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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.