Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafesj

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


How do you get someone to play in time?

GUEST,Les B. 24 Oct 02 - 06:21 PM
GUEST,Les B. 24 Oct 02 - 06:23 PM
Sorcha 24 Oct 02 - 07:39 PM
Banjer 24 Oct 02 - 07:43 PM
GUEST,Chicken Charlie 24 Oct 02 - 07:45 PM
Les B 24 Oct 02 - 08:12 PM
GUEST 24 Oct 02 - 09:25 PM
Bobert 24 Oct 02 - 09:38 PM
GUEST,Bill 24 Oct 02 - 09:46 PM
Rick Fielding 24 Oct 02 - 10:03 PM
GUEST,Anahootz 24 Oct 02 - 10:05 PM
Sorcha 24 Oct 02 - 10:10 PM
Mark Clark 24 Oct 02 - 10:47 PM
Rick Fielding 24 Oct 02 - 10:56 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 24 Oct 02 - 11:05 PM
Giac 24 Oct 02 - 11:05 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 24 Oct 02 - 11:35 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 25 Oct 02 - 12:35 AM
wysiwyg 25 Oct 02 - 12:41 AM
Les B 25 Oct 02 - 01:02 AM
Bert 25 Oct 02 - 02:08 AM
Banjer 25 Oct 02 - 05:52 AM
GUEST,Richie 25 Oct 02 - 06:10 AM
smallpiper 25 Oct 02 - 07:09 AM
alanabit 25 Oct 02 - 07:13 AM
reggie miles 25 Oct 02 - 08:55 AM
GUEST,Vixen @ work 25 Oct 02 - 08:57 AM
Jeri 25 Oct 02 - 09:30 AM
53 25 Oct 02 - 11:08 AM
Jeanie 25 Oct 02 - 06:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Oct 02 - 07:36 PM
Rick Fielding 25 Oct 02 - 09:52 PM
wysiwyg 25 Oct 02 - 10:03 PM
smallpiper 25 Oct 02 - 10:04 PM
Little Hawk 25 Oct 02 - 10:49 PM
smallpiper 25 Oct 02 - 10:57 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 25 Oct 02 - 10:57 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:







Subject: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 06:21 PM

The other night at our song circle a fellow from out in the country dropped in to play with us. He gets here about twice a year. He plays a loud, but good sounding Gibson ala Earl Scruggs (He's even got Scruggs' autograph on the head!), but the poor guy just cannot play in time. He's so far out that most of the guitarists and other rhythm instruments just grind to a stop. And he trys a lot of neat tunes, which he obviously knows how to finger, just not play.

One interesting thing I noticed is that he started a tune (Old Joe Clark) with bare fingers in what he called "clawhammer" style (it was more like Pete Seeger's up picking) and he held time real well. Then, as the tune was passed around the circle, he put his fingerpicks back on and as soon as he started up he was totally off.

We all kind of politely implied that his rhythm needed work. But I got to wondering -- how, exactly, do you teach someone to play on the downbeat? It's one thing to know you're off, but another to take corrective action. I don't think a metronome is going to do it for him. He says his wife plays guitar with him, but since she wasn't there, we don't know if she can hold a beat or not.   

I don't want to give up on this guy because he's really trying, but how do those of you who've taught sit someone down and teach them timing ??


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 06:23 PM

I guess I didn't make it clear in the above plea that the "timeless" person is a banjo player.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: Sorcha
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 07:39 PM

Have you tried banging (not tapping) your foot on the floor? (grin) Or counting time out loud? Rude, but effective.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: Banjer
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 07:43 PM

Well, that explains it all.....!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 07:45 PM

My piano teacher made me practice with a metronome. They have the quaint old mechanical ones and of course the new electronic ones now, that tick loudly. The mechanical types sounded like a pendulum clock. Either way, the speed is adjustable.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: Les B
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 08:12 PM

I think part of the trouble is that this guy plays so loudly that he doesn't hear the "pulse" being put out by the rhythm guitarists. And it seemed like every "roll" he added an extra note, so by the time you were two or three beats into a tune, he was really off. I didn't notice if he was a foot tapper, but I've known foot tappers to be off as well :).

My hope is that I can sit down with him the next time he drops by and give him some tips on how to get in time. I know when I started playing fiddle, about a decade ago, I had a tough time - even threw it under the bed for six months, but somehow I got in time (I also play guitar and banjo, and that background helped). This guy is worse than he was last year!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 09:25 PM

Some people are so individualistic regarding keeping time they have to play alone or not at all (or with a wife who doesn't mind) Maybe that's gonna be his story. He'd rather play the pretty picks than stick with the rhythm.

