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Need Rhythm Help

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by BassPanther, Jul 13, 2002.

  1. Lately I've been focusing on keeping in time with a metronome. I can do alright when I'm just playing the notes straight (ie. if I'm playing sixteenths I play: 1-e-&-a, 2-e-&-a, etc.) But when I've tried playing some songs I know or if I'm trying to learn a song, I can never tell if I'm actually staying in time or if I'm rushin/dragon. When I try playing along with the song, I focus less on the rhythm and focus more on playing with the song cues and what not.
    Anyone have any tips to help me inprove my pacing?
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    The best way I know of is to transcribe the lines you're trying to play. By putting them on paper, you'll be forced to deal with the reality of exactly what part of each beat the pitches occur on. Once you have done this, playing them will seem much easier.

    There's a "line drawn in the sand" in each of us that marks the point to which our intuition can carry us. After this point, nothing new happens easily. The point of theory and transcription is not to impose a set of rules on our intuition, but rather to give it a set of tools which we can use to erase and then redraw that line in the sand.
  3. I'm not sure I'm following what your saying. Basically your saying take the song from the song book and write it out pen and paper style?
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Absolutely. If you're interested in taking your understanding of music to a new level, transcribing will get you there quickly as long as you choose your material well.
  5. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Hey Chris-
    I think BassPanther is confused-
    He already has the music transcribed/written out(in a songbook)...why should he write it out again with his own pencil & paper?

    Anyway, if you don't have the sheet music, Real Book, etc...do as Chris sez-
    Transribe what you're attempting to play, either off your records/cds or even your own stuff.

    Something I do(a lot when I'm in serious practice mode)-
    I program the exact rhythm I'm attempting to learn/play into my drum machine.
    Sometimes I use only a "bass/kick drum" sound to hear/learn the figure(sometimes, I'll use the RIDE cymbal as the 1/4 note pulse: 1-2-3-4).
    Also, YOU can control the tempo...keep it slow & increase as you progress.


    I'll program that somewhat busy figure into the machine & play "whatever notes" with that...no deviation, no going off & doing my own thing.

    ...then, a little later, I'll go off & do my own thing. ;)
  6. Well that's all well and good jim but I don't have a drum machine and don't intend to buy one anytime soon.

    And Chris, I'm not sure how transcribing the song (when I've already got it in music form) is going to help me rhythmicly
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    If possible, consider getting a drum machine...it doesn't have to be "the state of the art", either.
    Honestly, I noticed a big improvement in my playing/musicality.
    A few examples-
    1)I learned about programming beats...that got me "thinking" like a drummer.
    2)Multiple feels...the machine got me thinking & practicing about "feel". I have a few Latin percussion books; it was nice to be able to program a beat & actually hear it.
    3)Odd time practice tool...playing 4/4 against the odd time or playing odd against the 4/4.
    4)Playing "the time" against the machine doing doubletime or halftime or vice versa.
    5)Displacement exercises...drum play it 'straight' while the bass shifts its figure by an 1/8 note or 1/4 note, etc
    6)Overall groovability.

    Unless you have a drummer at your disposal 24/7...IMO, the drum machine is damn fine practice tool.
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    It isn't. I didn't understand from your original post that you already had the music. If you already have the music, all you have to do is subdivide with a metronome of some sort - either a real one, or a drum machine as Jim suggested. A teacher might also be a good idea if this continues to be a problem.
  9. Thanks for the advice Jim, I think I'm going to get myself a drum machine, it would probably help me out with songs I'm trying to write.

    thanks for the advice Chris

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