Well, I'm been playing guitar for some time now and, being a fan of bands as Tool, I would really want to make my own music in alternative time signatures.
Problem is every damn riff I make turn out to be 4/4 (I tab them in GP5)
so, my question is, how do you do this, is it even possible to do it on a guitar or is it only for drums (I'm quite new to theory and I'm completely self-taught)

*hoping this is the right forum to post this in *
maybe just keep listening to music with strange time signatures, id recommend fusion bands like mahavishnu orchestra, see what they do, when listening it sounds like they have a note which they want to get to and work up a scale to get to it, rather than just fitting in enough notes before your 'target' note try playing slower or quicker with an odd number of notes? maybe that made no sense but learn how to count weird signature or just steal them other other bands at first
If your new to odd time signatures then just play some of the riffs you have made but add maybe one or two extra notes at the end of them. Then you will start to recognise what different time signatures sound like so eventually you will be able to compose specifically for them instead of just adding notes.

Once you have made a riff always count what time signature its in otherwise you wont learn to reconise them. I like things in 9/8 or maybe 19/16 (get celestial terrestial commuters).
try taking those riffs that are in 4/4, and then changing some note durations. or maybe add/subtract a note or two. for 5/4, just take a piece in 4/4 and extend two notes by an eighth note. so instead of having a pair of eighth notes at one point, just have 2 quarter notes.

another thing to do is make sure you know where the beats fall. it makes it easier to think about having 5/4 when you know that you have one grouping of three quarter note beats and one grouping of two. then you can make sure stuff sounds right because it has the right emphasis. i would suggest doing a bit of reading on these time sigs to start out with. a drum site might have some good stuff about the rhythms of these time sigs, which is probably a good place to start.
Of course, listen to stuff in weird time signatures. The best method for me is doing this

On a sheet of paper write down something like

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Now, slowly tap that rhythm out, your right hand plays the quarter notes (the numbers) evenly, then with your left hand hit your leg or table or whatever on the accented beats. You could do it where your foot taps out the quarter notes, then you clap on the accented beats if it's more comfortable. Repeat the measure over and over.

Then, translate this to a note on the guitar, then maybe more, then maybe add in 8th notes in there. Anyway....

Do this excersize with 5 beats as well, for riffs in 5/4. It will help you figure out rhythms not in 4/4. Keep playing them, and they will be a part of you.

You dig?
Don't tell me what can not be done

Don't tell me what can be done, either.

I love you all no matter what.
Last edited by nightwind at Sep 14, 2006,