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Gypsy Rhythm: How loud should it be?

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  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,471
    Can't edit the post - anyone know why this happens from time to time? - but wanted to add, as a point of interest - compare Nous'che and Hono's left arm, when playing swing. Hono is like a rock, totally loose, but his arm is almost completely still, while his wrist is completely loose yet flies square and even (we're talking, say, swing of a medium uptempo). Nous'che, on the other hand, allows his arm to follow his wrist more, so his arm will swing, its range of motion dependent to an extent on tempo. These are all subtleties, one of so many, and one of the reasons I rhythm, this part of playing this style, so interesting.
    -Paul

    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
  • guit-boxguit-box ✭✭
    Posts: 47
    Well, if you say they're hitting all the strings on 2 and 4, I'll take your word for it, but it sure looks like (at least in the videos I posted) that they are staying on the lower 4 strings most of the time for all beats. But, I've never talked to any of these players, so you guys would know more than me. That said, I have experienced many guitar teachers who say one thing and do another. Could it be that modern players are modifying the traditional teaching of all 6 strings on beats 2 and 4?
  • Check out this thread if you want to be confounded even further:
    viewtopic.php?f=18&p=62250
  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,471
    Guit-box, first, know I'm no authority. I've just got a pretty deep desire for rhythm playing, so I focus on it, so again I'd recommend you lean on guys like Dennis or Ted Gottsegen (look through some of Ted's stuff here, or on the hot club UK forum, true rhythm masters, for some experiential wisdom.

    As far as my above comments go, I was speaking to Nous'che, as he's the singular player I most try to work from. Using him as an example, he's got such a light touch, it's easy to miss alot from things like youtube, etc. If you are somehow able to slow him down, and watch his hands (something "Hemert" here, his RA Nous'che course, does really well), you do get it pretty clearly.

    Stochelo talks about the same thing, and shows "bad" playing equally well, on Denis's DVD, "In the Style of Stochelo Rosenberg" (learned a ton here, too...Stochelo's no slouch in the rhythm department. Quite the opposite. I'd heartily recommend this DVD, for both lead ideas, and rhythm playing).

    If you do watch this DVD, Stochelo shows a kind of clanging attack on the bass strings, which is a fairly common beginner's thing, I venture to say - and I am a prime example. I well remember trying to rid my playing of this harsh bass attack. It's taken a lot of time and a lot of hours to get to a place where I feel I'm doing some justice to this "light and dry" style of playing. Stochelo shows this and other "flaws," and very definitely says, and shows - hit every string.

    At the end of the day, I think it all comes down to the soloist and what they want. I remember talking to Gonzalo about this at DIJ 2012. One thing that's always puzzled me, if only the lower strings are used on all beats - why voice chords so fully, to include high-string notes? I asked Gonzalo about this, in a rhythm class. In his case, I picked up he's not too keen on rhythm players mucking around on higher areas - higher strings, 3rd position choices (I may be completely wrong, and would deign to Gonzalo, of course, on this idea, in case I'm misrepresenting him).

    On the other hand, I talked with Jack Soref, with whom I played a gig awhile back as a duo, here in Madison. I asked him if he had an issue with higher voicings, and his answer was, not at all. Timekeeping, drive but a graceful drive, swing....these mattered to him (not that I accomplished any...), but not so much this notion of staying in more bass areas.

    Anyway, I think the main thing I'm trying to say - and this is really just agreeing with what Denis has talked about quite a bit on this forum - vids can be deceiving, especially when a player is doing something really subtly. 320 bpm, the flick of the wrist and the ROM of the wrist and arm are small (in Nous'che's case, the range of motion narrows, as his tempo increases; like a lot of players), and incredibly fast - well, I think it is really tough to pick it up, unless you're in person, and you ask the player to slow it down.
    -Paul

    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,471
    Thanks for the reminder, Jim. That's a great thread. And Eddy, if you're around, thank you again for doing this. Great thread, great video clip of several rhythm approaches.
    -Paul

    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,471
    Another interesting thread, from the hot club UK forum.
    -Paul

    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
  • Paul.....Not sure if by higher voicings you are writing about voicings on the upper strings but in the 3-7th fret area or higher voicings using the upper strings higher up the neck.

