Solo Tele Rhythm Playing Help

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Texicaster, Jun 6, 2019.

  1. Texicaster

    Texicaster Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    294
    Joined:
    May 9, 2018
    Location:
    Arizona
    ¡Bueno!

    I play half bluegrass acoustic and rock electric. Acoustic technique is a dreadnought guitar driven hard for tone and volume. Been playing for 20 years so pretty ingrained!..

    Switching to Tele I'm having trouble modulating volume and tone when playing rhythm. If I play too soft which give a sweeter tone I lose timing. if I drive it more like the acoustic I get some harsh over tones.

    I use a 1.25mm slightly rounded triangle pick... maybe thinner with a bit more rounding and bevel???

    TEX
     
  2. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    11,172
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2003
    Location:
    Netherlands
    do you mean that you are having trouble when you try to modulate tone and volume? If so, I salute you -too many electric guitar players never even try that.

    Picks are very personal, but for me that pick would be WAY to thick for any kind of sensitive rhythm. I like something like a Dunlop Tortex 0.5, or the one with the alligator at 0.58

    And, of course - technique. Are you playing the same kind of parts on the electric as you do on the dread?

    You are used to driving the acoustic hard for tone and volume, and the Tele doesn't need that. It could take some practice and some serious re-learning.

    If you are really slamming the strings too hard, you might consider using a compressor to reduce the attack.
     
  3. Cysquatch

    Cysquatch Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    259
    Joined:
    May 2, 2019
    Location:
    Grovetown, GA
    I know it's a lot of wasted energy and movement and proper technique and blah blah blah. But, I find that when playing softly, it helps me to subdivide with my right hand. I just keep the pick as close to the strings as possible and keep it moving slightly between actual strokes, but not like every 8th or 16th.

    Example: you have a rhythm pattern playing 1(+) 2+3(+)4. The paranthetical counts are times I move my hand to subdivide and keep time without actually playing. Super simple here.

    But what if you have something a little weirder: 1e(+)a2e(+a3)e+(a4)e+(a). In this case, I'd only use my right hand to keep time on the a3 and a4. It's probably more one of those weird "feel" things that's different for everybody, but for me that pattern seems less like a bar of 4/4 than 2 bars. One of 3/4 and one 1/4 or pickup bar leading into the next 3/4., so it feels like: 1e(+)a2e(+a3)e+(a)||(4)e+(a).

    It looks way more complex in writing, but feels better for keeping time with my right hand. Especially if I'm playing lighter, the small extra movements complete the motion of the phrase for me.

    I'm certain some people have way less complicated ways of doing it, but I think it comes from my beginning playing sax in a big band environment where we memorized all of our music. I just developed a weird feel system of keeping the downbeat with my right foot and doing little baby taps with my left during weird phrases to fill those little spots and keep a physical feel going. I'm sure I looked like a total spaz, though.
     
  4. cousinpaul

    cousinpaul Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,117
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Nashville TN
    Try some heavier strings to match the feel of your acoustic. Picking (or strumming) closer to the bridge can help with playing louder passages cleaner. You can also palm the pick and play softer parts with your fingers. Finally, using the guitar's volume knob or a volume pedal can help keep you in your comfort zone
     
    bumnote and P Thought like this.
  5. matrix

    matrix Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    280
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2016
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Texicaster...sounds like we have been walking similar paths. My technique is founded in bluegrass-style dreadnought playing, and trying to turn myself into a decent electric player has been a (fun) struggle.

    For what it is worth, I find that on the electric:

    (a) I go to a very slightly thinner pick - still probably a "heavy" in Fender words, but noticeably lighter than the 1.5+ that I would favour on an acoustic. But anything under 0.7 just seems like a sign of poor character to me.

    (b) There is re-learning needed. Getting stable with a lighter touch needed a lot of time with the metronome for me (and I mean metronome, not drum loops or backing tracks). Actually, and ongoing effort.

    (c) probably the most important was studying electric-focused rhythm in a couple of different styles - trying to cop a few different blues and funk approaches seems to have helped my country playing.

    Also, you dont touch on this in your post, but electric was where I really learned to lay back on the number of notes that I need to play to make a rhythm part work. Both at one time (ie, one or two notes instead of 3 or -shudder - 6), an in a bar (I dont need to mark all four beats plus the offbeats). That probably applies on the acoustic, but the electric is where it was obvious even to the slowest kid in the class (me)
     
    Junkyard Dog likes this.
  6. WildcatTele

    WildcatTele Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    328
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2011
    Location:
    McPherson, KS
    This may be off the beaten path and not conventional wisdom, but for me what helped more than anything on both acoustic and electric rhythm AND lead playing was going to a smaller pick. I use a tortex Jazz, 1mm. The point is pointier so that takes some getting used to, but for me it put my right hand more in touch with what the strings are doing. You'll feel the feedback from the strings much, much more.

