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> What Note Values Are You Practising In ?
Ben Higgins
post Aug 29 2014, 04:49 PM
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Most of us guitarists are familiar with, or extensively use, the 3 note per string scale patterns. For many of us, these are a big part of how we navigate the neck. But one thing about the 3 note per string patterns (let's refer to them now as 3nps) is that they tend to make us biased towards triplet based licks. 3 notes.. triple.. triplets !

We spend all this time learning how to master runs of sextuplets using either inside picking or outside picking, economy etc... but what about all those times where playing triplets is not applicable ? You can't always fit these runs over a piece of music. And, quite frankly, we need to have more variety than that.

There's going to be just as many times when you're going to need to be able to work with straight 16th notes or 32nd notes. Licks where the count is 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4. What do we do then ?

Two of the most popular speedy 16th note strategies is the 2 note per string Zakk Wylde style pentatonic stuff and the 4 note Yngwie patterns played with 3 fingers on one string, using a slide to play the 4th note.

Apart from that, there are few well taught reliable ways of getting from point A to point B in a non triplet tempo. I've got a few different approaches that I use but I'll bet that many of us don't practise with these 'non triplet' licks as much as we do the triplet stuff. I can give you one example where sextuplets won't serve you - every thrash album on the planet or any song that is over 170bpm and 4/4.

That's the only downside with 3nps shapes, they can condition us to think only in sextuplets and such like. So it's up to us to find other ways of expressing our abilities in all tempos and time signatures.

How have you coped with this ? When you pick up your guitar and noodle around do you tend to veer towards triplet territory ? Or are you a straight 16th note shooter ? Have you created your own patterns and ways of getting around or do you rely on tried and tested patterns used by the majority of guitarists ?


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Jim S.
post Aug 30 2014, 02:40 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Aug 29 2014, 11:49 AM) *
Most of us guitarists are familiar with, or extensively use, the 3 note per string scale patterns. For many of us, these are a big part of how we navigate the neck. But one thing about the 3 note per string patterns (let's refer to them now as 3nps) is that they tend to make us biased towards triplet based licks. 3 notes.. triple.. triplets !

We spend all this time learning how to master runs of sextuplets using either inside picking or outside picking, economy etc... but what about all those times where playing triplets is not applicable ? You can't always fit these runs over a piece of music. And, quite frankly, we need to have more variety than that.

There's going to be just as many times when you're going to need to be able to work with straight 16th notes or 32nd notes. Licks where the count is 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4. What do we do then ?

Two of the most popular speedy 16th note strategies is the 2 note per string Zakk Wylde style pentatonic stuff and the 4 note Yngwie patterns played with 3 fingers on one string, using a slide to play the 4th note.

Apart from that, there are few well taught reliable ways of getting from point A to point B in a non triplet tempo. I've got a few different approaches that I use but I'll bet that many of us don't practise with these 'non triplet' licks as much as we do the triplet stuff. I can give you one example where sextuplets won't serve you - every thrash album on the planet or any song that is over 170bpm and 4/4.

That's the only downside with 3nps shapes, they can condition us to think only in sextuplets and such like. So it's up to us to find other ways of expressing our abilities in all tempos and time signatures.

How have you coped with this ? When you pick up your guitar and noodle around do you tend to veer towards triplet territory ? Or are you a straight 16th note shooter ? Have you created your own patterns and ways of getting around or do you rely on tried and tested patterns used by the majority of guitarists ?


Well I am quite the novice when playing all rhythmic groupings but have been practicing many of them regularly. I'm getting familiar with how to play them and picking them out of tunes. Before coming to gmc I'd play clean 1/8 note patterns with bursts of nonsense. The bursts of speed I thought were genuine until coming here.

My natural playing style does lean toward the off beat triplet feel even if I don't play cleanly. One teacher of mine told me to tap my foot on 2 & 4 and while practicing this I found myself playing on the 1/8 note. Here is a track from before gmc, I feel it's my cleanest played recording pre-gmc. https://soundcloud.com/jim-seekford-music/fog-digitally-remastered-1
I'm excited to use everything I have practiced and put out some new material!
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Ben Higgins
post Aug 30 2014, 09:35 AM
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QUOTE (Jim S. @ Aug 30 2014, 02:40 AM) *
My natural playing style does lean toward the off beat triplet feel even if I don't play cleanly. One teacher of mine told me to tap my foot on 2 & 4 and while practicing this I found myself playing on the 1/8 note. Here is a track from before gmc, I feel it's my cleanest played recording pre-gmc. https://soundcloud.com/jim-seekford-music/fog-digitally-remastered-1
I'm excited to use everything I have practiced and put out some new material!


