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Thread: a cry for help

  1. #1
    Registered User wolfgangguitar1's Avatar
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    Question a cry for help

    Ok, I've been playing guitar seriously for aboout a year, and I have a hard time keeping time for some strange reason is there anyway I can fix that? I also find bass easier to keep timing but a lot less fullfilling. is there anything I can do?
    Who is the fool, the fool or the fool who follows him?

  2. #2
    i Breathe ... Admin Guni's Avatar
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    Hi there and welcome to iBreathe...

    For a first aid try this article: http://www.ibreathemusic.com/play/article/32

    Laterz,

    Guni

  3. #3
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
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    Hi there.

    First of all, in my newest article ( "Art Of Picking" ) I describe an exercise involving the guitar, a sheet of paper and a metronome. That one might help.
    Well, I had that problem too. I seriously sat down with a metronome and tried to play in time.
    That sounds like a very obvious way of doing it, but itīs the best method IMHO.
    Turn the metronome way up ( if you can ) so you really hear it loud. I once saw a player struggle with his timing in the studio quite a bit. The engineer turned up the volume of the click, and what do you know ? It helped.

    Take apart your licks, slow them down, play them in time with the metronome. What helped me with fast licks was:
    I had licks with sixtuplets, and it was kinda tough for me to get all these notes into the exact same tempo ( six notes between two clicks from the metronome ) with the metronome set to a slow tempo ( like 70 bpm ).
    So I doubled the tempo ( like to 140 ) and played triplets instead. The notes were at the same tempo, but the click appeared more often, which made it easier for me to play the notes in time.
    What I am trying to say is: setting the metronome to a higher tempo while changing the value of the notes ( like in my example, from sixtuplets to triplets ) might make it easier.

    One other thing: try to stay relaxed there too. What I mean is: if you stiffen up, and try to play all the notes in time going "1-2-3-4" you might get problems cuz youīre too focussed on it.
    I had problems when recording strummed acoustic parts ( you know, those fast strummings ), cuz I was trying to "catch" the beat of the click / metronome ( I hope this comes over right, tough to explain )
    I then loosened up,, trying to "feel the beat" ( sounds silly, huh ? ), relax and then play along to the click again... it worked. So instead of counting each note you play in relation to the click, try to feel the basic rhythm and fit into it.
    As I said, not really easy to explain.

    Also, get familiar with playing "behind the beat", "on the beat"...

    Try to play just one note ( i.e. C at the 5th fret, G-String ) in time with the metronome, changing note values... quarter notes, eigth notes, triplets, dotted notes etc.

    OK, I hope some of this will help you out a bit.
    Good thing that youīre critical about it... a lot of players donīt pay enough attention to their timing... and I think that the most impressive, awesome lick ainīt worth anything if it is not in time...

    Warm regards
    Eric

  4. #4
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    If I may make a suggestion, I'd say to become familiar with rhythmic notation. This may seem obvious (and you may already know it), but I get the impression that perhaps you're unsure of the rhythmic pulse of the phrases that you're learning. To cure this, grab a copy of the tried and true Mel Bay book and work through it, focussing mainly on the durations of each note. This is a good foundation that many people would skip over, perhaps due to the "uncoolness" factor of those books. However, you have to do whatever it takes to get there.

    My suggestion was made out of complete unawareness of you or your playing, so I may be way off here. Hopefully, you could give us some more details of what is bothering you so that we can help you better. Do you have a specific riff or lick that you've been experiencing this problem with?

  5. #5
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
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    JazzIII,
    really good suggestion !
    It might be easy to play a certain beat opr whatever when jamming with a record, but it should help quite a bit to understand rhythms ( by way of notated rhythms ) and trying to play them ( i.e. shuffled notes, triplets, dotted notes etc. ) just with a metronome.
    Warm regards
    Eric

  6. #6
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    Here are some additional excercises that you may find useful. These are from daily tips that you can sign up for (see link below).

    Metronome Exercises


    For these metronome studies, play a scale of your choice. Later, you may apply these techniques to any music. Set the metronome to 160 beats per minute.


    1. Click on beats 1, 2, 3, 4. Play the scale one note per beat or metronome click, "1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, etc." This should be easy. If not, have you considered alligator wrestling? When you are comfortable playing one note per beat, begin to improvise freely with any rhythms and notes, returning to the basic pattern if necessary.


    2. Click on beats 1 and 3. Now, we will play at the same tempo (160), but instead of the metronome clicking on each beat (1 2 3 4), we will have it click only two beats per bar, beats 1 and 3. Set the metronome to 80 beats per minute. Play the scale, one note per beat, "1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, etc.," while the metronome clicks for beat 1 and 3 only. The rest is up to you.
    When you are comfortable with this pattern, begin to improvise freely with any rhythms and notes, returning to the basic pattern if necessary.


    3. Click on beats 2 and 4. Keep the metronome at 80 beats per minute, but make these clicks on beats 2 and 4. When you are comfortable with this pattern, begin to improvise freely with any rhythms and notes, returning to the basic pattern if necessary. Notice that playing with the metronome clicking on beats 2 and 4 feels different than with the click on beats 1 and 3. The 2 and 4 pattern is used to create a "swing feel."


    4. Click on beat 1. Now let's have you work a bit harder. Play at the same tempo (160), but have the metronome click for only one beat, beat 1. Set the metronome to 40 beats per minute. Play the scale, one note per beat, "1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, etc.," except the metronome clicks beat 1. When you are comfortable with this pattern, begin to improvise freely with any rhythms and notes, returning to the basic pattern if necessary.


    5. Click on beat 2. Keep the metronome on 40 beats per minute, but make the click beat 2. Play the scale one note per beat, "1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, etc.," except the metronome clicks for beat 2 only. When you are comfortable with this pattern, begin to improvise freely with any rhythms and notes, returning to the basic pattern if necessary.


    6. Click on beats 3 or 4. Try making the click only beat 3 or only beat 4. Experiment with other patterns and tempos.


    - from The Guitarist's Guide to Composing and Improvising, by Jon Damian
    Đ 2001 Berklee Press


    To see the complete Tip Of The Day, click here:
    http://www.berkleepress.com/tips.taf?cat=guitar&id=3104

  7. #7
    Registered User wolfgangguitar1's Avatar
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    hey thanks for the replies, I do have a bsic understanding of music theory and I've been trying to look more into it. thanks for the tips I'm going to try them out in a sec.
    Who is the fool, the fool or the fool who follows him?

  8. #8
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    Good luck bro!

  9. #9
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Another suggestion, but more aimed at understanding notation if you're having any issues there:

    Using a product such as PowerTab, write a few bars of a tune you know very well by ear. As you play back the tune using the PowerTab player, you'll find you probably aren't too close on your selection of 1/4s, 1/8s, 1/16s, etc. In fact, I've just selected all 1/8s for the first run--then gone back and tweaked everything all at once to see how well I could do.

    Of course, you could do this for weeks trying to get the MIDI playback to have 'groove'--I don't think anyone's life is boring enough to warrant THAT.

    I know this is a goofy idea--but I think it's kept me off the streets when I couldn't practice

  10. #10
    Ibreathe Music Advisor EricV's Avatar
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    Hi,

    well, I think it actually is a good idea... itīs a bit "trial and error", but after all, itīs cool to type in something and immediately hear it being played back... so if you wanna transcribe a piece of music you know well, you can tweak everything till it sounds right, and I assume that after a while, youīll be able to recognize note durations easily... so, together with other theory-related exercises, this is another nice thing one can try to improve reading- and writing skills.
    Warm regards
    Eric

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