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Rhythm

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Postby Sansmerci » April 16th, 2012, 6:06 am

I'm having trouble keeping a steady rhythm when I play; I do ok when I am just strumming chords but if/when I try and sing along (as my teacher seems to encourage) the rhythm flies out of the window. I put this down to the fact that if I'm singing along I can't be counting out the beats in my head. Would a metronome be a useful investment do people think?
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Postby Alan Green » April 16th, 2012, 11:07 am

Check out our beloved leader's article "If I only had another brain" which addresses exactly the problem you're facing.

Clickety click

You are not alone.

A metronome is always useful but if you're struggling to play the chords and sing then your head is going to explode if you try to strum, sing and listen to a metronome at the same time.
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"I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk

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Postby Sansmerci » April 16th, 2012, 12:20 pm

Interesting lesson and made a lot of sense! Thanks.
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Postby Cat » April 16th, 2012, 1:49 pm

I'd say another 1000 hours and you'll be okay. Other than that, there is this pill I heard about...you take it before going to bed and you wake up knowing how to play.

C'mon...dude...have fun with it. That's all your motivation is missing.

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Postby Liontable » April 17th, 2012, 5:34 am

I found it a very valuable question to be honest! :D
There's nothing as frustrating as working hard on something while you don't know if it will bring results, or even worse: do the exact opposite of what you want to achieve. Enjoying the road is imperative if you want to keep on playing, but I don't see anything wrong with asking the way! :wink:
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Postby Sansmerci » April 17th, 2012, 7:10 am

Cat wrote:C'mon...dude...have fun with it. That's all your motivation is missing.

Cat

I am having fun but I like to have the best fun I can manage if that makes any sense ... kind of like if you want to do something you might as well do it well?
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Postby Crow » April 17th, 2012, 7:15 am

Sansmerci wrote:...I like to have the best fun I can manage if that makes any sense ... kind of like if you want to do something you might as well do it well?


Makes perfect sense. I find the fun factor goes way up when things start going "right." 8)

And welcome to the forums!
"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream." - Frank Zappa
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Postby Cat » April 17th, 2012, 1:44 pm

Absolutely, Crow. The 'fun factor' rules. Lots of beginners get lost in frustration as one finger trips over another. It's sometimes quite a chore to see the fun in that...but eventually, you get there. There's fun and satisfaction in that...

Cat
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Postby dogbite » April 18th, 2012, 4:06 pm

there are all manners of rhythm playing. this is a huge topic. most times as music listeners we love a song, not so much as what the lyrics are, but how the song makes one feel. the rhythm section in the song, I feel, is key.
often, I find posts on this forum that ask about strumming patterns for certain songs. I see short hand U D U D/U D U for example.
I must now feel blessed or lucky. when I began learning to play guitar my best friend was playing drums. (he was really good too).
we played together all the time. I guess I picked up rhythm and now have none of the problems that some do. I never have to think much of how to play the chords when learning a new song. I listen to the song, listen for the beats, and right off, I got the rhythm.
since most haven't a drummer maybe a metronome would be cool. I often think of having one.
it is easy to download drumtracks for certain songs these days. that's my recommendation.
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Postby TRGuitar » April 19th, 2012, 4:48 am

Playing and singing can be like patting your head and rubbing your stomach, but with practice, it will come to you. I do alright, actually quite well at it but my voice isn't the best so that is my downfall. I do find sometimes covering a band where the singer doesn't play an instrument to be challenging. Aerosmith's Walk This Way would be a good example. Keep at it, keep it fun and downloading rhythm tracks is a great idea.
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Postby Vic Lewis VL » April 19th, 2012, 6:02 pm

It isn't easy playing and singing at the same time.....I've found over the years either the guitar playing gets simplified a little, especially if it's a slightly complicated strumming pattern, or the voice tends to be weaker because I'm concentrating so much on the chords. However......we are not alone in this. Take a listen to, say, some Cream....studio versions of songs feature some amazing bass lines by Jack Bruce, and some great vocals.....but listen to some of the same songs live, and you'll notice the bass lines are very much simpler....and the vocals aren't as strong. If such a high-class musician (and I'd rate him in the all-time top 5 (rock) bass players) can't reproduce live what he does in the studio, what hope is there for us mere mortals?

My own way of tackling a song I want to sing and play is simple....I learn the guitar part I'm playing till it's second nature and I can almost do it in my sleep - or at least on autopilot! - then start singing along. It might take me a while, a fair bit of practice, and a whole lot of frustration - but I'll get there eventually, because I'm (a) motivated - I wouldn't be playing the song if I didn't like it and (b) I'm too stubborn to admit failure....I've come so far the last few years, I'm not going to be beaten by a song I love, and (c) did I mention I'm stubborn? Single-minded is more like it...once I've decided to learn a new song, I'll concentrate on that almost exclusively till I've got it down to my satisfaction. Stubborn, single-minded, tunnel vision, totally focussed....that's how I am when I'm learning a new song.

Works for me, anyway - others may have different methods of learning a song.

Oh and some songs are just impossible to play and sing anyway....Sweet Jane springs immediately to mind. Unless, of course, you're Lou Reed. I'm still struggling with that one, been trying to get the riff and vocals in sync for about 5 years now. Pfft. Gave it up as a bad job....I'm NOT Lou Reed!

:D :D :D

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Postby Sansmerci » April 19th, 2012, 11:59 pm

Vic Lewis VL wrote: Take a listen to, say, some Cream....studio versions of songs feature some amazing bass lines by Jack Bruce, and some great vocals.....but listen to some of the same songs live, and you'll notice the bass lines are very much simpler....and the vocals aren't as strong. If such a high-class musician (and I'd rate him in the all-time top 5 (rock) bass players) can't reproduce live what he does in the studio, what hope is there for us mere mortals?


Talk about coincidences. My teacher just gave me a piece to play/learn whatever by Cream - 'Sunshine of Your Love' I think the title is. I need to go find it from somewhere to listen to as I'm not familiar with it at all. But then 1967 (or whenever it was released) is a good while before I was even born. Right now I keep looking at the paper with it printed on and feeling mildly intimidated.
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Postby kpheard » April 21st, 2012, 4:09 pm

Hi,
I really advise that the best way to improve your rythmn and timing, is to play along with a cd or mp3.
Yes a metronome is an alternative but boring! Keep it fun by choosing a song you like and play along with it. Also, you could download some backing tracks for free online and play along. If you have a reference point to keep up with, it should improve your rythmn and help you to keep time better.
Choose a song that you can play easily and focus on the tempo rather than worrying about your chord changes etc.
I play and sing at the same time pretty much on autopilot but I still get caught out on some tricky songs. Just takes practise.
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