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Thread: Working on Chords/Rhythm Playing

  1. #1
    Constantly In Search Of.. Michael Bridges's Avatar
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    Default Working on Chords/Rhythm Playing

    I've been into this mandolin madness for about 7 months,now.I really enjoy having a musical goal back in my life, I really didn't realize how much I missed it.
    I'm doing the usual, I guess, learning my fiddle tunes, working on cleaner technique,scales, etc.Now that my fingers are starting to come back some, I want to dig deeper into learning chords and rhythm playing more.
    Can anybody recommend a good web site or book that would help me? I've always felt that how you back up other players and singers is even more important than how you solo, and don't really feel good about getting out and jamming til I'm a bit more competent at it.
    Music speaks to us all. And to each of us, she speaks with a different voice.

    J Bovier A5 Tradition

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    Default Re: Working on Chords/Rhythm Playing

    I'll be following this thread closely. I've been looking for the same thing. As much as I love a good mandolin solo, what drew mw to the instrument is the precussive rhythm playing demonstrated in the link below

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QmyLS07Qmg

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Working on Chords/Rhythm Playing

    I guess I don't think there is a better player, rhythmically, than Sam Bush. You can learn an awful lot about how to creatively approach chords, double-stops and octaves by listening to his stuff. There is a huge amount of material available at archive.org (you can hear him play all different styles from concerts over the years).

    He also has a DVD out that focuses specifically on his approach to playing rhythm.

    -j.

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    Dreamer lorrainehornig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Working on Chords/Rhythm Playing

    I've been back into my music for close to two years now and experience the same exact problems. I'm really struggling with chord patterns and transitioning from playing melody to harmony (via chords). My instructor make me do this every single week. Seriously, he has no mercy...just kidding! Doing this is forcing me to practice chords and playing efficiently every single week. It is frustrating but I am determined. I also struggle with rhythm / strum / chop techniques and am really tired of feeling like I am just playing "plunk, plunk, plunk" if you get my drift. I have every confidence it will come sooner or later. I really do admire people who have mastered this aspect of mandolin. I too am afraid to go out and jam, although my instructor tells me I am ready...the confidence just isn't there. Perhaps we expect too much. The only thing I can suggest to check out instructors in your area. I have been taking lessons (after a 30 year absence) for about 4 months now and in that short period of time I have improved significantly. I may not yet be proficient, but I am getting there one week at a time. jshane, do you know the name of that DVD?

  6. #5

    Default Re: Working on Chords/Rhythm Playing

    Hi Lorraine-

    I just looked it up on Amazon--- there are probably a lot of other sources, and probably some used ones out there, too. You can check it out here:

    http://www.amazon.com/All-About-Rhyt.../dp/B003QI95QI

    I dont have any experience with the DVD, but just listening to Sam Bush's rhythm is instructive...

    -j.

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    Registered User Earl Gamage's Avatar
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    Default Re: Working on Chords/Rhythm Playing

    Listen to Adam Steffey. Great rythm and chop. He also has a dvd that's good.

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Working on Chords/Rhythm Playing

    I can only share my experience, and if it helps it helps. If not, not.

    I started out as a single note melody person. Way back, I didn't practice rhythm because I didn't know my chords, and I didn't know my chords because they made no sense to me at all. I never was good at memorizing things that had no discernible pattern.

    Two big breakthroughs for me:

    One was to discover the power of a closed chord (no open strings). How the chord could them be moved up and down the neck. I didn't have to learn a G chord and then an A chord, and then... I just had to learn a closed form chord "template" that I could apply to any note anywhere.

    The other big breakthrough was to realize I didn't have to hit all four courses every time. That a three finger chord worked just fine, except if you were going to do an orthodox chop. Now the three finger chord can be moved across the neck, as well as up and down the neck.

    I remember the burst of enthusiasm and energy I felt when I figured this out. I just went at it. Most productive practice time ever. And things just snowballed from there.
    Having something to say is highly over rated.

