Focus on the Rhythm (Guitar Lesson)

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Focus on the Rhythm

Now try taking the concepts learned in the last lesson and apply them to chords and strumming. The physical differences between playing chords and single notes provide an interesting challenge when staying continually behind the beat.

Taught by Bumblefoot in Bumblefoot's Artist Series seriesLength: 13:58Difficulty: 3.5 of 5

Video Subtitles / Captions

Scene 1

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Before we were doing some single note stuff to a very slow rhythm just working on developing a pocket

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and a discipline and not rushing ahead of the beat even the beat is very dragging.

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So let's do the same thing with chords now.
Just a little bit of strummings.

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So we've got our forty BPM's and we're just going to play one strum per beat and you're just going to lag behind that beat.

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If the beat is so slow that you're not feeling the internal pulse of when it's coming then divide it in your head to something, just double it up.

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Just go instead of bump, bump, bump, just go bump, bump, bump, bump

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or if you have to go bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump or whatever it is play to that.

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You want to stay behind the beat.

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Alright let's move this chords around how about G, C.
Want to do two G's.

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Two C's.

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What we're doing here now is just focusing on staying behind that beat.

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Let's do two chords per beat.

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Still making sure that the ones on the metronome hit behind it.
You don't want to do this.

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You want to stay behind it.
Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it.

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I'm getting sick of these chords, let's change them and let's do three per beat.

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One triplet, two triplet and let's change up these chords.
Let's do A minor, F, C, G, incredible.

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Let me tighten up the strum to so it's more percussive and it's right on it.

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Slow it down, pull back.

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Let's do a little two ahead, pull it back more.

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I'm still acting like a guitarist and I'm jumping ahead just a little hair so pull it back more.

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One, two, three, one, two, three.
One, two, three, one, two, three.

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It's tricky it is, it's really tricky.

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You want to get just right on it and then you start jumping ahead of it and it's very hard to stay behind it.

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That's what we are practicing here. Staying behind the beat.

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We're going to try four per click, ok.

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Click. Let's try A minor, D minor, G, C.

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I'm still too on it, I want to get behind it.

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There it is.

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Not bad.

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It's always just a little behind it.

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That one was good, that was good.

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My triplets stank but that was good.

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So yeah we can keep on going, we can do five.

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Which for that either you can do just a bunch of downs and do them like that.

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Let's see one, two, three, four, five, one, two, three, four, five, one, two, three, four, five.

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Yeah see I'm rushing already.

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Rushing a little bit, but better.

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Six per beat.

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One, two, three, four, five, six.
One, two, three, four, five, six.

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Let's go down, up.

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Yeah, tricky. Just finding that sweet spot, not quite on the beat, not too far behind it.

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You're definitely not jumping in front and once you get into that area it's pretty good.

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It's good stuff, good pocket but it takes practice.

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It's not easy to do.

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So something to work on.

Scene 2

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What I'm going to do now is I'm going to record myself playing and then I'm going to listen back and see how it sounds because it's one thing

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to play it and how it feels and another thing to listen back when you're not feeling it and you're just listening.

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So I'm going to play it and then we're going to listen and them I'm going to critique and see if I'm in the pocket

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and how I'm doing and what I need to work on.

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I'm just going to play some tight chords just some little A minor to a G and I'm going to start off with just one, one and one, one, tight.

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What I'm listening to is not the actual beat, I am but I'm breaking it up into quarters in my head.

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Two, three, four and it's helping me stay on it.

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Let's try two.

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02:22.594 --> 02:43.228

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As you're practicing this you'll notice that as you're focusing on, you're landing on the beat but just a hair behind it.

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You might find yourself chasing the beat a little bit where you're speeding up and slowing down and that kind of stuff.

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It's ok if that happens at first.
After a while it'll go away, it'll get better.

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Alright, I want to take a listen back and see just how that was vibing out there yeah.

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It's definitely not in front and that's the goal we are working on not being in front.

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It doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't have to be exactly precise every time.

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It just has to be behind, I know it's a strange exercise.

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Nah. You could hear the thinking. You could hear the thinking in there.

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So that's when you need to just tell yourself relax, relax, that's when you tell yourself to stop thinking.

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Use a different part of your brain to focus on it because you can do that.

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There's multiple parts of your mind, it's sort of like think about it like the front of your mind and the back of your mind.

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When the front of your mind is thinking about it that is when it gets very tense.

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When the back of your mind is taking care of it that's when it's free.

