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  • DeuxDoigts_Tonnerre 4:17AM

Rhythm critiques, please

Sat down and tried things a few different ways...can you let me know what you think?

1. Downstroke with intentional "fingers brushing"
2. Old school up stroke
3. Downstream "drier"

Thanks in advance.



  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Probably not the answer you’re expecting but to be able to get a real critique in rhythm guitar, you’d have to play a whole concert with a good player. That’s what I do with my homestay students, I make them play little gigs with me at the local jazz club. I had two students play rhythm this past week, one did well, the other had a lot of trouble, and he ended up feeling really depressed that he had to message me at midnight to tell him how frustrated he was hahah. I told him it wasn’t the end of the world but that was exactlty the point of doing the gig. During our lesson time, I can show him certain things agbout sound and mechanics, but it’s only during a performance that you can truly see if things are working correctly. Unfortunately for him, things went really bad, but again it’s not the end of the world, and it gives him a clearer idea of how subtle and important rhythm is, and for our next lesson, we’ll talk more about strategies for playing rhythm.

    So all that to say, in your video, it doesn’t sound bad to my ears but something that doesn’t help is that we’re watching a video and it’s hard to tell how the guitar is truly projecting without being there, and what we watch can be very misleading. Therefore, I could be wrong, but it sounds as if the sound is going all over the place, making the pulse weaker. It’s all in the fretting hand. You gotta learn to completely dampen the strings as much as possible. In doing so it accentuates the pulse. Another thing is that, from what we hear on the video, sometimes it sounds as if you were hitting the strings maybe a bit too aggressively especially on beats 2+4. Again that could be an illusion of the video , but other than that, it sounded fine-ish.

  • jeffmatzjeffmatz ChicagoNew
    No, I get that...video is pretty limited, but I think this gives a pretty good idea of what I sound like--and I think your criticism is pretty on because those are some of the things I'm still a bit unsure about--part of it being it seems nobody does them EXACTLY the same...

    So the accent on beat 2 and 4 really comes from playing more strings, but it's not really played harder or accented in volume from the picking hand...ok, I can dig that.

    Re: left hand, that's one I hear so much variation in...but I think I'm getting the idea now that it's not about how long the chord rings--players use all sorts of variances there--it's how quick it dies when it's time to die, so to speak.

    Thanks for responding, and in so much detail.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    I've found if I grip lighter with the left hand it's easier to release faster and with less ringing.
  • jeffmatzjeffmatz ChicagoNew
    Yeah, I feel more and more that rhythm playing is a very "light" and crisp sort of thing, if done correctly...basically if your arm tires out doing it, you're doing it wrong.
  • fourowlsfourowls Brisbane, Queensland, AustraliaNew Petrarca Grande Bouche
    I have to say well done to Jeff for even putting himself out there for help and feedback, as the internet is not always as nice as it is in this forum! Thanks Dennis as well (and as a fan of your work and online material) as you always have something great to input!! Good luck Jeff, hope it works out for you!
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    jeffmatz wrote: »
    Re: left hand, that's one I hear so much variation in...but I think I'm getting the idea now that it's not about how long the chord rings--players use all sorts of variances there--it's how quick it dies when it's time to die, so to speak.


    Just to be clear, I was not talking about how long you make the beats last, but about when you release the strings. When you release the strings, you want to make sure to release them very quickly and firmly so that all notes stop quickly and there's no extra resonance from the strings (ie harmonics). Certain guitars resonante from the tailpiece or elsewhere, so that can't be avoided, but the ones from the strings can. So when you manage to do this, the sound suddenly stops, and it gives more "weight" to the pulse. It was something that Fapy told me a long time ago, and it didn't make sense right away, until I heard it. It'd be easier for me to demonstrate it in person, and I usually do it in workshops and people hear the difference.

    But again, the video format doesn't make it clear what you are doing. It would maybe be better if you posted a video where the microphone is capturing the sound from farther away.

  • jeffmatzjeffmatz ChicagoNew
    No, you're explaining it well--that's exactly what I'm saying in that part of my post you quoted...it's about the "cut off," when that note ends, it needs to END.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Yeah what Dennis said. Gonzalo gave me similar advice.

    Also, just as an aside, not regarding ur video, watch out for stray harmonics even when u r damping. Not having ur fingers right over the frets when damping will prevent this (i.e. have ur fingers between the frets). Sounds obvious but took me a while to figure it out.
  • edited October 2018
    The first example sounds good to me.
    The second, it sounds like adding the upstroke plays a trick on your mind, making your left hand damping not consistent and in the pocket like the first time through. Here's where I'm hearing what Dennis mentioned, but not so much the first time through.
    This is why I said and think upstroke is better left to naturally shows up and it will with time because of other mechanics involved. Once it does show up, it's presence doesn't have any effect on what the left hand is doing. At this point, you have two things to think about simultaneously, adding the upstroke and left hand pumping. And it sounds like you want to subconsciously pump when the right hand is just grazing the strings on the upstroke. At the same you know you shouldn't and you mostly correct it, but it's enough to shake things up.
    In the third example, the tempo suddenly picked up which again I think played a role in going out of pocket.
    You know what you're doing, the rhythm playing just needs more time to develop muscle memory and clean things up.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • jeffmatzjeffmatz ChicagoNew
    Thanks, yeah, the upstroke is very counter-intuitive to me...heck, the whole thing is...previously I've played American style jazz rhythm (a LA freddie green) for the last 15 years or so, so the all downstrokes feels much more natural.

    I'm definitely finding that having the pick and just a bit of the back of the picking hand fingers brushing is the most "right" sounding. I've been working a lot the past two days on the left hand dampening...I'll post again in a week or so--and put the phone farther away.

    Thanks for responding!
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