Easy Trick For Advanced Rhythms

author: Martin Messner date: 08/30/2010 category: guitar techniques
rating: 7.8 / votes: 10 
Hey guys, it's me, Martin, and today I'm going to explain some "awkward" measures. Before getting starting this lesson I want to stress the fact that measures and rhythm are NOT the same. Measures are the higher matrix, they are the reason for headbanging e.g.. You wouldn't headbang a melody/rhythm, would you? (Try to headbang the RHYTHM (!) of "What Doesn't Die" by Anthrax) Rhythm is the lower matrix which is situated inside a measure. Anyways, this lesson handles BOTH of them because they both have the same problem as you might know. P.S. I hope your head's still connected to your neck ;) ... What's the matter? The problem this lesson handles is so ridiculously simple than you might think. It's the inability of 60% of all guitarists to hold a 5/4 measure. It's the inability of 85% of all guitarists to hold a 7/6 measure. (% are just an educated guess ZYABLA^HUYABLA) And Why? This is because our brain is limited. Our modern education taught us to think in patterns, blocks and scales. Most songs are written in 4/4 or 2/4 measure, some few songs (compared to the mass of 4/4 songs) use 3/4. So our brain actually created 3 blocks: 4/4, 2/4 and 3/4- "Because that's everything I need to handle" says our brain. Our brain tends to think the easiest way to save time and energy and since the brain only knows 3/4, 4/4 and 2/4 songs, why should it start thinking in more complex ways? An even more important fact is, that our brain calculates in primes. It can easily handle 2 and 3 (because 2 * 2 is not too hard = 4), but 5 and 7 is not commonly used. So we tend to have problems with these. That's the reason why we generally don't care if it's an eighths or an sixteenth note. It just doubles the size. The multiplication with 3 is a little more difficult but it can be done if you "know what it will sound like" (e.g. Arpeggios From Hell - Malmsteen). But the primes 5, 7, 11, 13 and so on are for many, many guitarists unreachable. Since the MULTIPLICATION simply doesn't work, we need to ADD known primes to create higher ones (2 + 3 = 5; 5 + 2 = 7; 7 + 5 - 1 = 11; 7 + 5 + 1 = 13 ...) (it's called "Goldbach's conjecture") The easiest thing to notice that is dancing. I love disco fox, cha cha, waltz and tango(another different rhythm) because I love everything in relation to music xD. The only thing you need for dancing is the ability to find measures, interpret them and hold them. e.g. The Ballad Of Chasey Lain - Bloodhound Gang (see your head going left and rightZYABLA^HUYABLA) And if I was listening to a 13/7 song, I'd had a hard time to dance ANYTHING in tune. In fact so hard, that I couldn't figure it out in ages! ... The solution The easiest way to get into "strange" measures is a simple trick on our mind. We have a hard time training our brain into 5/4, but a easy time to train a fast switch between 3/4 and 4/4 or 2/4. So you can just think in 5/4 or 7/4 measures with less effort! All you need is a ordinary feeling for rhythm and a couple of minutes for some little exercises. ... Exercise 1: Learning To Switch (after a couple of measures) 1. Imagine a Waltz (e.g. Rammstein - Wiener Blut (Intro) ). 2. Sing the tune, stress the first note of the 3/4 (e.g. "DUMP f--k shit, DUMP f--k shit, DUMP f--k shit" - I know it's vulgar, but guess what: you will always remember how 3/4 goes) 3. Now, imagine a 2/4 or 4/4 song (e.g. drums intro from Yoshida Brothers - Madrugada) 4. Sing the tune again, stress the first note again (and 3rd note if 4/4 song) (e.g. "EAT this, EAT this, EAT this" xD)
             ____________________________________
not stressed --*-*---*-*---*-*-|---*---*---*---*-|
    stressed H-----H-----H-----|-H---H---H---H---|
