Fast strumming : help with signature and getting there

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by jaytee32, Sep 26, 2021.

  1. jaytee32

    jaytee32 Tele-Meister

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    Yo,

    So I am working on this song:



    Was having a heck of a time figuring out the strumming pattern. I've never been much for counting, but on this one and another Coldplay tune, just going by feel is not enough to get me there. In other words, my "feel" is entering unexplored territory.

    Slowing the vid down and counting, what I think I am hearing is this:

    time signature 6/8, with accents in most measures on the 1 and 4
    a tempo of 230 bpm (!!)
    and he's playing sixteenth notes (a downstroke on each of those 230 beats).

    I'd appreciate hearing the opinions of Those More Experienced.
     
  2. jaytee32

    jaytee32 Tele-Meister

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    Ahh I think I get it now. I found the suggestion 75 bpm and 12/8 time. I couldn't figure it out until I visited the Wikipedia site for time signatures, where there was a film that showed that this "bpm" is how often the quarter notes beat. Since there are 12 notes in a measure, the quarter notes are every three beats. So my tap-tempo 230 bpm (counting each of the twelve) needs to be divided by three, or 77 bpm. Turns out that this live version is slightly faster than the studio version, which explains 75 vs 77 bpm.
     
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  3. jaytee32

    jaytee32 Tele-Meister

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    Even if this is correct, I am interested in tips on how to get my strumming up to this speed (16th notes in this time signature) and on internalizing it. On the other song, I can play it fine until I start singing, at which i sometimes deviate from the rhythm, depending on what I am singing. I used to have this problem 30-odd years ago with simple songs, nice to pushing the boundaries again.
     
  4. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm not familiar with the tune, but I listened to it a bit and it appears to be in 6/8 time. If you watch his thumb, he's downstroking on each 8th note. He's hitting strings on all the downstrokes and on most of the upstrokes. You're right...it's a feel thing.

    You can practice this same motion by tapping your thumb against the guitar's top along with the song. Tap on every 8th note (1,2,3,4,5,6,1,2,3,4,5,6, etc.). Those are your downstrokes across the strings.

    The feel in this song is similar to the tune Breaking the Girl, by Red Hot Chili Peppers:

     
  5. SRHmusic

    SRHmusic Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Note the emphasis (accent) on certain beats. You might find some benefit from working on syncopated strumming patterns like David Gilmour's at the start of Wish You Were Here before it gets into the verse, a single G chord with a slower but clear accented rhythm.
     
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  6. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    If rhythm is your weak point then you must focus all your attention on that area right now.

    Rhythm sets the basic feel of a song. Tempo does too, although tempo is different (but similar) in that an exciting song slowed down is suddenly a boring song. Like tempo, a sloppy rhythm makes an otherwise brilliant song seem rather disappointing.

    As far as I’m concerned, rhythm can make or break the most ingenious song. If a musician is unable to keep a tight/true rhythm then pretty much nothing else matters, because the audience will just focus on the disjointed rhythm.

    No one can really teach you how to hear, feel or play rhythm - you either get it or you don’t (just like everything else about music).

    Sure, others can describe the time signature, etc, but what about the next song and the next one after that?

    Listening to and playing a lot of different music is the only truly viable solution and how much one puts into it determines how long it takes for the benefits to pay off.

    If nothing else, practice that song until your brain can’t stop hearing it...


     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2021
  7. Addnine

    Addnine Tele-Holic

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    I have never practiced playing fast downstrokes, and I never will. I don't get it tbh.
     
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  8. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Fast downstrokes but no upstrokes?

    Depending on how fast we’re talking, like you I’m not sure what context I’d use that technique... if ever...



     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2021
  9. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    It can often help to record or take a video of you playing it - as you did. Often, I think I will have it right, and when I compare it to what I am trying to play, the syncopation may be off. But usually, I can get the syncopation and rhythm much faster than the chord changes!

