#1
I want to play funky stuff but I struggle with the rhythm. I try tapping my foot but the funk patterns are throwing me off. I'm looking for maybe some general tips or different ways of thinking about this stuff. Last time I had issues (Sweet Child of Mine riff) I got some helpful advice and I'm hoping that I can get some progress on this. If I can get this riff down then maybe I'll be able to do "Get Lucky". That would make me a happy man-dude.

Here is my attempt to be specific. I bet there's an easier way to do this but I don't know. So this should at least be pretty easy to understand:
0 = Strum
X = chunk
~ = rest

0~x0/0~x0/x0xx/00xx

If it'll help at all, that's the pattern used in one particular tab that I found for "It aint over til it's over" by Lenny Kravitz.

So I don't usually tap my foot (and really never have) but my wife used to play an instrument and she noticed that I don't keep the rhythm with my feet. The poor girl is probably sick of listening to me mangle the song.
My problem is that I can't manage the foot and the left hand and right hand at all. I am fighting my foot really hard and I can sometimes manage to get through the first two measures but the third and fourth are always a massive failure.
A common problem is for me to tap my foot on the upstroke prior to the start of the second measure. It takes all I've got to keep that foot from tapping down.

I can sometimes get sorta close if I don't tap my foot. It's really difficult for me to stick to the tapping when I know that if I don't tap I will occasionally get through a few measures that sound halfway decent. I think I need to learn to play it properly but it sounds so bad.
#2
Maybe you're spending too much mental effort on tapping your foot? You said yourself that it is easier to play when you don't tap. I don't think it is essential at all to tap along- just do whatever you can to keep the rhythm right.

Personally, I find it really hard to tap my foot along to the beat as I am playing. I have found that bobbing my head to the rhythm works, and it isn't really something I have to force. I'm not saying bobbing your head will work better, but that is just an example of one alternative.

Playing along to a drum track or a metronome (preferrably a drum track) may help you out too. Also, things are pretty much always easier to do slower so try slowing it down a bit to see how that works for you.

Hope that helps!
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#3
Quote by JimDawson
Maybe you're spending too much mental effort on tapping your foot?

It does sound like you're putting too much effort into doing this. I've always felt that you tap your foot because it's natural to do it, not to keep beat. I also find it easier to bob my head to the beat instead of tapping my foot.

Find something that you find comfortable and stick to it. It doesn't sound like this will be useful unless you want to play the drums and want to tame your foot.
#4
I agree with the rest of the posters I used to tap my foot while practicing with a metronome. It's a very good way to keep in time, but I find instead of focusing on the beat feel it instead. Usually I'll just move my body or bop my head as everyone's posted. Also I'd like to add that learning funk is nothing easy it takes time to develop that rhythmic feel, and it can be hard to keep in time because your playing 16th rhythms so you have to be dead on with your timing or it's going to sound like a butchered mess. My advice to you would be to practice that strumming pattern you're having difficulty with along to a metronome.


I can not preach on the importance of practicing with a metronome you can start off at a really slow tempo (60 BPM). When you feel like you can play it perfectly at 60 BPM move it up 5 BPM. I can not stress how important it is to practice something at a speed that you know you can't mistakes at this will lead you to having clean technique instead of the opposite which is sloppy technique. If you practice the strumming pattern to a metronome you'll nail it in no time I've built solid timing, and clean technique from practicing with a metronome I owe a lot of my guitar playing to it.

#5
Poor wifey - she will be sad if I give up on the tapping. She wants to help.

I am surprised to hear so many people say that I could just give up on it. I don't remember all the sources that told me about it but I was under the impression that it was a "standard" thing that every guitarist needs to learn.

But I guess I could try the really slow thing first. And metronomes might be better for me. So this is one of those "find what works for you" moments?
#6
When I am solidifying a groove I always tap my foot. Jazz training. Tommy E has some good advice here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZP-omsWdno
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#7
I don't really tap my foot that much at all. I think the trick is to get your foot on autopilot (which is what jim dawson implied), though, which is what I do when I do do it. I used to play drums, though, and a lot of it is about getting your arms and feet on autopilot, so that probably helped me.

Try to get your foot tapping without even playing along to the piece. then maybe try to talk to someone else while you're doing that (or anything really that means your foot is on autopilot).
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#8
All my metronomes slow down too. You'd think someone out there could make a decent metronome.

Well i guess i'll have to figure something out. (Rhythm gods i call to you.) The bit about autopilot makes some sense. I don't have an autopilot yet but i'll work at it.
#9
Metronome. Counting.

You can download a metronome app for computer or phone. Real ones are only like $10.

What kind of metronomes do you have that can't keep their own tempo?
Last edited by cdgraves at Jul 22, 2014,
#10
Keep tapping, it's the best way to stay tight. It'll come, it's kinda like singing and playing
#11
Quote by cdgraves
Metronome. Counting.

You can download a metronome app for computer or phone. Real ones are only like $10.

What kind of metronomes do you have that can't keep their own tempo?


The gentleman in the video joked about metronomes and i was just borrowing his joke. I have a snark metronome and i have the gibson app on my phone. They don't actually slow down.
#12
More from Tommy on really feeling the groove:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9akzl9H7lnw
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#13
Like Jesus said, get up and walk. If you can walk your music, you can play it in time, unless you're a cripple you can walk in time. One step for every beat, you'll feel exactly where you're going wrong, but at least you won't need to focus because who the hell needs to focus on walking.
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#14
Things like this make me glad that I learned drums before guitar. Rhythm comes naturally to me.

Anyways, foot tapping isn't necessary if you're playing in time. Now if you're struggling even with a metronome, then that's an entirely different issue. For the most part when I tap my foot, I don't even think about it. It just comes naturally when I'm trying to focus on a specific rhythm.