    It's probably more psychological than anything, but when I started using the Jazz shape pick I found that with the standard shape I was more "disconnected" from the guitar and the overall sound was much harder to control. It takes a lot of technique adjustment but you may find your rhythm playing to be much more controlled and colorful as you'll be able to pull of more intricate techniques a lot easier. Not to mention when I take it back to the acoustic those bluegrass runs become much faster and more precise because of the point of the pick.
     
    matrix likes this.
  7. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    45
    Posts:
    1,328
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2016
    Location:
    USA
    Hi Tex! I have similar background. Played flattop acoustic in front porch bluegrass band formats (e.g. bass, fiddle, banjo/mandolin, and 6 or 7 acoustic guitars) for years before getting into Telecaster.

    To me, the approach/technique for rhythm with the Telecaster is significantly different. I'd even argue the Telecaster is a completely different instrument...though some things learned on acoustic will certainly apply.

    I like this suggestion from matrix, which helped me find a style that suited my playing when I was getting into it.

    For me, studying Luther Perkins approach on electric to backing up Johnny Cash's acoustic guitar was a revelation. Oh, so I really don't have to play ALL the strings at once!
     
    Texicaster likes this.
  8. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    69
    Posts:
    2,308
    Joined:
    May 20, 2017
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Playing the same way for 20 years? You know it’s time for a change. Tortex picks do a lot to eliminate harshness from rhythm playing. I use green or blue or I use blue or green Music Zoo picks from the courtesy jar. They feel and play the same. Then just practice playing with a little less force.

    If you’re really up for a challenge and up for a learning experience, learn finger style. Finger style softens things up a lot. It will be harder to push the amp to break up but that may be a good thing. Playing rhythm finger style can be a lot more fun than strumming chords. There’s no reason not to learn both. And there’s another benefit. You’ll be able to bring the finger style you learned back to your acoustic. It’ll open whole new avenues to your playing. I play both acoustic and electric finger style and with a pick. It all depends on the guitar and song. Think of this as an opportunity to become a better and more well rounded player.
     
    Texicaster likes this.
  9. Texicaster

    Texicaster Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    294
    Joined:
    May 9, 2018
    Location:
    Arizona
    Yea!

    I was taking Guthrie Trapp's lessons on Artists Works last year and have to dig those lessons out again. Those were fun!

    Great lessons but TAB was not accurate to what Travis was doing. I like to learn by watching but he was a bit quick and I needed TAB to work it out...I liked his approach though and may go back.

    Yep full 6-string booming open string chords don't seem to translate as well...

    I remember reading a David Grier interview (those unfamiliar with DG may want to check him out!) where he said he hates guys who play electric like acoustic!.... Well... yep.... me!

    Thanks!

    TEX
     
  10. GeoB

    GeoB Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    725
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    Location:
    Tidewater Virginia
    It's all about adjustments. You're going to have to make a conscious effort to soften it up.

    Try using your fingers rather than a pick or perhaps a much softer pick. Pat Metheny (if you listen to him) sounds like he's playing with a pick and he is but from what I've read he uses the softest pics if he can find ... But it doesn't really sound like a soft pick.

    Soft picks really sound soft when you're playing them on acoustic guitars but with an electric you've have amp power and the amp power really changes the dynamic, just as the amp becomes an integral part of your sound as it is part of your circuit. By that I mean when you play an acoustic guitar your circuit is the resonant body of the guitar but going through an electric to an amplifier that circuit has changed now includes the amplifier as the resonating box and it's totally different than wood.

    Which is why I say... It's all about adjustments. Years ago I had to make adjustments, and to be quite honest it took a while, now I can go from acoustic to Electric because I know and have practiced adjusting my techniques for both. Give it a little time and concentrate on adjusting to the circuit.

    Also, electric guitar techniques in a band setting are much different than the acoustic guitar techniques, it's a different role. If you're just strumming the songs out as you would on a an acoustic guitar then you're going to have to make an adjustment for the volume increase.
     
  11. pbenn

    pbenn Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,095
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto
    What string gauge are you using? Maybe go bigger.
    What value tone cap is soldered to your pot? If it's bigger than .047/.05 you could enlarge your control sweet spot size by coming down.
    How high are your pickups? Lower them and balance the rhythm pickup by adjusting rake. You'll be able to hit harder without unwanted overdrive....

    Just a few thoughts FWTW, good luck.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.