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questions for Dennis

JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
edited May 2005 in Technique Posts: 1,748

I wonder if you can give us some insight into a couple of fairly common things:

1) The classic Hot Club ending that starts on the 5, moves down a half-step, then proceeds up chromatically (e.g., '37 Minor Swing). It seems a simple thing, but seems too to be troublesome for a lot of folks (I've just got a grip on it myself, after a long, embarrassing journey), and I'm sure you can elucidate it for us-whether to start on an upstroke or downstroke, how you count the beats, etc. I'm thinking here of chordal playing, not single note lines, by the way.

2) I'd love to hear your take on the Latin rhythms we all use, but specifically the bossa. I caught a bit of you playing For Sephora while you were here, and you seem to have really digested the feel of it-any thoughts?



  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,131
    1) well besides a lot of practice... it's knowing on what beat it starts and ends.... it starts on the AND of the 1st beat and ends on the 1st beat of the following measure... it seems obvious but i'd practice it slow and every now and then attempt to do it up to tempo, and go back and forth practicing that way.... the former makes sure you're getting it right, the latter allows you to sort of "push" forward....

    i start (and i believe just about if not everyone starts) with an UPstroke... ending on a downstroke.....

    you can do a number of things to practice it.... you can start on the second beat and therefore ignore the bit that goes down chromatically and therefore work on the segment that ascends only.... (then add the first bit later)

    you can work in chunks.... try practicing moving up 2 frets, then 4, etc.... (using a pair grouping allows you to end on downstrokes and on the beat)

    as far as feeling the beat, on faster tempo i tap the 1 and 3.... at a medium tempo i tap all 4 beats...

    2) you mean the bossa rhythm? there are different variations to it, but the most basic one is :

    the right wrist is constantly alternating between down and up strokes with the left hand doing all the work... there's a very SLIGHT accent on the right hand for beats 2 and 4....

    the left hand sustains the chords for every attack except the 2nd and 4th beat where it's muted...

    as far as right hand goes, the problem most people have is the rhythm....make sure it's strict 8th notes... people tend to slightly shift the 8th note so that it almost sounds like a swing or something... it's especially hard at a slower tempo!!
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,748
    Hi Dennis.

    I know you're far out of town, but in case you're checking in...

    About the bossa rhythm: the thing that's been bugging me is the And of the four. When I've got two or more bars of any single chord it's no trouble, but I've noticed that when I'm changing chords it gets lost in the shift to the new chord. I guess what I'm wondering is whether that's normal, or if you still manage to hit that and after the accent on the four when changing chords.

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