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Keeping Time While Playing (Guitar Lesson)


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Mark Lincoln

Keeping Time While Playing

Mark reviews qualitative and quantitative changes. He explains how to keep time while performing these changes.

Taught by Mark Lincoln in Basic Guitar with Mark Lincoln seriesLength: 21:17Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (05:35) Introduction
Review
- Warm-up the hands.
- Stretch the wrists.
- Play the major and minor open chords.
- Warm up your strumming muscles by relaxing the wrists and letting the pick flow over the strings.
- Play the E major chord in the “new” way and play the type 1 barre chords.
- Play the A major chord in the “new” way and play the type 2 barre chords.
- Practice the “slanting A” technique.
- Practice the type 1 minor barre chords.
- Practice the type 2 minor barre Chords.
- Play all of the type 1 mini-barre chords.
- Play all of the type 2 mini-barre chords.
- Review and practice quantitative and qualitative techniques.
- Review last week’s exercises.
Ready?

Some weeks ago, we discussed the concept of quantitative and qualitative techniques. Quantitative techniques are those that, for example, remove strums from your rhythm and give the music more space. Qualitative techniques are more like using liquid chords, strumming louder and softer, walking up and down chords, sliding, and changing dynamics in general. Over the next couple of weeks, I will focus on combining techniques in order to synthesize the material that we have covered in this series.

Quantitative
It’s extremely important to remember that one can remove strums from their rhythm pattern to increase fluidity and subtlety but the amount of time that the rhythm pattern takes should remain the same. This is a key point when talking about quantitative technique, because the fundamental structure of the song is at risk if you don’t keep your time in tact. How do you keep time? It’s a personal issue of sorts and how one player keeps time is not necessarily how another does it. I usually tap my left foot while I play, but I don’t always. Sometimes I keep time in my head.
Chapter 2: (02:01) Exercise 2 Exercise 1
Play D, A, C, and G as open chords. Use the strum or "down, down-up, down." How are you keeping time? Do you find yourself tapping your feet or are you keeping time in your head, or both? Do you feel yourself slowing down and speeding up? How do you know?
Chapter 3: (01:12) Exercise 2 and 3 Exercise 2
Listen to your favorite CD and practice tapping your foot to the music. Try to pick a song that is relatively simple and has rhythm guitar in it. Try to get a handle on keeping time to a simple song before getting into more complex types of music. Do you find yourself tapping along? Actively listen to the music while focusing on the rhythm guitar. Play along in time with your guitar even if you don’t know the chords. You can muffle the strings with your chord hand while strumming.

Exercise 3
Now, go back to Exercise 1 and play the same chords and the same rhythm while keeping an open ear for your time. Have you gotten better at identifying what “good” time should sound like? Do you think you can learn what it takes to keep time from established music that is played in time? Keep practicing along with established songs. Then, transfer those skills into your own playing.

Subjective Nature of Time
As in most facets of life, there is an element of subjectivity. Two people playing guitar together may very well be keeping time at two different speeds. This can be a very unfortunate facet to playing with other people. Is there a right time? Yes, of course! That’s why many professionals play and record with click tracks that work to monitor the time signature and keep everybody in time together. Is this necessary for an individual playing alone or a casual Sunday jam with your friends? Probably not, but some people can definitely benefit from the help of a time keeping device such as a metronome or drum machine.

Okay, so we’ve established that time is an integral part to playing rhythm and keeping it “straight” so to speak. Keeping steady time can become more and more difficult as one changes the strum quantitatively since the number of strums within a pattern is reduced.
Chapter 4: (05:36) Exercise 4 Exercise 4
Play the same rhythm as you did in Exercise 1 (down, down-up, down), but use the chords Em, C, G and D this time. Focus on the rhythm and what you are doing to keep the time straight in this little “song.” Even if you can keep time in your head, try to tap your foot with this exercise. Tapping can help when you start to pull strums from the rhythm and make quantitative changes in your song. Now play the same chords but without the last strum in your rhythm so... or "down, down-up." Remember, the amount of time that it takes to complete the pattern needs to remain the same despite the absence of one strum. Try this and watch me in the video for more on this. Are you able to keep time in between your strums to maintain your rhythm’s integrity?
Chapter 5: (02:11) Exercise 5 Exercise 5
Play the same chords listed above, but this time, only play a single down stroke. Keep in mind, the tempo and beat must remain the same in these exercises, so you’ll need to keep time! Are you finding it more difficult to keep time when some of the strums are removed?

