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Getting Frustrated

jpipper17jpipper17 New
edited October 7 in Technique
I have no clue how to frick'n practice rhythm. It is pissing me off. Do I practice the up stroke or does it naturally occur over time? I've heard it answered both ways. When I add in the up stroke it sounds terrible. When I leave it out on purpose, I like the sound better, but ultimately I want the upstroke and it's not happening naturally. I cant speed up my paracticing, because I cant get it right slow in the first place. If I practice wrong, I'll play wrong. Well, I cant move forward practicing because I'm getting pissed at not knowing how to practice it. Good Lord! So frustrating!

And wrist tension...am I literally supposed to have zero tension in my wrists? When I do that, it completely changes everything, and the pick moves around and I dont get that dark warmer rake sound I like.

Edit: and I'm trying to sound like django joseph adrian holovaty or benji winterstein but I dont know if they started out practicing with or without the upstroke
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Comments

  • Clarification, I cant move forward practicing because i cant settle on something i like. I'm scared it's bad technique and that it will solidify bad habits down the road.
  • jonpowljonpowl Santa Cruz, CA✭✭✭ Dupont MD-100, Cigano GJ-10
    edited October 7
    Here is a nice bit of instruction from Robin and Kevin Nolan concerning rhythm. I usually warm up by setting the metronome at a reasonable speed, then raking just the 1 and 3. Then I'll "whip/brush" the 2 and 4. Afterwards, put it all together. I remember reading a post from somebody when I first started 4 or 5 years ago that it would take 5-6 years just to get the rhythm down. That is probably just about right unless you have a lot of time to practice.
    jpipper17
    RD-pre-1.mp4 63.8M
  • jeffmatzjeffmatz ChicagoNew
    Get good at the downstroke, til you can do it and it exerts almost no energy. Then throw the upstroke into the mix.
    jpipper17
  • I highly recommend Denis Changs "rhythm techniques vol one" for the upstroke. He breaks down the mechanics of it very slowly and clearly. It helped me a lot. Also, Christiaan Van Hemert and Brad Brose video on common rhythm mistakes was equally helpful
    jpipper17
  • adrianadrian AmsterdamVirtuoso
    jpipper17 wrote: »
    I'm trying to sound like django joseph adrian holovaty or benji winterstein but I dont know if they started out practicing with or without the upstroke

    Hey, since you explicitly named me, I figured I'd respond...

    My own rhythm style has changed a lot over the years. A good thing about posting YouTube videos over a long period of time is that your personal growth gets documented.

    I started with an inconsistent swing-y upstroke with a floppy wrist and too many fills (example), then started muting the 2 and 4 completely with no upstroke (example), then settled on a subtle upstroke (example). I'm sure my style will continue to change.

    All of this is to say: things change over time as you dive deeper into the style, get experience, improve muscle memory/technique, and discover what you really like. I've had to unlearn and relearn plenty of stuff over the years, and I continue to do so.

    It's a noble goal to try to learn it "the right way" from the get go, so as not to accumulate bad habits — but if that's going to cause frustration to the extent that you're going to give up on this style, I don't know whether it's worth the perfectionism. For me, it's been a "two steps forward, one step back" kind of thing. Have fun and keep working at it!!

    Adrian
    rudolfo.christrichter4208BucoBonesjpipper17Bill Da Costa Williams
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Good rhythm playing is very much harder than people think. Try to be patient and have fun. It will take time but your band mates will appreciate it if you get good at it. Playing solos over a sloppy rhythm section is not fun at all. Like anything, keep it as simple as you need to be clean. Don't go for the upstroke in public until you are satisfied with it. I've never felt comfortable with mine (not subtle enough) so I usually avoid it except throw it in occasionally. And if you are playing in a full rhythm section with drums or multiple rhythm instruments just leave it out entirely as it will likely just muddy things up. Less is more, better safe than sorry, etc etc......
    Wim Glennjpipper17
  • edited October 10
    jpipper17 wrote: »
    I have no clue how to frick'n practice rhythm.

    Most don't, even the best of the best. Like, seriously. I've heard it so many times during Django in June classes. That passed learning the basic mechanics, and Dennis' course does it great, it's just the time and devotion that you put in. That it's hard to teach rhythm playing in this style.
    At first it sounded funny, maybe a bit confusing but after a while it started making sense.

    It's kinda the same if you asked how to develop a good single notes tone in lead playing. It's very hard to break it down into pieces that you can then practice. Or design a plan for how to practice either, very tricky.
    It boils down to doing it, listening and scrutinizing your own playing.

    Based on what you posted, you're passed the point of learning the basic mechanics and sound good enough to go to jams and play in a band.

    I get the frustrating part, I was and am in the same shoes but after all it should be about the joy of playing this music.

    One tip I can offer for the upstroke is try to catch only the top 3 strings on the way up. Keep the wrist motion even on the way up following the beat, then by waiting to catch only the top strings you'll be a split second behind the beat and making that sound of short duration.
    Also by trying to avoid the other strings, you'll have to slightly angle the wrist in such way so that once you brush against the strings, it will sound subtle.
    jpipper17adrian
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • MartinGMartinG ParisNew Dupont
    Hi jpipper17,

    Good thing you ask yourself these questions. Just to add a few words to the good things that have already been said, I think 2 things are really hard at making this nice and subtle upstroke.

