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Old June 15th, 2013, 06:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Buddy Guy and tempo

My guitar teacher assigned me Buddy Guy's "Damn Right, I got the Blues" for some evil reason. Right off the bat, Mr. Guy counts down and then plays the opening notes slower than what he just counted. I've listened to Guy quite a bit, but never noticed how much he slides in and out of the beat. It's like a madman's rubato, and very hard to replicate.

I guess I'm stuck with just listening, getting the notes, and then playing along if I want to match it-- unless somebody has any tricks or tips!

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Old June 15th, 2013, 06:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Is that where he says "Un, two, three, I got it!?" I think when the whole band comes in it's actually faster than he counted it. His intro seems to be fairly in tempo.
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Old June 15th, 2013, 06:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Write down the tempo in keeping with a metronome, and see if the intro vs. main parts are similar in tempo.

You've got a real benefit in being able to listen to one or more versions on the web (or other audio recordings). Otherwise, you'd be stuck with whatever may be written on sheets with the treble clef (until such time as you might get creative & change the key, or tempo).
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Old June 15th, 2013, 10:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm sorry, I wasn't very clear-- I meant to use the intro as an example of how all-over-the-place the solos are, tempo-wise, throughout the whole tune. He always lines it back up at some point, but strays in very unexpected ways. It's like he's playing with some other band in his head for a few seconds and then comes back to reality. It's really unsettling, which I guess is part of what makes him who he is. I imagine that it's all part of creating the necessary tension/release to keep the piece interesting, and it works, but it's really hard to imitate. The notes are easy and I can get very close to the attack and vibrato, but jeeze... It's a bit like the old Delta stuff where a measure may unexpectedly gain a beat, or sometimes lose one.

I guess what I'm getting at is that he uses sliding off the tempo and then re-uniting with it as an added method of expression.
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Old June 16th, 2013, 12:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Buddy Guy to me is one of those players you might enjoy watching from time to time and maybe learn a few of his licks, but isn't one of the ones I'd recommend to learn much from except for showmanship.

I'd go more for Freddie King to find a guy that plays with power and stays on beat.
Even Albert Collins as strange a set up as he used, drove an entire band by staying in tempo. Buddy Guy sometimes is over the top to the point it annoys me, same with bending out of key with impunity too. Don't get me wrong, I like Buddy Guy when he's on, he's really good. But when he's off, well. he's off.
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Old June 16th, 2013, 07:53 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyLowry View Post
...but it's really hard to imitate...
As stated, that's part of why he is who he is. THis is part of why he was such a huge influence on Jimi (and Eric, etc, etc.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyLowry View Post
...It's a bit like the old Delta stuff where a measure may unexpectedly gain a beat, or sometimes lose one...
This is where his feel for the temp and the shifts come from. It's in his musical DNA. He learned music from those guys.


This shift in temp, playing behind the beat, or off the beat, but always knowing where it is... It's one of the things I've always enjoyed, when someone does it right. As you stated, it helps build tension, release, it adds a feel that is not there in square timed or squarely played music. When guys talk about Clapton, this is one of the points I like to bring up regarding his playing. He has it. And, he uses it to great effect, just like Buddy.

I will say that sometimes Buddy's tone is a bit shrill and harsh... And I can agree with Chabby to a point. He can get too wild for my tastes at times. But, he plays it raw and holds nothing back! His note and timing selection appeals to me and I have learned heaps from listening to and trying to play his music. I wish I could play 1/10 as well as he does!
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Old June 17th, 2013, 06:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It's "swing", something I feel is lost a lot of times in modern music.. if you're accustomed to robotic beats driving the music swing will probably sound completely alien to you, but it was there in old r&b and then in 70s funk bands like Parliament Funkadelic in a big way to help drive the groove.

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Old June 17th, 2013, 07:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I've seen Mr. Guy on a number of occasions. He's been doing this a long time and some nights he gets by on charm and stagecraft. Other nights he plays hard. When your gigs total in the thousands, you do what you need to do. And he is 76. He's allowed to coast every once and a while.

Having said that, his formative style of Chicago blues is characterized by a lead guitar that wanders from the beat, while the band locks it in. And, yes, sometimes he pushes his amp into a screech.

Check out some of his early stuff with Junior Wells.
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Old June 18th, 2013, 05:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Okay....all us white guys line up over here.

On 1.....JUMP!

ON 2...PLAY THE BLUES.......


Now, all of us REALLY white guys who couldn't jump nor play the blues; line up over here....and analyze what we have just NOT done.


LOL.....Couldn't help myself.....

IF one really wants to understand that counting beats is not all it is cracked up to be for some types of music, go listen again to Robert Johnson.

Signed, sadly,

A metronomic Caucasian.....(;^)
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