What can you do to help keep time (tapping, counting, thinking etc.)?

So, how were those exercises for you? What portion of the exercises do you think you did really well? What do you think you need to improve upon? Pay attention to your answers to these questions and practice hardest on the areas that you need the most work on.

Now, as you probably know, we’ll make things a little more difficult. We’re going to combine quantitative and qualitative changes in the same rhythms. In this first set, were going to add and/or subtract notes to liquefy the chords that we’re playing while making quantitative changes as well. Ready?
Chapter 6: (04:42) Exercise 6 and 7 Exercise 6
Now, let's go back to the first exercise where you played the chords D, A, C, and G. This time, we're going to use slightly different forms of these chords:

Dsus2
E_0_
B_3_
G_2_
D_0_
A_X_
E_X_

Asus2
E_0_
B_0_
G_2_
D_2_
A_0_
E_X_

Cadd9
E_0_
B_3_
G_0_
D_2_
A_3_
E_X_

G6
E_0_
B_3_
G_0_
D_0_
A_2_
E_3_

Using the strum or "down, down-up, down" while keeping solid time, play the four chords. Play the D chord by placing your first finger on the G string, second fret, and your third finger on the B-string, third fret. Then, play the A chord by placing your first finger on the D string, second fret and your middle finger on the G-string, second fret. Play the C chord by placing your first finger on the D string second fret, your middle finger on the A string third fret, and your third finger on the B string, third fret. Finally, play the G chord by placing your first finger on the A string second fret, your middle finger on the low E string third fret and your ring finger on the B string third fret.

Start by strumming the "down, down-up, down." Then, when you feel comfortable with this strum, play a simple downstroke just as we did before. Are you paying attention to keeping time even when you are strumming less? Watch me in the video for more on this.

Now, we're going to start again with the "down, down-up, down strum." This time, we're going to make a qualitative change to our little song. On the D and A chords, we'e going to add a note onto each of the upstrums. On the C and G chords, we're going to subtract a note on the upstrum. On the D chord, add your second finger to the high E string, making the chord into a D major chord. On the A chord, add your third finger onto the B-string making the chord into an A major. On the C chord, remove your first finger from the D string making the chord into Cadd9. Finally, on the G chord, remove your first finger from the A string making the chord into a G5 chord. Strum each of the new chords and then play the "down, down-up, down" strum making the new changes on the "up" portion of the strum pattern.

Exercise 7
Using the information from Exercise 6 and beginning with the down down-up down, play the chords with the new changes while concentrating on adding or subtracting the proper note on the upstroke. Get comfortable with this change and then make the quantitative change in your song by dropping the last down stroke. Make sure to keep time by tapping your foot or whichever method works best for you. One important aspect of adding more complex changes into your rhythm playing is simplification. Find smooth and easy ways to make your chord transitions so that you don't need to concentrate on them as much. Then, you can focus on making other modifications to your song.

*Note: It is of the utmost importance that you master the lesson exercises in small, manageable pieces before you master the entire exercise.

Video Subtitles / Captions


Member Comments about this Lesson

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


Southern CashSouthern Cash replied on February 18th, 2016

You are such a fantastic teacher!

abesterabester replied on September 6th, 2012

Great lesson, Helps with keeping my timing with jam tracks, ajm tracks work just like metronomes and are very helpful in getting creative.

jaymosley79jaymosley79 replied on October 27th, 2009

Did I sense some Kundalini in that lesson?

alshyalshy replied on October 21st, 2009

im lucky my foot tends to keep me there automatically, i start to play and ive got the time in my head then concentrate on what i have to play, then it transfer to my foot{ its kinda hard to explain if you catch what i mean. another great lesson mark thanx

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on May 4th, 2009

Hey Dash thanks for the great input and feedback for other members as well. Just for clarification purposes though: "pulling out" strums as you put it will change the rhythm Quantitatively not qualitatively as you are changing the number of strums you are actually strumming despite the fact that you are not changing rhythmically. Does that make sense?

dash rendardash rendar replied on May 4th, 2009

Just another thought for keeping time when you're changing the rhythm (Mark's qualitative changes)... You can keep your strumming hand moving up and down constantly at the same pace, but just 'pull out strums' to affect the rhythm change. So, even though you're not hitting the strums on every up beat and down beat, your hand is still constantly moving. This works for me, so I thought I'd share... :)

Basic Guitar with Mark Lincoln

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Learning the basics of the guitar, the building blocks if you will, is an extremely important step in learning and mastering the guitar. This series is all about the basics.



