I've been playing guitar for several years now, and I just got my first 7-string the other day, so I've decided to start learning some Periphery stuff. I'm finding it very difficult to time their style of music, CAFO by Animals As Leaders for example, it's incredibly hard for me. I've been around some awkward rhythms and what not playing stuff like Wretched, Between the Buried and Me, Tool, As I Lay Dying, Whitechapel and other bands as well. But this style just isn't clicking for me, I can't 'feel' the rhythm out like I usually do, cause they always end up throwing some weird alternated riff in the middle of a section and they throw it in an odd number of times or something. So can someone give me some tips on timing this stuff?
Just listen to it first. Don't even try to play, just try and memorize what's going on. It's tough and syncopated rhythms in metalcore breakdowns don't even compare. Try learning some stuff from Meshuggah because they have some simpler riffs and they're easier to 'feel' for me. That's for the Periphery stuff. As for Tosin Abasi... he's just a ****ing beast. I doubt I could play CAFO practicing for a whole year, at least that intro part...

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Last edited by GibsonMan321 at Oct 30, 2011,
thats Djent for you. Ive learnt Periphery songs before and yeah its hard, sometimes i find it easier to listen to the cymbals in some bits, but then again the cymbals can go really ****ed up timing as well but that can help. Also what i find helps is watch live videos of the band, and watch how they just nod their head to the beat it because thats how they keep their rhythm, im not sure if it would help you but its a good in sight of how they keep time
I dont know anything about the bands you said, definitely not my type of music. But i DO love playing in odd times. If the rhythms are really throwing you off, and you can't "feel them, then theyre most likely not playing in a common time, like 4/4 or 3/4. Some of the real confusing times signature, aka-the real FUN ones lol, change throughout the song. For example, a few of my favorite times to play in are : 6/8 to 7/8 to 6/8 to 7/8 to 6/8 to 7/8 to 8/8. Another is a jam we have that simply goes 4/4 to 3/4 to 4/4 to 4/4.

I hope that made sense lol. Theyre basically all the one time, you're just skipping or adding an extra beat in certain places to throw everything off. If the whole band has it TIGHT, then it sounds amazing. Playing the most simple, over-used rock chords and progressions in odd times like the examples i gave really give them a fresh and new feeling to them.

So to actually answer your question, i guess you just have to learn to count. and count well! and learn to break down the songs youre playing so you can count along with them.
by the time you read this you will be wasting your time because it doesnt say anything
Here is a tip. I am curently prqacticing songs for a new band, and they have the type of odd signatures you talk about.

Try this:

Get amazing slow downer.

It helps you slow down songs and isolate riffs.

I usually start the song and i isolate riffs. After i learn the riff i let the song go a little further and so on, until i master it.

This way you get to learn the song structure as well.

BTW with this soft you can even remove vocals.

Good luck

PS: You can also try to find tabs and isolate the riffs you want to learn as well
Slow down the riff you want to learn/practise on guitar pro/ amazing slow downer^, and try to play along to it. Gradually increase speed when you click.

I usually use this method to learn some tricky Dream Theater stuff (namely The Dance of Eternity) :P
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Work on rhythmic uppicking.
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I've never found the rhythm of djent to be particularly hard, I actually really enjoy it. Probably because I've played drums for 3 years, try just hitting an open string in time with the riffs before actually learning it, or do the same thing but in time with the drums.
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What you need to do is get used to the more unusual rhythms and try to internalize them. Hum them in your head. Hear them and be able to tap them out with your fingers even without a backing track. Djent isn't particularly fast, more often than not. What you're looking at is more unusual grooves in the rhythm. The key to getting those is to be able to lock into that groove and really internalize it. The technique isn't something that you don't know how to do or really get faster with, since it's just alternate picking, down picking, and muting for the most part. What you have to do is get used to the more unusual rhythm, and to do that, you need to practice wrapping your head around the rhythms.

In my opinion, djent is mostly difficult because it's hard to wrap your head around the rhythms, not because it's particularly technically challenging. Once you get used to locking into the more unusual grooves, you'll be fine.
Can I just ask, do you understand how simple time signatures work? Compound times? "odd" or "irregular" time sigs?

If you don't, it's hard to explain and describe a lot of these riffs.

Second of all, it's absolutely essential you have a really really really solid feel for the quarter note pulse. Most Meshuggah is good for this - there's always a simple pulse going throughout.

Now, make it your mission that no matter what, you know where the quarter note pulse is, and that you can feel where the "one" is. This skill is essential in music in general, and more and more important as the rhythms get more complex. If you aren't sure where one is, you're in trouble.

Practice keeping even time with your foot while playing syncopated rhythms against it. Can you tap a constant beat while singing or playing rhythmic patterns that syncopate or rotate against the beat?

Once you get this down and you can feel the "one" of the next few bars no matter what you're playing, then you can start talking about more complex time signatures and how to relate to them.
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In order to feel it you first know what you play in terms of note values. That way you can divide the riff and play it with a metronome.

By understanding what you play you will also increase your skill