An Important Aspect is....

Discussion in 'How To Improvise Blues Solos' started by Thatman, Nov 29, 2016.

  1. Thatman

    Thatman Playin' for the fun of it.

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    the counting.

    It's taken me a long time to focus on counting, upto now I've tended to just leave the gap I think is right then start to play again, this course has provided a simple method to aid me to count. Now this may sound daft but for me it's working, I find that now I am counting through other licks and strumming patterns in others work, and yes it does sound good when you leave the right space and not just the guessed space.

    This is definitely a course to persevere with. (y)
     
  2. HotLks

    HotLks Blues - it's in me and it's got to come out.

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    upload_2016-11-29_11-16-52.png

    Endeavor to Persevere!

    See you down the road!
     
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  3. Mr.Scary

    Mr.Scary A Blues Legend in My Own Mind

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    My thoughts exactly !!
     
  4. LLL

    LLL Workin' the Blues

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    Interesting that you point this out. Griff has stated many times that the "fastest way to improve your guitar playing is to COUNT what you are playing." And that would be for anyone that wants to improve their playing no matter what your level is.

    It just amazes me that some people ignore this "tip" - why wouldn't you want to get better just by implementing this one thing! :cool:
     
  5. patb

    patb Blues Junior

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    I have proven conclusively that without counting I will be lost toward the end of the second measure unless I play a known lick. Once lost I am just off to hell and gone.
     
  6. Jalapeno

    Jalapeno Southeastern Michigan

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    Thatman, Mr. Scary, LLL, patb, I don't normally get involved in counting discussions but my observation from the 3 years I've spent on this forum is that people who actually use and make progress in Griff's courses learn to count even if it is hard. Those advocating feeling the beat, again just my observation, appear not to use Grif's method. Some are even vocal that they've bought a course or two and haven't even cracked them open yet or are waiting for retirement before doing so, or whatever.

    For me, and this applies only to me, I paid Griff to teach me to play the blues and he says to count. Why would I pay money for lessons and then ignore what's taught because someone who doesn't use them says it isn't required?

    Anyway, this isn't meant to be a dig at those with the skill level to feel the beat, but rather a cautionary tale to beginners.

    You can ignore me now.

    Eric
     
  7. JPsuff

    JPsuff Satisfaction is complacency

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    I think the whole counting issue seems to break down (as so many issues do) to a sort of "either/or" proposition; people either count or they don't.
    I think the more accurate way of looking at it is that counting is simply something that may or may not be necessary depending upon what one is trying to accomplish.

    I don't generally count; I'm more in the "feel" camp.
    And it's not that I disapprove of counting but rather that I don't always view it as something I need to do all the time.
    Maybe it has to do with the fact that I'm a drummer or maybe it's something else like some sort of natural clock, but whenever I try counting it just throws me off. Whenever I'm playing something in a straight-four type of rhythm I think counting gets in the way. In certain instances such as odd-time signatures or polyrhythms where I'm trying to learn something intricate and I can't quite nail down the feel, then I will resort to counting. But ninety percent of the time (and even in some polyrhythmic situations) I just play according to what feels right and I think I do pretty well with that --- I guess I'm just wired that way.

    I'm not suggesting that counting is a bad thing.
    It's just that I don't see it as being absolutely vital to improvement or that someone can't improve if they don't count out everything they play. I treat counting like any other tool --- if I need it I'll use it, but if I don't need it, it just stays on the pegboard with the other tools.

    Anyway, that's my two-cents worth.

    Cheers! :Beer:
     
  8. Jalapeno

    Jalapeno Southeastern Michigan

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    With all due respect JP, weren't you a drummer before taking up guitar? I wonder if your experience would translate to someone who is just learning to play? As someone who didn't start music until I was 48 (bass guitar) and didn't start guitar until I was 53 I can't imagine learning rhythms without counting them. Even as I have developed a feel for the beat the past few years I still need to count. I've been doing it since I started and I think I've made great progress in 5 years of guitar learning.

    Just out of curiosity which of Griff's courses have you completed (or are nearing completion)? I've done a few of them and counting has been invaluable, so I'm interested in hearing from someone who has been able to complete some of the courses without counting.

    Eric
     
  9. PapaBear

    PapaBear Guit Fiddlier

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    I too am in the feel camp, that said when I'm working on Griff's courses I do count them and out loud for that matter.
     
  10. Jalapeno

    Jalapeno Southeastern Michigan

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    Did you play when you were younger or have you just started on guitar?

    Eric
     
  11. PapaBear

    PapaBear Guit Fiddlier

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    I've played for 40 years more in the last 20
     
  12. BoogieMan

    BoogieMan Blues Junior

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    Counting is sometimes useful when learning licks but I don't think it's practical in a playing situation where there is a lot going on and a lot of distractions.
     
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  13. JPsuff

    JPsuff Satisfaction is complacency

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    Yes, I wrote that I was (am) a drummer in my post.
    Everything I wrote is simply my opinion and what seems to work for me and I didn't say anything about not counting at all -- rather that I only use counting when I feel I need to.

    Everybody is different and we all learn in different ways.

    For example, sometimes counting in actual numbers, or using the standard "One - e - and - a..." format is hard to do (for me, anyway) while trying to concentrate on playing. So I sometimes use words or phrases (even nonsense phrases) that fit the cadence but aren't distracting as numbers can sometimes be. I did that a lot when I played drums and it worked quite well for me.

