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Rest Stroke "relax" - how? And a few other questions

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  • HemertHemert Prodigy
    Posts: 264
    Buco wrote: »
    Now the fact it's easier on the electric makes sense. On the higher string tension guitar there is more string to pick resistance, so during faster passages and because of this resistance it starts to feel you need a better grip on the pick otherwise it'll fly out of your fingers so you squeeze and tense up your muscles and lose the recovery time.
    Indeed Buco and this leads me to one of the most important things to keep in mind when playing live: NEVER try to play louder than you're used to, because you think you're too soft. You will start clenching your pick and consequently lose control over your picking. I learned this lesson by noticing that Stochelo and Mozes always play lightly. If there's some jack ass drowning out their solos with too loud rhythm it's that rhythm player's problem, not theirs. Therefore they always stay in perfect control.

    Trying to compete with too loud rhythm is the reason why many less experienced players have the feeling that "at home things always seem to work better"!



    altonStringswingerNoneadrianDaveyc
  • nomadgtrnomadgtr Colorado Bumgarner, Marin, Holo, Barault
    Posts: 123
    You hit the nail on the head Christiaan. I have that problem anytime I'm in a jam session with more than a 3-4 other people. I end up getting tensed up as a result and then I get wrapped around that whole problem vs. letting my creativity flow with the solo. It's a downward spiral.....
  • edited September 2015 Posts: 1,231
    Christian,

    What is your recommendation on how someone might approach the exercises in your second FAQ to achieve maximum results? Right now, I start at a tempo where I am very relaxed, take one pass through the exercise, move a metronome up 10bpm, and repeat until I get to a point where I am feeling maximum tension to the point where I can not complete the exercise at all.
    Some days, at this point, I back down the metronome 20-30 bpm, and move up in 5bpm increments until I reach critical mass. I'll then move on to the next exercise.
    Generally, I feel that I've reached a speed barrier with certain note groupings that I can't seem to break past. While I am specifically talking about your recommended exercises, I am generally speaking to conquering difficult passages in any solo.

    thanks
  • HemertHemert Prodigy
    edited September 2015 Posts: 264
    Hi Jim,

    Your approach seems like a good daily work out. Here's a way to break through your speed barrier over time by doing the following ONCE or TWICE a week (so not every day):

    1. Start out by listening to a good recording of a super fast gypsy jazz tune (Rosenberg Trio comes to mind). This will get your brains to start processing music at a higher tempo (sounds weird I know but it really works, Hal Galper recommends it too).

    2. Now dial in your desired tempo (or let's say 20 beats above your maximum) and just try hard for about 8 to 10 minutes. Just give it everything you've got without being judgmental about your playing. Maybe you'll succeed to play one bar fast, maybe 5 bars maybe everything but really sloppy. It doesn't matter, just go for it.

    3. Now dial the metronome back 50 beats and work your way up to the original fast tempo by raising the tempo in increments of 5 or 10 bpm over a time span of 15 to 20 minutes. Again don't be too critical when things become difficult as you start to approach the original tempo. Being critical is for the other days when you're really working on the exerises on slower tempos.

    If you do this for a couple of months you will absolutely break your barrier (but of course hit a new one) and faster than if you wouldn't do this "drill".
    Jim KaznoskyCharles MeadowsMattHenry
  • HemertHemert Prodigy
    edited September 2015 Posts: 264
    nomadgtr wrote: »
    You hit the nail on the head Christiaan. I have that problem anytime I'm in a jam session with more than a 3-4 other people. I end up getting tensed up as a result and then I get wrapped around that whole problem vs. letting my creativity flow with the solo. It's a downward spiral.....
    Yup, perfectly normal. I think it's safe to say that everyone has experienced this at one point in their gypsy jazz playing guitar career.

    I once asked Stochelo if he was ever bothered by being too soft against a rhythm guitar in an acoustic setting. He just said that in order to play the stuff he routinely plays he needs to keep the picking light so he doesn't concern himself with his volume at all. Now what happens is interesting: because the playing is so crystal clear and his timing and phrasing world class (and because he has a very good guitar) you can still hear evertything he does even though there might be loud rhythm.

