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Short rhythm guitar lessons

edited March 11 in Technique Posts: 4,292

I recorded this a few days ago. It doesn't go over every single aspect of lapompe but points out a few things the way I see them. Sometimes beginners come around looking for stuff like this so there's another view.

Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel


  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,815

    Well, Buco, that is indeed very fine guidance indeed, as we have come to expect from our national resource…

    You remind me of what we used to say back in my teaching days… “Don’t be the sage on the stage! Be the guide on the side!”

    But a couple of things come to mind while watching…

    • I didn’t quite understand the subtitle that appeared on the screen midway thru… would you care to hallucinate?
    • when you were playing the beat 2/4 chords and clipped them off quickly, your guitar would produce a tiny angelic choir of overtones, wonderful to hear… these gypsy guitars are the greatest thing since oral sex…
    • very much agree with your comments about Hot Club rhythm, which was revolutionary at the time—- and btw, did you know that on their first UK tour it was bassist Louis Vola who stole the spotlight from Django and Stephane? The British had never heard such bass playing.

    Anyway, thanks again, Buco for all that you bring to this website…


    Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

    Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."

    Georges Braque: "In art there is only one thing that counts: the bit that can’t be explained."
  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Altamira M10
    Posts: 994

    Brilliant, as always, Buco! Will, if the subtitle you are referring to is the "...practice playing" one, I think he was trying to "overdub" what he intended to say, rather than what the original audio says. He's trying to show the method one might practice getting those sounds.

    On a different topic, one effective way I've seen to illustrate the fully choked sound is to move your fretting hand to different positions on the neck or different chord shapes, but you still just hear the same choked sound. Whereas, when you run through the same progression half-choked or fully fretted, you hear the harmonic information coming from the various chords. If you are hearing the chords change, then your half-choke is about right. If you aren't hearing the chords, you need to adjust to get those chords to differ.

  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited March 4 Posts: 3,294

    Yeah Buco. I think of 1 and 3 as a "rake" and 2 and 4 as a "thwack".

    I don't worry about hitting the B and high E strings because they are muted anyway by the fingers of the left hand (at least for the Freddie Green chords I use) they just add more percussion sound. Maybe on faster tempos you can miss them on the 1 and 3 just to shorten up the stroke if necessary.

    To make the left hand muting between beats easier I don't grab the chord grip any tighter than necessary to get the amount of tone I want which also saves energy in the left hand as an added bonus. Easier/quicker to mute between beats and economical of motion/energy. No point squeezing the neck until the proverbial "eagle grins" only to have to release it right away.

  • edited March 4 Posts: 4,292

    Thank you all.

    What Bill said, Will. As I was editing the video, I realized I didn't emphasize that this is what you could do while practicing to hear the difference between the sounds and train your right hand. In a sense, that's a zoomed in version of what's going on. So I figured a subtitle will clarify...or not, ha.

    And indeed, Will, I intentionally chose the C9 as this is the most satisfying chord for me to play on these guitars. And there's no other acoustic guitar that can do just that. It sounds so frickin good. I don't know if I'd go that far like you but it serves the point, it's really an aural pleasure.

    Bill, you're right, I used to do that to demonstrate how full mute sound is just wrong. I'd play rhythm and for 2 and 4 portion of the bar I'd move my hand elsewhere on the fretboard. You explained it perfectly. It's a big misconception when it comes to rhythm playing in this genre. At first I was going to take some time to talk about that but decided against it because I wanted to focus on the point of the video, the difference between the two groups of beats.

    Bones, those are good and accurate terms. I wanted to go further and think of a way to put things in a practical "this is what you do" kind of way. Actually, this is a little funny, you're the reason in part why I mentioned that during 1 and 3 some people play less strings. Because there's is not one right way.

    The beauty of this rhythm guitar playing is that it takes a lot of time and practice to hit that extremely narrow sweet spot where it sounds good. But within this sweet spot, there are a lot of micro variations that differentiate the styles so you can still have lots of freedom. Just as long as it all sounds the same... just kiddin'

    Also, you're spot on as far grabbing the strings just enough to produce the sound. I think I got that part down but I lift the fingers off a bit too much between the beats. So if I play something like Limehouse at a high tempo, 280 and higher, my left hand gets fatigued. I think it's because of that extra motion. Dennis actually pointed that out to me in the class. I never hit the limit with my right hand, but left can definitely want to quit on me.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited March 5 Posts: 3,294

    Oh good point Buco, I never really thought about economy of motion on the mute too much, just not to completely lose contact with the strings but now that you mention it I will pay attention to that. I was mostly just focused on minimal grip because of my left-hand arthritis and trying not to aggravate that. Plus any economy of motion (grip or release) facilitates faster tempos. Thanks

  • BrettNBrettN New
    Posts: 38
  • Posts: 4,292
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Posts: 4,292

    Another one on the infamous rhythm upstroke and my view about that.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Altamira M10
    Posts: 994

    What are folks thoughts here on starting the song with the upstroke? I've heard some say not to play it on the very first beat of the song. Maybe I've even heard someone say that Django never played it on the first beat of the song, but I've never taken the time to go listen to all the tracks. I have probably done it both ways and, like Buco mentions toward the end, I need to be intentional to leave it out.

    As for timing the upstroke, Tcha talks about how his father has a very "heavy" right hand. I think you hear that in the timing of his upstroke in songs like this below. He seems to wait to almost the very last possible moment to play that upstroke (and then maybe even a microsecond longer). It gives it an almost asymmetric effect that I think I hear only in him (Vivi).

  • edited March 11 Posts: 4,292

    I need to listen but by your description, that's the right way to do it. That's what I'm going for, again I need to be intentional. Didn't we jam once and you pointed out how I was playing with the upstroke and I was completely unaware?

    If gypsy jazz rhythm is like a drummer of the band, then this upstroke is a high hat.

    I'm listening to it now. It's almost as if he's not playing it as upstroke but prior to 1 and 3 he flicks his wrist over the top few strings. I'm gonna try it this way but probably not easy to approach it this way on the uptempo tunes.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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