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The definitive guide to Gypsy Jazz Rhythm

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  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,471
    Kevin, you're not speaking out of turn, quite the opposite and it's very much appreciated. Afraid I have a bad case of wanting to leave a mark on the world before leaving it, though my wife reminds me constantly, I already have. Never a good means to drive learning, I know. I must drive friends nuts - friends who've helped, in very concrete ways, with a practice routine that makes sense.

    Anyway, you're right, of course. Stripped of the urgency to learn, I'm not certain what's left as a true and authentic. I suspect mastering rhythm playing, in all its potential, would be the bone of desire.
    -Paul

    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
  • Enjoy the voyage, the destination is a figment of the imaginantion.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,471
    Jazzaferri wrote:
    Enjoy the voyage, the destination is a figment of the imaginantion.


    Jay, having lived in a zen and martial ways temple, I've got a million of 'em. I've probably come to the conclusion every "way" is bullshit, and the only truth is sweat. I'm just pretty skilled at constructing castles in clouds. Periodically, you take a step, and realize there's nothing there.
    -Paul

    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
  • bluetrainbluetrain Finland✭✭✭ Cach, Epiphone Triumph, Gibson ES-300
    Posts: 156
    Good example of a rhythm guitar sounding almost totally muted on 2+4 is the title track on Adrien Moignard's first solo record "All the way". Another examples are from Rocky Gressets solo album and songs like "The way you look tonight" and "Polka dots and moonbeams". What is common in these songs is that they are not from gypsy repertoire. And in these songs Mathie Chatelain plays a very groovy rhythm guitar. I think Mathieu Chatelain is the first rhythm guitarist that I've heard playing this kind of groovy rhythm on low-medium tempos and at least with my skills I can't duplicate that rhythm in any other way than totally muting the 2+4.

    What I'm trying to say is that instead of saying that muting 2+4 is wrong I would rather say that there are songs and situations where the rhythm guitarist could use it as an effect to create a different kind of swing and groove. Using it all the time would certainly be a bad idea.

    I don't think it's good idea trying to generalise what is the right way of playing the "gypsy" rhythm. The rhythm guitarist should adapt to the song and to other players and if it feels right to mute 2+4 or let them ring as much as 1+3 then THAT is the right way :)
  • Try lifting the fingers and replacing them (as a pair of 16ths starting on the & of beat 1 and then start lifting our fingers just as your pick starts hitting the strings on beat two. Takes time to master but that way you get kinda a tuned drumbeat on 2 very dry indeed but not completely muted. Once you have it mastered on the metronome at 60 bpm start working the speed up, never losing the dryness.

    If you have a move between beat 2 and 3 make the move on at 2 &

    So the bar count is 1-&a 2-&a 3-&a 4-&a
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Try lifting the fingers and replacing them (as a pair of 16ths starting on the & of beat 1 and then start lifting our fingers just as your pick starts hitting the strings on beat two. Takes time to master but that way you get kinda a tuned drumbeat on 2 very dry indeed but not completely muted. Once you have it mastered on the metronome at 60 bpm start working the speed up, never losing the dryness.

    If you have a move between beat 2 and 3 make the move on at 2 &

    So the bar count is 1-&a 2-&a 3-&a 4-&a
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Weird ...doubled and cant edit
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • dennis wrote:
    Yes of course, Stochelo has an incredible memory and lightning fast reflexes; this is a great video is proof of it (despite it being super cheesy hehe)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1qN3ZM2gMM

    Well, it kinda looked like a contest, and I give the edge to Stochelo, as many notes but more varied both melodically and chordally :lol::lol:

    I would love to hear him do Mystery Pacific
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,161
    bluetrain wrote:
    Good example of a rhythm guitar sounding almost totally muted on 2+4 is the title track on Adrien Moignard's first solo record "All the way". Another examples are from Rocky Gressets solo album and songs like "The way you look tonight" and "Polka dots and moonbeams". What is common in these songs is that they are not from gypsy repertoire. And in these songs Mathie Chatelain plays a very groovy rhythm guitar. I think Mathieu Chatelain is the first rhythm guitarist that I've heard playing this kind of groovy rhythm on low-medium tempos and at least with my skills I can't duplicate that rhythm in any other way than totally muting the 2+4.