    This problem is also the reason I keep hammering on "play rhythm softly" in my first Q&A.

    I tell ya, on violin this is all so easy. It is much, much easier to play gypsy jazz on violin than it is on guitar although it is of course much harder to learn how to play violin from a technical standpoint. It is therefore somewhat strange that in most gypsy groups the level of the lead guitar player is much higher than the level of the violin player.

    nomadgtrMichaelHorowitzAmundLauritzen
  • edited September 2015 Posts: 4,712
    Yes Christian, exactly what I've been trying to remind myself during live shows lately, to play at the level I'm used to and not worry not being heard. Because I've noticed that lines and licks I can normally play both at home and band practice just don't come out live. And that was my conclusion, that I try to play louder live.
    Not easy, I've yet to beat myself in thinking I'm too quiet and no one can hear anything I'm playing (our regular monthly gig is in a super loud trendy bar where we're just a live jukebox) therefore I need to crank it up.
    But actually now I seriously won't care whatsoever, I'll just do my thing.
    Thanks!

    Jim, what I've been doing, and there's been some research that would suggest it's the as good if not better approach than incremental stepping up, is take my max speed goal and cut that speed in half, practice for a while, half hour or whatever, then go to your target speed. Alternate until you succeed. It's helped me break through what I thought I couldn't reach otherwise a few times and it's how I practice majority of the time.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • I have no problem being heard when I solo.....LOL.....other way round for me.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    edited September 2015 Posts: 6,146
    Hemert wrote: »
    He just said that in order to play the stuff he routinely plays he needs to keep the picking light so he doesn't concern himself with his volume at all. Now what happens is interesting: because the playing is so crystal clear and his timing and phrasing world class (and because he has a very good guitar) you can still hear evertything he does even though there might be loud rhythm.

    Thanks for pointing this out Christiaan. The volume issue is a constant battle in Gypsy jazz. It is especially frustrating at impromptu jams where the rhythm volume gets totally out of control and all the solos devolve into octaves and chord hits as single notes can no longer be heard. More than once I've seen top players like Angelo Debarre refuse to join a jam unless they were plugged in as they didn't want to battle it out with an army of rhythm guitars. It's always so refreshing to play with a group of sensitive musicians who instantly adjust the volume so that the soloist can be heard....

    AmundLauritzenDaveyc
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    edited September 2015 Posts: 6,146
    Buco wrote: »
    Not easy, I've yet to beat myself in thinking I'm too quiet and no one can hear anything I'm playing (our regular monthly gig is in a super loud trendy bar where we're just a live jukebox) therefore I need to crank it up.

    @Buco I and most people here have probably done more than their fair share of these "background music" type gigs. They pay a little bit and it keeps you playing but I feel they also reinforce some really bad habits. Most importantly, you don't learn to play with dynamics and like you said, you end up banging out everything at full force just to compete. Then, when you step onto a concert stage you feel totally naked as you've spent years playing over a din of crowd noise. I've stopped doing these sorts of gigs in recent years....too bad their aren't too many situations you can perform where it's actually quiet.

  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 867
    Buco wrote: »
    Not easy, I've yet to beat myself in thinking I'm too quiet and no one can hear anything I'm playing (our regular monthly gig is in a super loud trendy bar where we're just a live jukebox) therefore I need to crank it up.

    @Buco I and most people here have probably done more than their fair share of these "background music" type gigs. They pay a little bit and it keeps you playing but I feel they also reinforce some really bad habits. Most importantly, you don't learn to play with dynamics and like you said, you end up banging out everything at full force just to compete. Then, when you step onto a concert stage you feel totally naked as you've spent years playing over a din of crowd noise. I've stopped doing these sorts of gigs in recent years....too bad their aren't too many situations you can perform where it's actually quiet.

    The other side of this is if you don't play many concerts then you also feel uncomfortable as it is not a usual occurrence, so what is better, playing in a bar and doing a few concerts or not playing in a bar and not playing very often.
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