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    Default Re: Working on Chords/Rhythm Playing

    Yes, indeed it's about this time that somebody mentions Jazzmando.com and click on the FFcP link on the front page. Don't let the "Jazz" scare you. It's a great site by the same folks that do Mandolin Caf'e. I'm primarily a fiddler, but it opened up worlds for me. Chord theory transfers to other instruments too. Never touched a piano until last year. Where's the 1, 3, 5? Where's the I, IV, V? Boom! Ima playing three chord songs, and a singin like the fool I am!

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    Play on! Sid Simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Working on Chords/Rhythm Playing

    John McGann did two great DVDs on rhythm. One focused on using a metronome, and the other on rhythm mandolin. I think they are both out of print, but they do surface from time to time. They are both excellent resources. I found both on Amazon for reasonable prices.


    Don't play what's there, play what's not there. - Miles Davis


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    Play on! Sid Simpson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Working on Chords/Rhythm Playing

    You also can't go wrong working with a metronome. It can be humbling and instructive. Adam Steffey works with one, and the FfcP program repeatedly suggests you use one. You can download an app at no cost to try it out.


    Don't play what's there, play what's not there. - Miles Davis


  15. #11

    Default Re: Working on Chords/Rhythm Playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid Simpson View Post
    You also can't go wrong working with a metronome. It can be humbling and instructive. Adam Steffey works with one, and the FfcP program repeatedly suggests you use one. You can download an app at no cost to try it out.
    That cannot even be debated.

  16. #12

    Default Re: Working on Chords/Rhythm Playing

    Lorraine: Your experiences mirror mine. I also put the mando away 30 years ago and am now back at it with a vengeance. What a happy circumstance for both of us. Thanks for the encouragement as I go forward. Right now I do not have the time for a teacher, but I can get a metronome and some of the great books and DVDs I see discussed on this site. Good luck and keep posting those successes.
    Claudzilla on a Bill Pruitt Purple Heart mando (see it on yout tube, it was put on on you tube years ago, surf up purple mandolin).

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    Constantly In Search Of.. Michael Bridges's Avatar
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    Default Re: Working on Chords/Rhythm Playing

    Some great ideas and suggestions. Thanks for the input,guys (and lady)! Got my metronome working. I agree, that's a must. I'm going to check into some of this stuff, and try it out. Guess the best method is just "Keep Practicing"!
    Music speaks to us all. And to each of us, she speaks with a different voice.

    J Bovier A5 Tradition

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    Default Re: Working on Chords/Rhythm Playing

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Bunting View Post
    That cannot even be debated.
    Yes it can.
    Object to this post? Find out how to ignore me here!

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    Registered User Talbot Dale's Avatar
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    Default Re: Working on Chords/Rhythm Playing

    Check out Don Julin's great youtube video. His explanation of these three shapes that can be played up and down the neck--similar to what JeffD mentioned above--really opened up some possibilities for me.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4WFe4DwCcU
    Enjoy
    Tal Hardman

    Krishot A5 #341

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    Peace. Love. Mandolin. Gelsenbury's Avatar
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    Default Re: Working on Chords/Rhythm Playing

    My practice time is so limited that I only play tunes at home, never chords. I wonder if I may find it easier to play to the metronome if I try playing a bit of rhythm ...

    I do play chords in our weekly after-work jam, and more variations are slowly creeping in: slow strums, hammer-ons, playing around with the treble strings ... but it's not very focused or systematic.

    And we don't play anything that would require chop chords, so the four-finger shapes don't tend to get involved.

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    Registered User Miked's Avatar
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    Default Re: Working on Chords/Rhythm Playing

    I really like the Mike Marshall's Fundamentals 2 DVD. He's a great teacher!
    Mike Bloder
    Hogan F-5
    Northfield NF-F5S

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    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Working on Chords/Rhythm Playing

    Although it sounds a bit lame nothing beats just playing lots of chords.
    As you come across them write down the ones you find difficult and work up a chord progression that will get you doing them over and over from different starting points. Also find tunes with those awkward ones in and learn them so you're playing the chords while humming the melody to yourself.
    Jazz is great for this too, especially the very rhythmic stuff where you're chopping 4/4 with 1/2 bar changes and chord change runs.
    But build up simply first by just going over the straight-forward chords again and again.
    It's a good one to add as a warm-up to your main practice and a wind down with the wicked metronome turned well up.
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

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