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Rythm Question

Hey, just curious. I hear A LOT of people saying how Rythm is so important, and even more important than Lead. Quick question is, how exactly do you know if you're a good rythm player or not? Is there some sort of excercise to do to make you a better rythm player?

Thanks for helping out a Newbie.
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Re: Rythm Question

7/16/2001 2:01 AM

Robert Silvia (1575) wrote:

I've never know a good lead player that couldn't play rhythm just as well. Also to add to what the find advise already given, knowing many chord voicings and being able to create your own is also a hallmark of a good rhythm player.

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Re: Rythm Question

7/16/2001 5:13 AM

Jon Riley (9697) wrote:

Like great comedy, the secret of great music is


"It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing".
"There's no such thing as a wrong note, only a wrong time to play it."

If you can dance well, you'd probably make a good rhythm player. So IMO the best exercise for a rhythm guitarist is dancing!

It's about feeling the pulse of the music in your body. You feel it lift you, like a second heartbeat.
You need to know the beat count subconsciously. You don't need to count "1-2-3-4" - because you know where the pulse is. You play around it. You can play slightly ahead of or behind the beat.
In some jazz music, sometimes nobody is playing the beat (the underlying pulse) - but they all know where it is.

It's a difficult thing to know when you've got it yourself.
You always know when someone else has it - or doesn't! And yet the clumsiest rhythm players can believe they're OK themselves. (I've known a few...)

I think, as with all musical skills, you can learn a lot from listening to music: i.e., listening hard, and focussing on that area.
The greatest rhythm players in rock are (were!) Keith Richard and Pete Townshend - they knew the power of syncopation.
In jazz, almost anyone: but Thelonius Monk and Billie Holiday in particular - what they did with time was amazing and subtle. Listen closely, and get inside the music!
And Django Reinhardt, although rhythmically simpler, had terrific drive, incredible power.


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Re: Rythm Question

7/16/2001 6:04 AM

Antonio Rosa (6847) wrote:

Hi Joe,
I'm one of those who keep saying rythm is important.
It's easier to answer by the negative. I was not a good rythm player because my timing was not good and I couldn't hold a sequence of chords correctly (for instance, a 12 bar blues sequence).
It's important we can keep our rythm going independently of the soloist. When i was not counting the cycles right, some solo part could suggest a chord change, and I did the changes in the wrong place.
For me this is the basics. After that, you have an arsenal of tricks, like bass runs, backstops, etc. Develop and can use variety is very the complement of basics.

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Re: Rythm Question

7/16/2001 6:52 AM

Bruce Maag (15581) wrote:

Good rhythm players are in fact hard to find. And like you I have a hard time spelling the word correctly !!   LOL

They hang right in there with the Bass and Drum players keeping your band tight knit. I have found that the rhythm guitarist is indeed more of an asset than a guy wailing away at lead.

Like these guys have already mentioned, the rhythm guitarist needs that timing skill, and I have heard more rhythm players flub up than the rest of the band.

Play some rhythm parts WITH OUT a metronome, record them, and then see where you are at with your timing. Better yet find (or if you already are in a band), a good drummer as a practice tool, if one is handy   :~)

My advice is to practice rhythm and get it down, before tackling lead lines.


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Re: Rythm Question

7/16/2001 9:39 AM

Robert Strait (6660) wrote:

Hi Joe -

Yes, being a good rhythm player is extremely important. If you play good rhythm, then you will get a lot more work, and more people will want to play with you. A good rythm player is much more valuable than a great lead player (and, yes, I have met plenty of good lead players who could not play good rhythm) The things you need to do?

1)Have a great sense of time. This means being able to play in exact time, as well as slightly ahead of or behind the beat (which creates different "feels"). Contrary to opinions expressed in this post, a metronome is an essential tool. How can you control playing behind or ahead of the beat if you can't play on the beat or you don't even know where the beat is?

2)Be familiar with all kinds of rhythms. This means being comfortable with all the subdivisions (1/4, 1/8, 1/16, triplets, etc.) as well as becoming familiar with characteristic rhythms which occur in different styles of music (i.e. Funk's many 1/16 note rhythms, or Jazz swing 1/8's).

3)Know your harmony and lots of chords. This means not only knowing all of the different chords and lots of voicings, but understanding how they function within the harmony.

4)Finally, THE most important aspect of rhythm playing (next to, perhaps, a good sense of time)...listening! The ability of the rhythm player to be a good listener is essential. You are an integral part of the ensemble and you must be able to listen to be able to blend in and create a band sound. More importantly, you need to be able to react to the musician's and the performances around you, especially the singer's or soloist. It's your job to support them and make them sound better. Sometimes, the greatest rhythm player is the one you don't even notice is there. His playing is so in tune with the band sound that he draws little attention to himself. Also, if someone screws up, you can't let that throw you off, become obvious, or kill the whole song. You have to learn to cover up not only your mistakes, but the mistakes of other's in the band. Learning to make mistakes sound intentional is a great skill to have, not only to cover up, but to be able to capitalize on some mistakes, learn from them, and maybe even find something new and creative as a result.

One last suggestion: listen to the great rhythm players and try to absorb their styles and nuances. Some notables: Steve Cropper, Jimmy Nolen (James Brown), and Jimi Hendrix, to name just a few.

Good Luck!

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Re: Rythm Question

7/16/2001 7:41 PM

Tim Floto (6151) wrote:

Just adding to your list: Pete Townshend and Keith Richards.

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Re: Rythm Question

7/17/2001 5:34 AM

Jason Henderson (5681) wrote:

This might sound stupid, but it's a good way of doing it-strum a whole lot. Use chords or whatever if you want, but strum at any kind of pace you can. then, after about a minute or so of having that rhythm, change it. Do it for as long as possible, then you'll know if you got good rhythm or not.

I dunno, that's what I do on my spare time.


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