    What I'm trying to say is that instead of saying that muting 2+4 is wrong I would rather say that there are songs and situations where the rhythm guitarist could use it as an effect to create a different kind of swing and groove. Using it all the time would certainly be a bad idea.

    I don't think it's good idea trying to generalise what is the right way of playing the "gypsy" rhythm. The rhythm guitarist should adapt to the song and to other players and if it feels right to mute 2+4 or let them ring as much as 1+3 then THAT is the right way :)

    I don't have the Moignard album but I do have the rocky gresset album, on polka dots, it's not fully muted, it almost sounds that way but it's not. I've said it many times, there are certain rhythm styles/players that have a much more muted 2 and 4 than others, but it is never 100% muted, They still hold on to the chord even if it's just a fraction of a second.. Other players that do that are Franko Mehrstein for example... And I don't know if it's on this thread or another one but I gave the example of me backing up on Chriss Campion's debut album on Hotclub Records, it sounds like I'm muting the 2 and 4 too but I'm not (and the mix of the rhythm guitar really sucks).

    Also, I never said that fully muting it was wrong (and if I did , I apologize, I'm usually careful with my wordchoices, but the more you write, the more likely you end up saying something you didn't mean ha), I only said that people are often mistakenly teaching it in a way that's different than what is actually done by the top players in France, Germany, Holland, and Belgium. In that respect, it is "wrong"... But like I said, the fully muted style is an invention based on the misinterpretation of what people here... It's one thing to hear it on a recording or video, but the sound is so much more clearer when you're there in person and you really pay attention

    Watch this video, it's me accompanying Gonzalo, it also sounds like i'm muting it right?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECztDLZyJKQ

    Well i'm not. In videos or cds, the sound is often mixed in a way so that the rhythm guitar is behind the soloist so it's not always easy to truly capture the nuances of what's going on.

    That's kind of what I mean when I say that I often meet a lot of resistance when I try to tell people how it's actually done. Again i'm not angry at all, and I always mean this with the most upmost respect; people will often misinterpret my words even when I word things extremely carefully: I am NOT saying that to fully mute the 2 and 4 is wrong... there are NO rules in music, I am merely saying that it's a new rhythm style that was born out of the misinterpretation of what people hear in recordings. If people love that sound, then by all means, do it; but I'd only have a bit of a beef if people were to teach it as being the way it's done by the top players. Like I said, the guitar player that I hire for my tours does it that way too (mutes the 2 and 4), and I'd really rather have him as my rhythm guitar player than a guy who has perfect sound but cna't keep time or constantly messes up the form... In the end , it's just a little detail really, but I felt like mentioning it because a lot of people are interested in this topic, and everyone is saying something different which creates a lot of confusion. I'm not establishing any kind of rules, i am only telling people what I have observed over the past 13 years, and I have had the opportunity to observe A LOT!

    Let's put it this way, the average non French speaker can't tell the difference between Parisian French and French from say the South of France. Or Quebecois French and French from France in general. But to those who speak French (which I do), the difference is so very clear. Apparently, there are similarities between Norwegian and Swedish, well I can't tell a difference, but I'm sure someone fluent in either of those languages can. I think most people on this forum can tell the difference between British English and American English because we're constantly exposed to it. But take for example my cousin from Taiwan, I remember him telling me recently that he couldn't tell the difference between the various English accents, why is that; well he grew up not having to speak English at all or hear it anywhere except when watching American movies... So likewise, I dare say that I have been exposed to so much Gypsy Jazz rhythm that I'm able to tell exactly what's going on in the nuances...

    Anyway, here's yet another video where you can hear the rhythm guitar very clearly

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPipBbHEcPQ
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