    Like I wrote, maybe I just have a natural clock. I've always found rhythms in things ever since I was a kid and I always seem to be able to find the downbeat (that's probably what led me to drums in the first place), so maybe that's why I don't rely so much on counting. But that doesn't mean I don't count at all. It just means that I don't count as much.

    But if someone else finds that counting works for them, who am I to tell them they're wrong?
    I'm just saying what works for me and that I don't believe that counting is an "all-or-nothing" proposition.
     
  14. Jalapeno

    Jalapeno Southeastern Michigan

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    (note: my response below may sound curt but I mean it as a dialog not an insult so please don't take it as anything other than conversation)

    Yes I read your post and I meant that those of us who came to Griff to learn the blues may not have any prior musical experience, and most likely not drumming. My opinion is that contradicting the course material for no other reason than that's how you do it is not particularly helpful, though you may disagree. It's just my opinion.

    Griff teaches counting, we pay Griff to teach us. We take what we want from the lessons, that is true. But I would like to mention that this isn't the lounge forum, these sections down here are about the courses.

    Again, I can't convey the tone I intend in those sentence in text alone so please don't take offense.

    Eric
     
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  15. JPsuff

    JPsuff Satisfaction is complacency

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    No offense taken.

    I understand what you're saying.
    All I'm saying is that "counting" takes many forms and while some may need to count every note, others get the general idea in terms of feel and perhaps just count the quarter notes or something other than every note and rest.

    There is no right or wrong --- just different ways of approaching it and different levels of understanding --- everyone moves at their own pace.
    I guess what I'm trying to say is that while counting may be necessary in the early stages of learning something, one has to be careful not to become so fixated on counting that one loses the musicality of something. Counting is a step along the way, but at some point, "feel" has to enter the picture otherwise things become too mechanical and progress slows to a crawl.

    And like you, I find it difficult to express what I'm trying to say without sounding condescending and believe me, that's the last thing I want to do. But learning anything is a process and though I know that in this case, counting is a big part of that process, it shouldn't be the whole of it.

    Anyway, I think I'll bow out of this discussion before I dig myself an even deeper hole.:rolleyes:

    Cheers! :Beer:
     
  16. LLL

    LLL Workin' the Blues

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    One thing to point out is that Griff doesn't necessarily advocate for counting "All the time Every time". It's extremely helpful when you are learning something and getting it under your fingers and into your brain. While up on the stage..... maybe not so much depending on how much you have practiced, but I and others have used counting on stage to help us with certain passages that have given us trouble - and Griff will tell you that he still counts certain things in songs while up on stage.

    And please don't take this wrong JPStuff - and I'm not saying that it pertains to you - but it often seems that people that would stand to benefit from counting the most are ones that rely on "feel" for timing and shun counting.... and they don't realize or won't admit or can't "hear" that their timing is off.

    One of the biggest "challenges" that Griff noticed at the most recent BGU Live was that people were not technically able to play what they were trying to play in their solos. Now this does go to technique (not being able to play fast when you try to play that riff you hear in your head for instance) - but it really speaks to timing and being able to put the notes in the right place and time - which gets back to Counting in one way or another. (And I admit I was guilty of this and should have worked on my technique and counted out the lick I was trying to play as part of my rehearsing for the jam).
     
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  17. Griff

    Griff Chief Cook And Bottle Washer
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    Yep - everyone is at a different point in their journey, and everyone has a different internal clock.

    Some people are wired that way - some people have picked it up by playing other instruments or just being around it. Interestingly, my 10 year old has a great sense of time already and he's only been playing piano a few months. But he's grown up around my wife and I playing music all the time and tapping to the music as it's playing so he has been around it since birth, even though he didn't play an instrument.

    What's vital is this - counting is guaranteed to work, every time, regardless of where you are in your journey, without fail. I think that's important.

    Sure, you may not need it, but if you're struggling with something, falling back on counting the beats will most often fix the problem.

    If I had a nickel for every time a student came into my room having struggled all week with their lesson, only to spend the entire session doing nothing but counting so they can nail it the next week - you all wouldn't see me here any more because I'd be on a beach in Tahiti sipping cocktails all day :) (ok, that's not totally true, it's fun here.)

    If you don't need to count, you know it. If you're not sure, you probably need to so just count and get it over with ;)
     
  18. sdbrit68

    sdbrit68 Student Of The Blues

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    The counting aspect hit home for me the first jam I went too,I was lost, all over the place, then after the 5th or 6th song....I just started counting to stay somewhat with everyone, it worked. Second jam , I said the heck with it and mumbled the count to myself, worked even better.

    Where counting does mess me up, is when I leave rhythm to licks, my head is just not understanding how to count with licks yet, I am hoping the new solo courses I intend to tackle this year will help.
     
  19. Momantai

    Momantai Red nose, red guitar

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    That's funny.
    I never counted, I just listened, learned the notes and played along until I only heard my guitar and not Griff's. That method works fine for me. I always get confused when I count while playing guitar.
    But now I bought a drumset and lessons by Griff's drummer Chris Atchley. Guess what... I need counting a lot to get things right. Counting works great on drums (y)

    I'm sort of JPsuff the other way round ! :ROFLMAO:
     
  20. LLL

    LLL Workin' the Blues

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    "Feel me in ..... said no one... ever!" :)
     
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