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So you want to just put things in the back of your head and not really focus on it and it just sort of happens.

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That's another thing that in some other lessons that I'm going to work on with you all so yeah.

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So until then just practice this.

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Behind the beat, just a little behind the beat and get comfortable doing that

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and it will help you stay in the pocket
when you're playing with a drummer or whatever you're playing to

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but keep in mind that you are always playing to something whether it's the beat in your head, whether it's an external beat

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There's something and you just want to stay in the pocket of that and not jump in front of it.

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Thank you very much.


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

LSCalgaryLSCalgary replied

I am loving the lessons!! Thank you :)

adamtenadamten replied

ok...I am using the 60 bpm setting on jamplay at 4 beats. it gives a visual as to the beat. so if you wait until you see the beat count ( 1 2 3 4) you can play behind it. i.e., see the number, then play the note or chord immediately.

adamtenadamten replied

s the jamplay metronome chill to 2 forty bpm?

dvaneyldvaneyl replied

This is great. The key point here along with the first lesson, then, is that the context and structure of what you are playing (beat & rhythm( (playing to "something") is critical and that the guitar's contribution must respect that context and structure and harmonize with it, right? Does this make sense?

Bumblefoot's Artist Series

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Unconventional... Diabolical... Just plain crazy! Learn a fresh, quirky and MUSICAL approach to extreme guitar playing!

Series IntroductionLesson 1

Series Introduction

Guns N' Roses guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal pulls out all the stops in his blistering artist series. Dive into the intense, yet seemingly effortless, playing style of a true legend in our time. Learn...

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Focus on the RhythmLesson 3

Focus on the Rhythm

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Slackers beware! Bumblefoot introduces another picking variation and connects the ascending and descending sweeping patterns for one mind and finger boggling exercise. Whatever you do, DON'T CHEAT! Practice...

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Mental MultitaskingLesson 9

Mental Multitasking

A seasoned guitar player can have multiple active channels going in his mind at once. That's what helps the masters play a rhythm and a melody line at the same time. That's what makes singing complex melodies...

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Huh? Two Scales at Once?Lesson 10

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Put mental multitasking to work with your hands. Practice playing a simple C major scale, but play it in a round. Start it, and then while continuing to play it in sequence, start it again!

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One Step Ahead of Your Hands!Lesson 11

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Sharpen your mind like a samurai sword with this exercise! While playing one note, think and speak the next note you will play. Practice this to a metronome with different note values...EEK!

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Does Your Left Know What Your Right Is Doing?Lesson 12

Does Your Left Know What Your Right Is Doing?

Here's one more brain tearing exercise! Practice playing different rhythmic groupings with each hand at the same time. Then, try to talk while you're doing it! Make these mental multitasking lessons part...

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Get a brief tutorial on proper tapping technique. Then, it's off to Bumbleland! Dive into 2 finger right hand tapping phrases, string skipping, and more!

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Take 2 hand and 2 right hand finger tapping to the next level. Don't forget rhythm! Rhythm is still important when notes are flying by!

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Now Let's Go Tap DancingLesson 15

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Take the last two crazy lessons on tapping, and make them a bit more musical. As with the sweeps, DON'T CHEAT! Make sure your playing is clean and calculated at whatever speed you are playing.

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Be a Bit AbnormalLesson 16

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With this lesson, Bumblefoot delivers the first of a handful of ways to take what you may already be comfortable with and add some quirkiness. This segment focuses on changing the harmony in the major...

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Do you like the pentatonic scale? Are you maybe a little tired of being limited by it? If so, this lesson is for you! Learn a VERY simple way to spice it up!

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About Bumblefoot View Full Biography "Making music has a greater purpose - anything I can do to help others, I try to do."

-Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal

I love spicy food - working on recipes for my own line of hot sauces. Been upping my tolerance - currently at 7,100,000 Scoville Units (that's 3x stronger than commercial-grade pepper spray weapon) If anyone asks me about Scoville Units, I'll bore them for a half-hour talking about capsaicin molecules, habaneros and heat measurements.

One time in Japan, I stayed up 43 hours straight doing gigs, interviews, instructional videos and going to clubs.

I take oral hygiene and fire safety seriously.

As a kid, I'd lay the guitar on the ground and play Bach pieces with two hands and one foot. Been a while since I tried that.

When I can, I like to do home improvement stuff - mostly drywall and electrical, some simple plumbing. Last thing I did at my house was install recessed lights in the ceiling going to a dimmer, and put in a new bathroom sink and faucet.

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