Lesson 1

Guitar Basics

This lesson is all about the basics. Mark explains guitar parts, holding the guitar, and more.

Length: 13:12 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Tuning, Gear, and Chords

Mark begins by discussing equipment every guitarist should own. Then, he introduces chords and proper tuning methods.

Length: 17:28 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 3

Chords and Strumming

Mark finishes his discussion of the "open" chords. He applies these chords to basic rhythm and strumming concepts.

Length: 17:33 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Minor Chords and More

Mark reviews the major chords and introduces the minor chords. He also covers strumming techniques in greater depth.

Length: 25:48 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Expanding Chords

Mark introduces a few more minor chords. He also provides a monster chord exercise.

Length: 16:36 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Strumming Exercises

Mark Lincoln continues his discussion of chords and strumming. He introduces several new exercises in this lesson.

Length: 19:30 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 7

Music Theory and Barre Chords

Mark covers several topics in this lesson. He explains scales and barre chords. He also demonstrates how to find notes on the fretboard.

Length: 21:45 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 8

E Shape Barre Chords

Mark Lincoln covers E shaped barre chords in greater depth. Mark refers to these chords as "Type 1" barre chords.

Length: 15:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

A Shape Barre Chords

Mark covers the A Shape / Type 2 barre chords in greater depth.

Length: 17:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Minor Barre Chords

Mark introduces minor barre chords that utilize the shape of the "open" Em chord.

Length: 13:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

A Minor Shape Barre Chords

Mark introduces minor barre chords based on the shape of the "open" Am chord. He refers to these chords as "Type 2 Minor" barre chords.

Length: 12:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Mini Barre Chord

Mark demonstrates abbreviated versions of the "Type 1" and "Type 2" barre chords. He calls these "mini barre" chords.

Length: 17:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

A Shape Mini Barre

Mark teaches the "mini barre" version of the A major shaped barre chord. He also explains dissonance.

Length: 20:29 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 14

Minor Mini Barre Chords

Mark Lincoln applies mini-barre chord concepts to minor chords.

Length: 12:28 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Guitar Technique

Mark Lincoln explains essential components of guitar technique.

Length: 15:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Guitar Dynamics

Mark Lincoln explains how dynamics can enhance your playing. He covers topics such as volume, tempo, rests, and more.

Length: 27:48 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 17

Transistion Strums

Mark Lincoln explains more about guitar technique. This time around he introduces "transition strums" and continues his discussion of liquid chords.

Length: 26:12 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

Harmonic Technique

Mark Lincoln explains what harmonics are and how they are played.

Length: 15:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 19

Expanding Liquid Chords

Mark Lincoln expands on the concept of liquid chords. He explains new chord variations and how they can be changed in mid-strum.

Length: 16:21 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 20

Spicing up Chords

Mark demonstrates how chord progressions can be spiced up by adding hammer-ons and pull-offs.

Length: 12:21 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

Chord Fingering

Mark explains how chord fingerings must be altered when applying "liquid chord" concepts. He also provides a few new "liquid chord" exercises.

Length: 11:10 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 22

Precision Strumming

Mark returns to the land of chords. This time around, he provides an exercise that contains four variations on the A chord.

Length: 14:28 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 23

D to D in Six Steps

Mark provides a chord progression that shifts from one D chord to another in six steps.

Length: 15:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 24

Chord Voicings and Construction

Mark delves deeper into chord construction and alternate chord voicings.

Length: 13:36 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

Quantitative and Qualitative Changes

Mark tests your guitar knowledge with a pop quiz. Then, he discusses quantitative and qualitative changes.

Length: 22:54 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 26

Quantitative and Qualitative Review

In the 26th installment of his basic guitar series, Mark reviews the quantitative and qualitative changes he presented in lesson 25.

Length: 17:34 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 27

Rhythm and Guitar

Mark provides exercises designed to make you a better rhythm player.

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 28

Expanded Rhythm Exercise

Mark Lincoln expands on the rhythm exercise from lesson 27. This time around he incorporates several C based chords.

Length: 14:31 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 29

Hand Structure

Mark discusses proper playing technique. He provides a few exercises that facilitate right hand mechanics.

Length: 17:02 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 30

Cadd9 and Dsus2

Mark provides an exercise that features two new chords - Cadd9 and Dsus2.

Length: 0:00 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 31

Finger Glue and Flexibility

In the 31st lesson, Mark discusses his "finger glue" technique. This technique improves speed and accuracy.

