....you can dance with, or against. Guitarists probably need to dance against when soloing, with when doing rhythm licks.....
     
  12. Trickstaaah

    Trickstaaah Member

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    Wow, great post, Sensible.

    I note that great dancers and musicians seem to mark different parts of the beat with different parts of the body -- the feet move on the 2 and 4 while the head finds the 1 and 3 while the hips subdivide all of it into eighths.... John Lee Hooker did this with his foot tapping -- creating rhythmic tension between his feet, then using the guitar to resolve the tension in favor of one foot or the other. Cool stuff.
     
  13. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    The way I see it, dancing with time/tempo doesn't mean being right on top of the beat all the time.

    Set your metronome to a fairly slow tempo, then play simple arpegiated chords, but pull back and push ahead of the tempo. That might get you into the idea of time being somewhat elastic.

    Live, I think drummers are all over the place with how they play the downbeats. Some are always pushing, others naturally drag it. The trick is to figure out what kind of drummer you have! I haven't played with a lot of drummers but I don't think many understand playing ahead, on, or behind the beat. They do what comes naturally.
     
  14. michael patrick

    michael patrick Supporting Member

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    My point was that practicing without the metronome forces you to feel the beat, rather than relying on the metronome to tell you where it is. If you can't feel it yourself, it'll be harder to feel it when you have the additional distractions of playing with other people in a room full of people watching you. Gotta get the feeling within yourself first.

    At least this is what works for me, YMMV and all that...
     
  15. Jon

    Jon Member

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    How often do you gig regularly, and do you feel pretty relaxed when you play live? If you don't play all that regularly, or you feel nervous and a bit tight when playing live, the first thing that will go is the ability to focus on subtleties in the music.
     
  16. Twitchey

    Twitchey Member

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    Lots of good tips above:

    practise privately and standing up and play along to records rather than the metronome (if you have your guitar held high then this is a good time to adjust it down to waist height).

    A metronome doesn't tell you the feel of where to play: behind the beat? On top of the beat? a rhythm that swings? something straight ahead?

    I especially agree with the point about being relaxed. Do whatever it takes to enjoy yourself (both when practising and playing live).

    Find a band that smile and have fun during rehearsal (and shows). I'm not talking about the kind of set up where everyone burns 100% during rehearsal (you need your A game for the show, not the rehearsal), but it sure does help to play with people who are confident and have fun ...
     
  17. AndyNOLA

    AndyNOLA Member

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    You are onto it.
     
  18. mikefair

    mikefair Member

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    Playing with a metronome or a drum machine and playing with a drummer are two radically different experiences. To me, playing with a metronome teaches you to be precise; playing with a drummer teaches you to groove. I play with drummers, and a pretty good variety of them, fairly often. It seems like when I'm doing it well, it's kind of a zen thing. You know, thinking without thinking. You kind of get both sides of your brain working in synch.
     
  19. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    I pretty much agree with that but I really think they are two different skills.

    It's sort of like when a guy goes to school for a trade, then gets in the real world and finds out there is a lot the school didn't teach him.

    In this case, knowing how the drummer is playing makes a world of difference in my ability to hook up and dance with him. In other words, all drummers don't play right on top of the beat like a metronome does.

    If you are too conditioned to rely on the metronome it can shake you when you encounter a drummer that pushes or pulls.
     
  20. Hotspur

    Hotspur Member

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    Could you explain to us HOW you practice with a metronome? There maybe useful things you could do that you're not doing.
     

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