The only thing that I suck at more than rhythm is spelling the word. I'm trying to improve my guitar playing by learning music theory (modes, triads, hopefully arpeggios) with the idea of playing acoustic blues stuff by myself. That's like my goal but I've recently realized that I have garbage rhythm and cannot play fast notes in time, syncopated or otherwise. I can play notes all the way up to the eighth note but nothing any faster than that. I've been working on alternate picking stuff but progress is slow. I was just wondering if anyone had any tips or resources for feeling rhythm.
tl;dr I have garbage rhythm and I'm looking for some tips or some resources to help get a better feel for it.
Honestly, I got good at rhythm by jamming the shit out of the first two Blue Man Group albums. Most of their songs constantly have the quickest subdivision going on in the background, which is often the 16th note, so it's super easy to feel what part of the beat a note is on.
On top of that, 10 years of playing jazz taught me a lot about how to "feel" rhythms instead of just counting them. Let's take a common rhythm, a dotted-eighth note on the downbeat, followed by a sixteenth note. I'll imagine constant sixteenth notes playing in my mind. Now, from an analytical standpoint, I know the dotted-eighth note takes up 3 of the sixteenth notes, and the sixteenth note of course takes only one. The trick is to find a word or phrase where the accented syllables line up with the notes you play. The common phrase for this particular rhythm is "Bucket of Fish". Imagine these words being said to the rhythm of the constant sixteenth notes, so we've got "BUC-ket-of-FISH". For different rhythms, try finding or making up your own phrases, the funnier the better. My band director used to say such random phrases to help with rhythms, such as "I like bean burritos". You gotta loosen up a bit and have fun, otherwise you'll only be counting rhythms instead of feeling them. Eventually, you'll just feel the rhythms without having to imagine any words at all.
As far as playing faster, this might seem counter-intuitive, but slow it down. However slow it takes you to be able to play it PERFECTLY. Repeat the part over and over at the slow tempo, with minimal mistakes. This is critical for training your muscle memory. When you find yourself relaxing and not making any mistakes, then AND ONLY THEN do you speed up your metronome by a few clicks.
By the way, if you're doing any of this without using a metronome, don't. Download a free metronome app on to your phone and just learn to deal with the annoying click. If you don't, your improvement will come at a snail's pace, but with a metronome, you can go from "Tempo de Learno" to full speed in a couple hours tops.
I know this advice might be a little off the wall and weird, and I'm sorry if it doesn't help, but this is what helped me develop my rhythm.
That honestly helps so much! Now I know why stevie T is always saying random sentences with the beat XD Thanks again my man can I also ask for some Jazz recommendations? Jazz is a genre I haven't really delved into and I'm curious!
Glad I could help! Here's a list of some of my favorite jazz songs.
*EDIT - I didn't realize putting a link would embed the actual video, sorry about the long-ass post*
Birdland, the Maynard Ferguson cover -
In The Mood, Glenn Miller -
St. Louis Blues March, Glenn Miller -
Moonlight Serenade, Glenn Miller -
Sing Sing Sing, Benny Goodman -
Sing Sang Sung, Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band -
Mueva Los Huesos, Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band -
Jazz Police, Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band -
Hunting Wabbits, Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band -
Scream Machine, Dave Stahl Band -
Chameleon, Herbie Hancock (the Maynard Ferguson version is great too) -
C Jam Blues, Duke Ellington -
Take the "A" Train, Duke Ellington -
Minnie the Moocher, Cab Calloway -
Jumpin' Jive, Cab Calloway -
I think it's relevant to mention though that I only ever played jazz trombone, and I've always been intimidated by jazz guitar. Also, I've always thought that the guitar in a jazz band is never loud enough, except on Jazz Police.