Length: 21:31 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 32

Reviewing Chord Changes

Mark takes a step back in lesson 32 to explain how to make quick and accurate chord changes.

Length: 22:14 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 33

Sliding

Mark explains how to use the slide technique between chords.

Length: 19:24 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 34

Keeping Time While Playing

Mark reviews qualitative and quantitative changes. He explains how to keep time while performing these changes.

Length: 21:17 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 35

A Minor Progression

Mark discusses qualitative and quantitative changes within an A minor progression.

Length: 19:56 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 36

Chord Transistions

Mark Lincoln discusses several techniques that can be used when transitioning between chords.

Length: 21:43 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 37

Chord Transistions Revisited

In this lesson, Mark once again covers the subject of chord transitions. This time around, he focuses on barre chords and includes several helpful exercises.

Length: 23:25 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 38

Playing Individual Notes

In lesson 38, Mark discusses how playing single notes rather than chords can spice up your playing.

Length: 22:56 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 39

Rocking Out

Lesson 39 is all about rocking out. Mark discusses some tips to take your playing to the next level.

Length: 18:08 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 40

Slash Chords

Lesson 40 takes a deeper look at slash chords. Mark discusses why they're called slash chords, and how they are formed.

Length: 14:42 Difficulty: 2.0 FREE
Lesson 41

Strumming from the Wrist

In lesson 41, Mark reviews the warm-up section and provides new tips on playing adequately from the wrist.

Length: 22:09 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 42

Raising the Barre

Mark builds further on barre chord techniques and liquid chords.

Length: 17:24 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 43

Building on Your Chord Knowledge

In lesson 43, Mark discusses additional skills related to learning and playing chords, specifically "liquification" of chords.

Length: 20:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 44

Experiment With Playing

Lesson 44 is all about trying new things. Mark discusses experimenting with your playing in order to take it to the next level.

Length: 17:20 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 45

Diversifying

In this lesson, Mark once again talks about changing up chord derivatives to create a more unique sound.

Length: 20:56 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 46

Shaping the Hands

In lesson 46, Mark explains how to maximize your options by maintaining chord shapes while playing.

Length: 21:44 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 47

Precision Strumming

Today, Mark takes in depth look at strumming.

Length: 23:57 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 48

Shine Like the Sun

Mark Lincoln teaches an original song entitled "Shine Like the Sun."

Length: 18:59 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 49

Changing Chords : Accuracy and Speed

Mark teaches some useful information on how to mix postures, "finger glue," and techniques to make your chord changes speedy and more effective.

Length: 30:56 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 50

Play Along with Mulitple Chord Voicings

In this lesson, Mark guides you through the world of alternate chord voicings. He teaches several shapes and shows how they can be used to enhance your playing.

Length: 23:06 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 51

Understanding Liquified Chords

Mark brings us a very appealing aspect to better understand the guitar. With his explanation of "liquified" chords, mark will explain how to move up and down the guitar to create different chord voicing.

Length: 25:32 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only

About Mark Lincoln View Full Biography Mark Lincoln was born in S. California but was raised near Portland Oregon in a town called Beaverton. When he was twelve years old, he began his journey into the realm of the creative by composing poetry and was later published in a journal called "In Dappled Sunlight." He wrote for four years until his older sister blessed him with his first guitar, an old beat-up nylon stringed classical guitar. Mark played that guitar for five years, continuing to compose his own lyrics and starting the process of matching his own words with chords that he was learning on the guitar. He learned to play chords from his friends and from music books that he both bought and borrowed. Mark cited his four biggest influences, at that point at least, as The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, The Rolling Stones.

Mark cites his most current influences as Radiohead, U2, older music by REM, and Peter Gabriel amongst others. He performs with two acoustic guitars, one being a six-string M-36 Martin with a three-pieced back for increased bass response, and a Guild Twelve-string which is his most recent acquisition. Mark is fond of saying that the twelve-string guitar is better because you get two guitars for the price of one, but he still plays his Martin equally as much and with the same passion.

Mark ended up in Fort Collins Colorado where he currently lives, works as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and continues to write, teach and perform music. He currently performs with a group called "Black Nelson" as well as with a number of other seasoned professional musicians including his cousin David, a virtuoso lead-guitar player. Mark has performed in many of the smaller venues in Denver and Boulder, as well as some of the larger ones including the Fox Theatre, The Boulder Theatre, Herman's Hideaway, and also at The Soiled Dove where he opened for Jefferson Starship as a soloist. Some of Mark's originals are also available for your listening pleasure on MySpace.

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