    For me, I try and keep conscious of where the melody line is or the soloist is playing and try and not muddy those waters. With other guitars that to me means playing on the part of the neck they are not.

    For things like sax, violin clarinet and voice then it becomes a bit more open but eh principle is still there. If playing with a bass, often chord voicings without the tonic in the bass work nicely/
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,471
    Jay, both, that's actually what I meant by "higher strings, 3rd position," just examples of heading into treble land. I hear you on staying out of the soloist's waters. Though one thing I've been thinking of, relative to my own nascent ensemble, is the relative freedom afforded a rhythm guitarist, in a trio setting, like the Rosenbergs. Nous'che's trippy (well, trippy, as in new to me...and difficult!) use of first position voicings on the high strings, e.g., rhythm changes in D as xx4232, pinky on the 3rd, thumb just a mute at low E string at F# or G...I would have thought "too trebly" for an accompanist...but it works for them, so it's a new window for me to think about.

    The Nous'che course also really opened my eyes to exactly what you write above, staying out of the bassist's territory - why, for instance, Nous'che will often leave off the root in a 6/9 voicing (e.g., 3x55455, where he'll often omit the G and just rest his thumb and mute the low E string, at A#). Cool stuff, new to me.
    -Paul

    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
  • wimwim ChicagoModerator Barault #503 replica
    Posts: 1,459
    Too loud rhythm players are the worst , and the bad thing is you only need one of them to ruin a djam ..
    I agree with most of what was in the original post, but a few things..
    -It's not true that bit about hitting all strings meaning you are playing loud , you can still play softly like this as others have already pointed out
    -Playing too loud accompaniment robs the soloist of dynamic range. They have to play full volume then all the time and it's a detriment to the music. I agree with what wawau said about soloists that play loud all the time, it's tasteless

    The diversion about hitting all strings or not isn't really related to volume , but it's interesting too:
    -Different people have different opinions about how it should be (or what they like to play over), for example denis makes an explicit mention in art of accompaniment dvd that you should hit all the strings. then gonzalo makes an explicit mention in his style of dvd that he likes the rhythm to just be focussed on the bass i.e. the bottom 4 strings. so who's "correct"? well, neither, it's more a matter of what you like - or what the soloist wants to play over.
    personally i disagree with denis on this one, i also like the fat bass chords with fifths like gonzalo talked about in rhythm. i don't like those treble strings in the rhythm much unless there's a good reason (e.g. interesting extensions up there that you want in the voicing). having high notes in the rhythm guitar is taking away some nice notes for the soloist to use , and can eventually sound like it's competing with the soloist rather than accompanying them. especially with rhythm players that add heaps of annoying fills and tricks and embellishments. on the other hand, django did this kind of stuff all the time, and it sounds great !! i guess you just have to be really good at it, maybe that's the key .. :lol:
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,161
    well just because you *strive* (and strive being the keyword here) hit all the strings doesn't mean you have to make all strings sound equally.. when i teach i make the student focus all the energy on the bass strings (on the 1 and 3 that is), so that we barely hear the top strings (if the right hand does go that far down)...

    i know in my old dvd i had a bunch of exercises to help practice getting all the strings, but i should've been more clear on that aspect... i'm actually gonna redo those videos i did 7 yrs ago and make things much clearer.

    here are videos of me demonstrating the rhythms with upstroke and with downstroke... as to whether i actually hit all the strings, i'm not sure myself, but i strive to get as many as possible (again on the 1 and 3) so that i have a healthy range of motion





    btw , back in the day django especially emphasized the trebble stgrings on the 2 and 4 as evidence in this recording



    when he's not doing the bass line thing, i have a feeling he's hitting all the strings on the 1 and 3, check it out at 0:50 ...
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