    But don't forget - you don't have to play it in a particular way the make the rhythm gods happy. Put your own spin on it. Make it your own.
     
  10. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    In its most basic form both of these songs have a very distinct 1-2 / 1-2 rhythm going on, with each beat getting divided into 3rds. So what you get is a 1-2-3 / 2-2-3 kind of rhythm, which is called a “Compound Duple Meter” meaning they have both “duple” (2 beats per measure) and “triple” (those 2 beats are divided into 3 shorter beats).

    6/8 Time Signature is Compound Duple.

    But, just to throw a wrench into things, there is also something called “Compound Quadruple Meter”:

    12/8 Time Signature is Compound Quadruple, since it has 4 beats per measure that can be divided into triplets.

    Due to the faster tempo and how the singer emphasizes certain beats, that Coldplay song could be 12/8 (1-2-3 / 2-2-3 / 3-2-3 / 4-2-3), although 12/8 is relatively uncommon (with 6/8 being far more common). It mostly depends on how the song "swings". To me both 6/8 and 12/8 can work since the phrasing ends at the same place and generally "swings both ways", so to speak.

    The Red Hot Chili Pepper song, on the other hand, has a definite 6/8 feel in my opinion, due to a very obvious emphasis after every sixth 8th-note beat.

    Either way, sometimes it helps to just concentrate on the 2 or 4 beats when playing in compound duple or compound quadruple meter, to more easily keep track of where you're at in any given part - especially if there’s a lot of fancy stuff going on - but you must also keep track of the "3 beat counts" at the same time
    none the less...


     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2021
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  11. rednoise

    rednoise TDPRI Member

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    The trick is to keep your strumming hand in constant motion, and dig in at times to accentuate the rhythm. In this case, I can express the song as having the time signature of 12/16, that is, 12 16th notes, divided up into 4 groups of three. It's felt more as 2 strong beats per measure with a rolling, swaying feel.

    BAH dah dah dah dah dah BAH dah dah dah dah dah

    You keep your right hand going up with the first 16th note, then down with the next 16th note, then up, then down, constantly.

    Code:
    [-------------][-------------][-------------][------------------] (groups of 3)
    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10    11    12       (16th notes)
    d    u    d    u    d    u    d    u    d    u     d     u        (right hand direction)
    !                             !                                   (feel here as a strong beat)
    
    You can practice this even without your guitar in hand.

    When you're comfortable with that, try hitting the strings harder and softer on certain up- or down-strokes to create interesting rhythmic patterns. In this case, the guitarist is emphasizing strokes 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7, 10, 11, 12.

    BAAAAAAH dah dah dah, BAAAAAAH dah dah dah

    Code:
    [-------------][-------------][-------------][------------------] (groups of 3)
    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10    11    12       (16th notes)
    d    u    d    u    d    u    d    u    d    u     d     u        (right hand direction)
    !              !    !    !    !              !     !     !        (when to emphasize the stroke)
    
    If this sounds complex, it really isn't. It's all MUCH easier to show in person than to describe in text. And its a feel thing - it's harder if you think too much about it, but once you get it, you will wonder why it was ever a problem. Like riding a bike, or certain biological festivities.
     
  12. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    I’m really struggling to hear this as anything but 4/4 with swing aka 12/8 with 16th notes inserted.

    The album recording is not really any easier to hear and it’s hard to tell from the video, it looks like he may be doing up strokes with his thumb as it just looks too slow. It’s also possible someone else is also playing.

    I think it can probably be done fine with a pick for the whole song with alternate picking/strumming if you want to.
     
  13. rednoise

    rednoise TDPRI Member

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    Here's another way to express this strumming pattern. I did it in 12/8 time this time, which maybe better represents it. Play it like 4 beats per measure, each beat with a triplet feel. And while you don't necessarily need to keep your right hand in constant physical up&down motion, you should imagine your hand doing that.

    [​IMG]
     
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