             ____________________________________
             3/4              vs 2/4
(every H stands for "Headbang" ;) ... Exercise 2: Learning To Switch (instantly after one measure) The same like exercise 1, but trickier. Immediately switch between 3/4 and 2/4 measures. (In our case, it would be "EAT this, DUMP f--k shit, EAT this, DUMP f--k shit" ZYABLA^HUYABLA)
             ________________________________________
not stressed --*-*---*---*-*---*---*-*---*---*-*---*-|
    stressed H-----H---H-----H---H-----H---H-----H---|
             ________________________________________
             Combination
Now, focus on NOT doing any breaks while switching. That means you say the words without any hint that there was a comma ever! "EAT this DUMP f--k shit EAT this DUMP f--k shit" ... YOU DID IT! You have now a box of 5/4 which can help you on 5/4 measures! What you think:
             ___________________________________________
not stressed --*-*---*-|--*-*---*-|--*-*---*-|--*-*---*-|
    stressed H-----H---|H-----H---|H-----H---|H-----H---|
             ___________________________________________
What you play:             
             ___________________________________________
not stressed --*-*-*-*-|--*-*-*-*-|--*-*-*-*-|--*-*-*-*-|
    stressed H---------|H---------|H---------|H---------|
             ___________________________________________
Even tough you actually play the 2nd stress, it's perfectly ok. You can place your stresses (almost) like you want to. One famous 5/4 rhythm (can be replaced by a 6/4; just play 0-3-2-0-2-0 --> less cool): Toxicity - System Of A Down NOTE: originally Drop C, but who cares ;)
e|-------------------------------------------------------------|
B|-------------------------------------------------------------|
G|-------------------------------------------(3-3-3-3-2-2-2-2)-|
D|--0-3-2-0-2-0-3-2-0-2-0-3-2-0-2-0-3-2-0-2--(3-3-3-3-2-2-2-2)-|
A|--0-3-2-0-2-0-3-2-0-2-0-3-2-0-2-0-3-2-0-2--(1-1-1-1-0-0-0-0)-|
D|--0-3-2-0-2-0-3-2-0-2-0-3-2-0-2-0-3-2-0-2--------------------|
    H * * H * H * * H * H * * H * H * * H *
... NOW: 7/4 (the same thing) Exercise 1: Learning To Switch (after a couple of measures) 1. Imagine a Waltz again. 2. Sing the tune, stress the first note of the 3/4 (e.g. "DUMP f--k shit, DUMP f--k shit, DUMP f--k shit" - I know it's vulgar, but guess what: you will always remember how 3/4 goes) 3. Now, imagine a 4/4 song (e.g. drums intro from Yoshida Brothers - Madrugada) 4. Sing the tune again, stress the first note ONLY (do NOT stress the 3rd) (e.g. "THIS is spar-ta, THIS is spar-ta, THIS is spar-ta" xD)
             _________________________________________________________
not stressed --*-*---*-*---*-*-|---*-*-*---*-*-*---*-*-*---*-*-*------|
    stressed H-----H-----H-----|-H-------H-------H-------H------------|
             _________________________________________________________
             3/4              vs 4/4
... Exercise 2: Learning To Switch (instantly after one measure) Immediately switch between 3/4 and 4/4 measures. (In our case, it'd be "DUMP f--k shit, THIS is spar-ta, DUMP f--k shit, THIS is spar-ta")
             ________________________________________________________
not stressed --*-*---*-*-*---*-*---*-*-*---*-*---*-*-*---*-*---*-*-*-|
    stressed H-----H-------H-----H-------H-----H-------H-----H-------|
             ________________________________________________________
             same thing again
again: Ignore the commas and avoid breaks: "DUMP f--k shit THIS is sparta DUMP f--k shit THIS is sparta" ... With this easy trick you are able to play really weird rhythms! Post in the comment section below if you still got questions or you know songs with hard rhythms. Also, feel free to rate and comment and have a wonderful day :) Martin Messner :D
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