Rythym Playing

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Rocktrans formed, Jul 1, 2006.


  1. Rocktrans formed

    Rocktrans formed Member

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    One of my biggest weaknesses that needs work is my ability to play rythymically. I'm no good at all at muting chords and keeping a strum, and more complicated chords, funky sounding stuff, etc. I just can't figure out. My right hand always feels stiff and when I watch myself play, it's not "loose" like with good guitarists. Does anyone have any ideas or web lessons that help to overcome this?
     
  2. Serious Poo

    Serious Poo Armchair Rocket Scientist Graffiti Existentialist Gold Supporting Member

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    It will come in time, but only if you practice. Find a playable song you really like, learn the chords, and practice it until you can do it perfectly in your sleep. Start slow, and work your way up to its proper speed. That may take a month or more, depending on how much time you spend practicing. FWIW, you will probably hate that song for a few years once you're done, but you'll love the improvement in your playing.
     
  3. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Is your right hand really stiff rather than being relaxed? Do you tense up when you try to play funkier stuff? How are you holding the pick, does it support you in comping in a relaxed but controlled way? Is your pick big enough to use for comping?

    There are some good rhythmic exercises you can do, as the previous replies have indicated, but make sure your technique supports you too.
     
  4. Mullet Kingdom

    Mullet Kingdom Senior Member

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    Get a metronome -- and forget about playing lead for a few months.
     
  5. Rocktrans formed

    Rocktrans formed Member

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    Hmm, I'm not sure exactly what comping is. Most rythym based playing I do with a light pick, since the flexiblity makes things considerably easier. I don't know how you could effectively do back and forth rythym with a heavy pick. I can't, anyway. But my hand is usually pretty stiff- if I play for rythym for a long time, it loosens up, but still is tough to work with.

    I can actually do pretty well with making up my own rythym to a song but keeping it in the same time signature and what not. To be more specific, I have a bit of trouble with muting the stings while strumming with my right hand. If I'm playing barre chords I can just use my left to deaden the strings, but with open chords and some other stuff, I can't do that.

    Slightly off-topic: Somebody should make a guitar pick like this- a diamond shaped pick that would be thick on one point for leads, and thinner on the other for strumming. Going from leads to rythym, all you would need to do is change the direction of the pick. Come on, somebody has to have thought of this before me!
     
  6. karmadave

    karmadave Member

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    A very wise musician once told me "play rythym like a drum".

    Yes. Learn cords. More importantly, how they are contsructed and altered.

    Most importantly. Just play...

    -KD
     
  7. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    So you switch picks to play rhythm? That seems cumbersome, but whatever works is what's best. I use a 1.5mm pick (inflexible) for lead and rhythm (funk, strumming, jazz comping, etc.). In fact, I find it much harder to feel in control when I use a thin pick...and the tone definitely suffers with a thin pick ---for me.

    I'd work on trying to develop an approach to avoid tension in the hand, elbow or wrist. You should only have enough tension to hold the pick in place while strumming/comping, which in time shouldn't be very much tension at all. Why make your muscles work harder than they have to.

    Regarding muting, yes, it's very difficult to learn. I'd recommend doing a single-note (pick any note on the D or G string) groove on 8th notes very slowly. Strum across all strings but use left-hand muting to only let that one note ring out. This should sound like a percussive attack with one note sounding. Once you feel good with that, move on to 16ths. Then move on to other strings with one note. Then try it with two notes ringing, then triads, etc. etc. Muting's tough to get right, but you can get it by isolating. Hopefully you can make it fun too.

    Good luck!
     
  8. Mullet Kingdom

    Mullet Kingdom Senior Member

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    Well, I think that might be half your problem right there. :rotflmao

    +1 on playing rhythm guitar like a drum.
     
  9. pbradt

    pbradt Senior Member

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    I think a part of learning rhythm is to listen to the greats. You can learn an awful ot by listening to Jimmy Reed, Steve Cropper, Leo Nocentelli, Anson Funderburgh and James Pennebaker. ALL are great rhythm and can teach you a lot.

    The right hand is vital, you have to learn to relax, and syncopate. Listen to music and ignore everything but the kick and snare drum. THOSE are the things you have to lock into playing rhythm. If you're not locked into the kick or snare, you might as well not play.

    Solos are NOT the important part of guitar playing. They are insignificant. If you can play rhythm well, you will find work. It's that simple.
     
  10. Rocktrans formed

    Rocktrans formed Member

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    I'll try to work on it with a heavy pick. Holding the pick with less point sounds like it could help me out a bit.

    Something that may be important which I forgot to mention is that I'm left handed and play right handed. I'm sure as heck not switching at this point! I don't really feel like it's holding me back, though.
     
  11. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009 Silver Supporting Member

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    Learn to read music. Buy this and go to work:

    [​IMG]
    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Berklee-Press-A-Modern-Method-for-Guitar--Volume-1-DVDROM?sku=943040

    Your playing will become solid. And you will be a freaking monster, time machine / rhythm machine in six months!

    There's other ways; like playing along with your Jimmy Reed records. Hendrix comes later. Learn triads. Learn intervals. Learn how to mute strings with your picking hand, not just your right hand.

    You can do it. It's just a memory brain thingy. Anyway, this stuff helped me most.

    Best!
     
  12. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    I play with my fingers, used to use a pick now I use nails, thumb, fingers whatever works. Picks will make a difference but the ability to internalize rhythms will yield better results.


    Get some sheet music and strum whatever note values are written in the song. Just pick one bar of music from the tune and instead of playing the notes written, play any chord you want using the time values from the tune. If you can't read, or don't know what I'm talking about you should seek out someone who can show you. You will benifit from this exercise if you do know.
     
  13. rorschah

    rorschah Member

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    There's a good exercise from the Damian book - practice *only* rhythms. Park your hand in a straight bar across the guitar somewhere (not a bar chord), and then just try to play along with the rhythm in a song. Pick some basics and just try to get the sequence of up, down, muted, and non-strums. Just concentrate on catching the groove.

    Here's a tip: when you're starting learning rhythm, don't try to learn the Keith Richards bits. I learned a lot from Beatles parts and Neil Young parts - very simple and driving sometimes.

    I've actually been trying to get new rhythms but transcribing the rhythm parts from rap lines. It's a lot harder than... well, it's hard.

    -thi
     
  14. Lnkn Prk 13

    Lnkn Prk 13 Member

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    If you want to get your rhythm playing up to speed without reading (I know some guitar players are quite lazy), I pick bands who I listen to that have excellent rhythm playing and try to learn as much as possible from playing their songs. For shere speed and complexity, I try to play Megadeth and Lamb of God. For just a good feel I try to play Umphrey's McGee stuff since they have really cool rhythm sections with some unsual chords and such sometimes. One of the hardest thing I find playing rhythm along with is Tool. Sometimes the notes may be simple but trying to replicate that feel and texture can be quite difficult.

    I am a rock guitarist though, and not a blues and jazz guitarist and this is just what works for me. As well as reading books of straight theory.
     

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