I'd say that, apart from the tapping at the end, most of your quick runs are straight 16th notes here.. which fits with the beat, although you could fit 16th note sextuplets over it as well, which is probably what is going on with the tapping smile.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post Aug 30 2014, 09:36 AM
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Well, since I started breaking free from thinking in terms of positions and just humming the lines I hear in my head, I find it very easy to employ dynamics in my playing.

The process goes like this:

- I am listening to the backing track first to get acquainted with it
- I push the rec button on the microphone
- I start humming and I literally break free from any form or preconception
- Once the track ends or when I hear something that I like, I isolate that specific part and figure things out on the guitar - you would be amazed by what sort of unusual phrases you would get if you would lose the guitar when creating smile.gif
- After I sort it out, I analyze it and understand it in terms of musical theory, so that I may see how I can further develop or improve it.

When you think with the guitar in your hands, you will first think about what you can't do and about what you already know what to do, instead of focusing on the music that plays in your head and that you just need to sort out.

Try this procedure and you will get great results, trust me wink.gif

Jim - the track isn't bad at all, but you kind of spanned over a long interval of time 5min43 of improvising is pretty much a lot and you got lost. Try to apply my method above, over a 30 sec portion of your favorite backing - the more focused you are and the shorter the time span, the better the results.

What do you think?


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Ben Higgins
post Aug 30 2014, 09:53 AM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Aug 30 2014, 09:36 AM) *
Well, since I started breaking free from thinking in terms of positions and just humming the lines I hear in my head, I find it very easy to employ dynamics in my playing.

The process goes like this:

- I am listening to the backing track first to get acquainted with it
- I push the rec button on the microphone
- I start humming and I literally break free from any form or preconception
- Once the track ends or when I hear something that I like, I isolate that specific part and figure things out on the guitar - you would be amazed by what sort of unusual phrases you would get if you would lose the guitar when creating smile.gif
- After I sort it out, I analyze it and understand it in terms of musical theory, so that I may see how I can further develop or improve it.

When you think with the guitar in your hands, you will first think about what you can't do and about what you already know what to do, instead of focusing on the music that plays in your head and that you just need to sort out.

Try this procedure and you will get great results, trust me wink.gif


C-Master, you've been telling us about this approach for some time and I STILL haven't tried this yet ! My bad !

I tend to compose lines in my head without the guitar so it's a similar thing.. but vocalising would make it more tangible and easier to interpret into guitar lines.


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Bogdan Radovic
post Aug 30 2014, 10:40 PM
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I'm must say I'm a straight shooter smile.gif
As a bass player, I'm usually playing quarter notes, eighth notes or combination of those two with added 16th here and there. Actually, when starting - I had real difficulties getting down the triplets and also the famous blues shuffle rhythm. What I have noticed is that the more I was learning about note values and practicing different ones, it opened up more possibilities for coming up with interesting rhythms and grooves on the instrument. I think that we can get easily trapped if we underestimate the power of note values and stick to only few favorites. That can easily lead to poor "rhythm phrasing". We can often try to focus so much on the melody and which notes we are hitting when practicing phrasing, that we forget about the underlaying ingredient - rhythm and rhythm variety. I'd say that rhythm phrasing comes before melody and to have successful rhythm phrasing we need to be somewhat versatile with different note values and be able to combine them.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Aug 31 2014, 08:03 AM
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I think you said it right, mate smile.gif If you hear the rhythm behind a melody you know, chances are you will recognize it instantly - correct?

I think I have stated this before, but think of 'Jingle Bells', for instance - Once you hear the ta ta taaa, ta ta taaa, ta ta taa ta taaa laugh.gif I know it looks funny - you will have an idea about the notes behind the rhythm of the melody. Or at least that's what happens when you have a trained ear and you listen to a lot of music.

I think a very good starting point for understanding note values is actually Ben's lesson - https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/Picking-Hand-Basics/ you have pretty much all the important rhythmic subdivisions or note values and as long as you understand them in respect to the time signature they are played against - in this situation 4/4 - you will already have a good basis to start experimenting with combining them, maybe even by creating a new melodic line based on this idea, over Ben's lesson backing track. Could be a good challenge - so, who's in?

QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Aug 30 2014, 09:40 PM) *
I'm must say I'm a straight shooter smile.gif
As a bass player, I'm usually playing quarter notes, eighth notes or combination of those two with added 16th here and there. Actually, when starting - I had real difficulties getting down the triplets and also the famous blues shuffle rhythm. What I have noticed is that the more I was learning about note values and practicing different ones, it opened up more possibilities for coming up with interesting rhythms and grooves on the instrument. I think that we can get easily trapped if we underestimate the power of note values and stick to only few favorites. That can easily lead to poor "rhythm phrasing". We can often try to focus so much on the melody and which notes we are hitting when practicing phrasing, that we forget about the underlaying ingredient - rhythm and rhythm variety. I'd say that rhythm phrasing comes before melody and to have successful rhythm phrasing we need to be somewhat versatile with different note values and be able to combine them.



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