Jump to content
Fong

Rhythm Improvisation...Any tips?

Recommended Posts

Fong    0

I don't want to blow my own trumpet, becuase I am not that good a guitar player, but I don't seem to have many problems creating on the guitar, most of the time.

I been playing every sunday for the past 6 months in a band situation and I would routinely write 6 or 7 different guitar "riffs" or Rhythm pieces for each session.

My 'technique' is to sit down with the guitar, and basically just randomly play s**t til I heard something that I liked, that piqued my interest. Then I would work on and expand, usualyl while the drummer was playing along, using the bass drums to fill a bit of the space of the guitar rhythm.

Thing is, went down their Sunday, I was late getting there, had been up for about 20 minutes when I arrived, and it was damn cold in there, with a horrible wind blowing on my back.

For the first 3 hours, I couldn't find a thing on the neck of the guitar, nothing I played sounded nice, it all felt old and tired. Fortunately I had a few rifffs from previous sessions I could use to muddle along with, but it wasn't a good session.

I will say that after about 3 hours, when I put me coat on and got a bit warmer, I did start to find some nice stuff again. But it was a waste of about 3 hours, and after I finally got to grips with it, the Bass and Drummer feel apart and started having the same mental block I had had at the start.

So has anyone got any tips for when you get stuck? I would like to be able to snap out of it in less then 3 hours to be quite honest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fong    0
yup....my best advice is walk away when its not working...don't force it because that just leads to frustration....take a deep breath, walk away or just take a break for a while...it really is that simple

Yeah thats hard to do when you arranged to be in a studio for 6 hours with a bass player and a drummer though.

I don't want to let people down, and although it isn't a lot, there is some money involved. Only like 60 dollars but still its the principle of it :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
knight46    2

What you might try is doing some sort of cover work, do something familiar. If you have the time alloted and you can't walk away like billy suggested, play something you know and then let the juices take over.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Noodler    1

Do you have to be the creator every time?

If your bass player and drummer are good, why not let them play faster/ more complex stuff and you just comp for them? A rule of thumb is that the more fast and complex the bass and drums, the simpler your guitar part can be. It can be repetitive litle lines like a horn would play, with lots of repetition. It'd depend on the style of course. Hell man, you could vamp on an E9 chord for quite a while in the right context. Muted strums, sliding the chord, etc. Let the bass player slap and pop. They love that stuff. :yes: Or even litlle 3 note melodies with muted notes.

Just some ideas if that helps. I'm most creative playing alone, and take grooves along to play with others, but sometimes playing with good people just brings out ideas, you know? When I get creative while nervous (which I have a habit of doing), it often doesn't come off for me. Best to experiment (make my mistakes) at home...or at least have a fall-back like Knight 46 says.

It just sounds like your expectations are really high, and you were cold.

Oops, sorry, just you and a drummer? Yeah, that's harder. Less to "bounce off."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fong    0

Thanks For advice, I like that idea. We kinda of do it naturally sometimes, when I will mute down a riff to give the bass player space, I could work more on that.

Apologies for not replying sooner, had some internet problems.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Down    0

When I can't come up with a riff, I usually ask drummer to play something and then I just start to play along. After all, he is the metronome of the band. Usually I have some kind of beat in my head and I just build it from there.

Or maybe you just need some inspiration, just search for new music. Or download drum machine software, and play along or look up drum videos on youtube and play along. That might give you new rhythmic ideas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been playing in a jazz band for about 6 years and when I am put in a situation where I will need to improvise, I go home and listen to jazz and blues music. Blues is a great place to look because the majority of music is based off of the blues and blues scales.

Oh, speaking og scales. I know everyone hates them, but they really do help. Even if you can just get all of 12 major, minor, and blues scales down, you'd be ina a very very good place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SlickCat    1
Yeah thats hard to do when you arranged to be in a studio for 6 hours with a bass player and a drummer though.

I don't want to let people down, and although it isn't a lot, there is some money involved. Only like 60 dollars but still its the principle of it :P

You should have your song structure finished before going to a studio :winkthumb:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dmann    0

Whenever this happens with my band, we almost all look at each other and grin, and just start playing some covers or other songs we already have polished and just have some fun.

Drinking a few wobbly pops helps alot, but thats not for everyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
facefish    0

I would never try playing covers unless using different chords alternately. A good place to start is by trying to make a noise without fingering or strumming - you'll be surprised at what you can come up with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
too2tall    0

Fong,

I agree with the comment of just relax. I noticed one time when I was playing along to some tracks in my studio room that I was banging my head against the wall and couldn't come with anything that was groovin to the rhythm at all. I kinda lost interest and started to drifting mentally away from what I was doing and thinking about something else and I noticed suddenly that my playing was really jumping on to the rhythm. While my mind had wandered my subconscious took over and it seemed to know better than I did on what to play. Sounds kooky I know but it works for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SlickCat    1
Yeah thats hard to do when you arranged to be in a studio for 6 hours with a bass player and a drummer though.

I don't want to let people down, and although it isn't a lot, there is some money involved. Only like 60 dollars but still its the principle of it :P

I would think the studio is not the place to create new songs, but the place to record songs already worked out that you want to put the final "touch" to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try listening to more jazz. Some straight ahead stuff, some jazz fusion, and some free jazz. Especially listen to more Bossa Nova stuff and some Afro-Cuban stuff.

Work on learning the rhythmic ideas that are the basis of Afro-Cuban music.

Start with the simple stuff like the 3-2 son clave and the 2-3 son clave.

Then the Cascara, etc. Polyrhythms.

There is no shortage of great ideas out there.

You'll get it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Noodler    1
Try listening to more jazz. Some straight ahead stuff, some jazz fusion, and some free jazz. Especially listen to more Bossa Nova stuff and some Afro-Cuban stuff.

Work on learning the rhythmic ideas that are the basis of Afro-Cuban music.

Start with the simple stuff like the 3-2 son clave and the 2-3 son clave.

Then the Cascara, etc. Polyrhythms.

There is no shortage of great ideas out there.

You'll get it.

That's great advice. I'd never heard of those kinds of rhythms until I saw a documentary about a couple of cuban hand drummers who played behind Santana. They explained the whole playing 3 against 2 thing. I'm guessing that's the 3-2 son clave?

Here's a link with some sound demos of some claves:

Latin rhythms - Clave

A well known example they gave of that kind of rhythm was Michael Jackson's "All I Wanna Say is They Don't Really Care About Us."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×