    1) When mine is not subtle enough, I focus on the side of my right hand thumb. If it softly rakes the low strings before the pick does, that's good ! The upstroke is made by the pick AND the thumb.

    2) When the usptroke does not swing enough (rhythmic placement), but apparently that's not your problem, the exercise is about slowing down the movement and "playing the uspotrke later".

    Hope that helps !
    jpipper17Buco
  • jpipper17jpipper17 New
    edited October 8
    jonpowl wrote: »
    Here is a nice bit of instruction from Robin and Kevin Nolan concerning rhythm. I usually warm up by setting the metronome at a reasonable speed, then raking just the 1 and 3. Then I'll "whip/brush" the 2 and 4. Afterwards, put it all together. I remember reading a post from somebody when I first started 4 or 5 years ago that it would take 5-6 years just to get the rhythm down. That is probably just about right unless you have a lot of time to practice.

    Thanks for that. I like that video, and I like Kevin's sound.
    jeffmatz wrote: »
    Get good at the downstroke, til you can do it and it exerts almost no energy. Then throw the upstroke into the mix.

    Thanks for the input.
    Joshl-m wrote: »
    I highly recommend Denis Changs "rhythm techniques vol one" for the upstroke. He breaks down the mechanics of it very slowly and clearly. It helped me a lot. Also, Christiaan Van Hemert and Brad Brose video on common rhythm mistakes was equally helpful

    Thanks for the input.
    adrian wrote: »
    jpipper17 wrote: »
    I'm trying to sound like django joseph adrian holovaty or benji winterstein but I dont know if they started out practicing with or without the upstroke

    Hey, since you explicitly named me, I figured I'd respond...

    My own rhythm style has changed a lot over the years. A good thing about posting YouTube videos over a long period of time is that your personal growth gets documented.

    I started with an inconsistent swing-y upstroke with a floppy wrist and too many fills (example), then started muting the 2 and 4 completely with no upstroke (example), then settled on a subtle upstroke (example). I'm sure my style will continue to change.

    All of this is to say: things change over time as you dive deeper into the style, get experience, improve muscle memory/technique, and discover what you really like. I've had to unlearn and relearn plenty of stuff over the years, and I continue to do so.

    It's a noble goal to try to learn it "the right way" from the get go, so as not to accumulate bad habits — but if that's going to cause frustration to the extent that you're going to give up on this style, I don't know whether it's worth the perfectionism. For me, it's been a "two steps forward, one step back" kind of thing. Have fun and keep working at it!!

    Adrian

    Thank you for the response. Did you practice adding in the upstroke in the beginning, or is it something that has developed naturally over time?
    Bones wrote: »
    Good rhythm playing is very much harder than people think. Try to be patient and have fun. It will take time but your band mates will appreciate it if you get good at it. Playing solos over a sloppy rhythm section is not fun at all. Like anything, keep it as simple as you need to be clean. Don't go for the upstroke in public until you are satisfied with it. I've never felt comfortable with mine (not subtle enough) so I usually avoid it except throw it in occasionally. And if you are playing in a full rhythm section with drums or multiple rhythm instruments just leave it out entirely as it will likely just muddy things up. Less is more, better safe than sorry, etc etc......

    Thanks for that.
    Buco wrote: »
    jpipper17 wrote: »
    I have no clue how to frick'n practice rhythm.

    Most don't, even the best of the best. Like, seriously. I've heard it so many times during Django in June classes. That passed learning the basic mechanics, and Dennis' course does it great, it's just the time and devotion that you put in. That it's hard to reach rhythm playing in this style.
    At first it sounded funny, maybe a bit confusing but after a while it started making sense.

    It's kinda the same if you asked how to develop a good single notes tone in lead playing. It's very hard to break it down into pieces that you can then practice. Or design a plan for how to practice either, very tricky.
    It boils down to doing it, listening and scrutinizing your own playing.

    Based on what you posted, you're passed the point of learning the basic mechanics and sound good enough to go to jams and play in a band.

    I get the frustrating part, I was and am in the same shoes but after all it should be about the joy of playing this music.

    One tip I can offer for the upstroke is try to catch only the top 3 strings on the way up. Keep the wrist motion even on the way up following the beat, then by waiting to catch only the top strings you'll be a split second behind the beat and making that sound of short duration.
    Also by trying to avoid the other strings, you'll have to slightly angle the wrist in such way so that once you brush against the strings, it will sound subtle.

    Thanks for that. Which strings do you mean when you say top?
    MartinG wrote: »
    Hi jpipper17,

    Good thing you ask yourself these questions. Just to add a few words to the good things that have already been said, I think 2 things are really hard at making this nice and subtle upstroke.

    1) When mine is not subtle enough, I focus on the side of my right hand thumb. If it softly rakes the low strings before the pick does, that's good ! The upstroke is made by the pick AND the thumb.

    2) When the usptroke does not swing enough (rhythmic placement), but apparently that's not your problem, the exercise is about slowing down the movement and "playing the uspotrke later".

    Hope that helps !

    Thank you.

  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Lots of deep and thoughtful responses above, which which I heartily agree.

    The only thing I would add is that you may find your rhythm playing will subtly change (and I mean this in a good way!) once you find like-minded musicians to play with as regularly as possible...
    I live in a little tourist town called Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada, which is about twenty miles north of Niagara Falls.

    If you are ever planning on visiting the beautiful Niagara area, feel free to PM me and perhaps we can get together and do some jamming.
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