Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Timing problem...is this common?


ClarkW

Recommended Posts



  • Replies 15
  • Created
  • Last Reply
Some guitarists have trouble counting because they don't have to live by it like bassists and drummers. You should hear some of the crazy ways the guitarists I play with count out stuff. Its even funnier sometimes when they talk about "feel" and "groove."
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Metric chicanery :D WBAGNFARB

 

Something similar happened to me recently- We have a song that starts with a fast snare roll to the downbeat. We were having trouble synching everything up, until I realized that I was counting the roll 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 and 6 and 7 and 8, but the drummer was counting the downbeat as well, effectively making his count 9 instead of my 8. Ungood.

And this guy is always solid as a rock, he's a machine.

 

We just counted that part differently. Perhaps it's just a difference thing, rather than a guitarist thing.

Or maybe guitarists are just freaks. :)

 

Peace,

 

wraub

 

p.s. We fixed the song, works great now.

Thanks for asking.

 

I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.

 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If people want to devise their own counting systems to help them understand things that is fine.

 

If they want to be able to communicate with others they need to learn the standard way of counting things.

 

"Three and a half beats after I start" doesn't cut it.

 

But as far as progressive rock, I thought one of the features was odd length measures and phrases and varying time signatures.

 

I don't think you should cut this out of your music in order to make it easier to play.

 

I knew a drummer once who went into a cabin in the woods for two years and devised an entire notation system to write down his drum parts.

 

Then when he reemerged into society he realized that there already was a notation system and all his work was to reinvent the wheel.

 

On the other hand, when I studied West African drumming (from the Ewe tribe of Ghana), the instructor specifically did not want us to notate anything. Notebooks were forbidden in class. We had to remember all rhythms that we learned.

 

We learned that there really is not a concept of "one" or 4/4 or 12/8 (even though to our western ears all these things are happening (and both time signatures are happening at the same time.))

 

Each part is dependent on all the other parts and we were specifically instructed to start a particular part after hearing a specific note in another part.

 

Coincindentally around the same time, I met Paul Jackson and we jammed together a few times. He expressed a similar concept, "don't worry about where "one" is, if everyone is playing a repeating part which locks with the other parts, "one" will take care of itself".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by jeremy c:

Coincindentally around the same time, I met Paul Jackson and we jammed together a few times. He expressed a similar concept, "don't worry about where "one" is, if everyone is playing a repeating part which locks with the other parts, "one" will take care of itself".

Aha - so that's the secret!

 

I've been wondering for years how Mike Clarke and Paul Jackson kept track of the one when they play those time/space warping syncopated patterns. :freak:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Problem is, everyone may "feel" the music the same way, but the musicians need to learn how to count it the same.

 

I still have a problem with one specific tune wherein most musicians can't define where 1 is. They can feel syncopation, but they can't count it correctly. Yes, there is a correct way.

 

And as Jeremy said, "But as far as progressive rock, I thought one of the features was odd length measures and phrases and varying time signatures. I don't think you should cut this out of your music in order to make it easier to play."

 

I don't simplify anything for anyone. If it's supposed to have some character, then the musicians are just going to have to learn it.

 

Otherwise, you may as well just "jam in E".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A couple stories. for those who don't know me, i'm a keyboard guy who sometimes fills a bass role. In both stories here, I was NOT the bass player.

 

1974, college days, my first fusion band. We're working on Billy Cobham's "Spectrum". Nice little jam, but always falls apart after the bridge's final lick - 5 4# 4 3b 1 3b 1. We finally stop and take it apart: turns out, (politically incorrect moment, sorry) all the white guys were playing it like the last note was the new downbeat, and all the um, other guys :D were playing it (correctly) like it was on 4, and starting the groove over again on the next beat. But until we sat down and analyzed it, the rhythm section (right) couldn't figure out what we (wrong) were doing, and vice versa. We had all just been trying to feel it, but the lick-oriented guys felt it one way, and the groove-oriented guys felt it another. I learned a lot that day.

 

1977, my first career band, we're learning something complicated - maybe Mangione's big-ass hit, whatever that was called: anyhow, I wrote this kinda complex 2-bar tag for it, and the drummer was having trouble counting it. So we told him, just memorize it like it was a lick - he did, and played it fine, but he was feeling the need to master it. We spent 45 minutes of having someone (3 ex-drummers in the band too) bang a cowbell while he listened, counted, played, fumbled, and cursed his way through it. He finally gave up. He always played the part correctly, but he couldn't count it.

 

What I got out of this: Some peoples' brains just work that way. They may be more likely to not be part of the rhythm section, or of a certain demographic, but it ain't a lock. It's been real helpful to know this when working with singers, especially (!!!) church singers - some things they just won't get, so be ready to give them big cues, and to follow them and bring them back when they get lost: maybe that's why they call us "pastoral musicians", LOL.

 

www.npm.org

 

Daf

I played in an 8 piece horn band. We would often get bored. So...three words:

"Tower of Polka." - Calumet

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by jeremy c:

But as far as progressive rock, I thought one of the features was odd length measures and phrases and varying time signatures.

Perhaps, but it makes me wonder sometimes if the origin of this fascination was simply a musician who had no concept of feel or groove. :)

 

As I've said, I'm not at all opposed to playing a whole song in 7/8, or playing two measures of 4/4 followed by two measures of 5/4, over and over, but for goodness sake, give it a feel. Don't make the song sound like the record/CD is skipping or the tape got cut wrong.

 

Originally posted by jeremy c:

Coincindentally around the same time, I met Paul Jackson and we jammed together a few times. He expressed a similar concept, "don't worry about where "one" is, if everyone is playing a repeating part which locks with the other parts, "one" will take care of itself".

This is a great view of things and uses a key word: repeating. I'd love to hear a song where one guy is playing 3/8, one 2/4, one 5/8, one 6/8, one 4/4, one 6/4 and one 15/8, and every 60 8th notes they all synch up again with glorious harmony. But to put an extra 8th note in the middle of a song that is entirely 4/4 because someone is incapable of counting to 4 over and over indepentently of what they're playing, or to fit what they are playing into 4 beats? Bleh.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

WARNING: SHAMELESS PLUG AHEAD!!

 

By any chance, you didn\'t happen to see one of the latest T-shirts?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v506/atmofmn/T-Shirts/rhythm.jpg

 

Anyway, our orchestra once did "Stand By Me." The sheet music confused the heck out of us. Syncopated and not starting on one, it took a while before we finally got the feel of it, then it was easy.

 

ATM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

of the topic a little bit, but I would say that this guys lack of attention to rhythm came from the method which he used to "get his chops up"

 

now if he (and it sounds like the type of band that would necesitate some shreading on the guitarist part) shreads a lot that leads me to believe that he spent a lot of time learning riffs when he was starting out,

 

Nnot concentrating on how a band got into a certain riff or out of and how that riff sits within like a 4 or 8 bar phrase. Therefore when people practice like this to thier ear hears the first note they play as beat 1.

 

I could be wrong but I dare say thats one of the problems good luck with it all

 

Godbless

Play it once it's a mistake, play it twice and its Jazz
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I think Bass_in_August is on to a plausible explaination. A g****r player I've played with for years can't read music and learned to play Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog" riff -- especially the "crazy" part in E before going back to the main riff in A -- by "feel". He learned time signatures and at least he can count the darn thing right now. :)

 

ATM also states the obvious: the world does not revolve around the g****r player no matter how much he thinks it does. :)

 

And DafDuc, were you perhaps thinking of "Rise" by Mr. Fleuglemeister? :D

 

I find it more fun to have a war of "questionable timing fills" with the drummer. You know, the drummer goes into a fill and you just pray to God that when he comes out you'll hit the downbeat with him? ;) Just remember to give as good as you get ... and watch 'em squirm on their little throne!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Clark - we are going through something like this for a MUCH easier tune - Pick Up The Pieces. At the end of the progression, everyone hits the V chord and holds until we come around again. There is one time before the bridge that is held longer, but we struggle with the "easy" parts.

 

We fought with this when we first picked up this tune, and decided to let the keys guy (who is playing the lead with a sax patch) just signal us. Aside from getting a keys player to do a physically obvious signal, he was doing it wrong. He kept saying "you count to 5". It was always off. Those of us that were hanging and just had to hit the "1" on queue were mostly OK, but the drummer was kinda keeping a beat here, and was sometimes surprised by where the "1" fell, though we were usually together.

 

When we recorded a demo a few weeks back, Pick Up The Pieces was on the list. We did a run through and it was worse than usual. I am not an expert at this type of thing, and the keyboard guy is classically trained. We had the original recording and listened, and for the first time I really forced myself to count it out. The problem is that the big "last note of the phrase" that we hold comes on the 4th beat of the measure. The keys guy kept treating that as the "1". Once I figured that out, I counted it and literally jumped in the air when the "1" came around and we started up again. I had to do something big because we'd been confused for so long, but it worked, and the drummer was right in place (because the "1" was the "1"). In all fairness, this goof on the part of our keys guy is unusual - he usually helps "decode" awkward stuff for others in the band.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...