He's getting worse because people keep allowing him to play with them. Tell him to pull back on the volume and start listening for the rhythm guitar, or stick it -er-- back in the case. Tough love.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: Bobert
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 09:38 PM

If Sorcha's suggestion doesn't work, try the foot stomping but find another target other than the floor. He'll get it quick...

Bobert


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: GUEST,Bill
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 09:46 PM

You wouldn't hear a banjo in a session if it had a broken skin,or you could try all playing with pa equipment but don't give the banjo a mic.
Bill


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 10:03 PM

Oh Les, I sympathise. I simply cringe when someone with bad timing enters a jam. There really isn't much you CAN do. Perhaps the chap learned from tab and simply hasn't had enough experience playing with others, or he may be that rare individual who has great digital dexterity and NO sense of rhythm.

I've found that the very hardest person to teach is one with the above symptoms. If I'm working with someone who's timing is off, first I acertain whether they can hear good timing from a recording. If they can, then it's simply practice practice practice. If they can't then it's practically impossible to help them learn to play with others.

I'm afraid if I was at the jam, I'd just pack up and shuffle off.

Cheers

Rick


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: GUEST,Anahootz
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 10:05 PM

If you are playing 'Grass, have the banjo "cluck" (or Chop) in time with the mando unless he is playing a break...this should point up the error of his ways


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: Sorcha
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 10:10 PM

I do have to sympathize, here. I played fiddle all alone for over 10 years, and thought I was on the beat.......the I found a group and discovered I wasn't. Took a damn long time for me to really find/feel it when I was in a group. I still thank all the gods that are for the washtub base with a base plate I could put my foot on. Trained me well, finally. Now I really can hear/feel it, and feel when I am out og the beat. I am sooo glad! Now, I can get out when I am off, and figure out when to get back in! JOY!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: Mark Clark
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 10:47 PM

I use a trick I picked up from watching Bill Monroe keep is band members up to time. I just walk around behind them and play my guitar (bass notes not banged-out chords) really loud right behind one of the culprit's ears. I hold the guitar up as though I were playing a lead into a vocal mic. Even if people at an informal jam are seated, I've been known to walk around behind the chair of someone who is trying to keep time but just can't seem to hear the beat. Of course you occasionally run into someone who just doesn't know how to play in time even when they know where the beat is. In that situation, it's best to move to another room if possible or else just make an excuse and go home.

I've also run into folks who just can't seem to play in tune. I've gone so far as to tune there instruments for them whill they're in the loo. Of course if it's a fiddle player and the fiddle is in tune, you just have to leave.

      - Mark


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 10:56 PM

But have you run into anyone Mark, who's punched you in the nose, for doing a "Monroe" on them?!!

I saw the great man do that a couple of times to a new banjo player....musta scared the shit outta him!

Cheers

Rick


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 11:05 PM

One thing that amazes me is that there are some mighty gifted instrumentalists and singers who have a serious problem with time, or pitch. I've heard this more with singers, who can't tell when to come in, and come in a beat too soon, or too late. These are wonderful singers who have sung in groups for their whole lives. I've also heard wonderful singers who sing a song in a different key than the people accompanying them, and can't hear anything wrong. In case anyone forgets it, all this is a gift... and some people don't have the gift of playing on beat, or singing in the right key. Some are able to learn, though.. but still have to work on it.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: Giac
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 11:05 PM

Playing alone most of the time is a major culprit, but it may be, too, that his wife is adjusting her guitar rhythm to HIS time. If he doesn't take criticism well, it may be that he insists that she adapt -- or play in what he considers to be correct time.

Maybe he concentrates so hard on playing all the notes that he doesn't consider time at all. Likely slows down on the more difficult parts and speeds up on the parts he has down cold, so that the timing see-saws.

If he won't use a metronome, then he should play more with other people who aren't shy about letting him know he's strayed from (or never found) the beat.

Good luck,
Mary


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 11:35 PM

I think a lot of bluegrass banjo players with poor timing just never get all the right-hand technique stuff fully internalized. They are continually having to think about what their right hand is doing instead of just playing the damned thing. I remember one old fella who had terrible timing on the banjo, but his timing on bass fiddle was perfect. He was so concerned with playing the banjo rolls "just the way that Earl did" that he would forget to listen to the other players in the jam. The only thing you can do for someone like that is to break their hand.

Bruce


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 12:35 AM

METRONOME!!

Make it a priority for ALL, and he will tag along.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 12:41 AM

Hey, I think WE play with that same guy! And all his evil twins!

Smacking them in the head while they play, in time, seems not to work terribly well.

In our group we solve this by having a very strong rhythm player sit beside the person, and play really LOUD, clear, un-fussy basic rhythm. No frills. They eventually feel the sound waves and get coordinated. Then that rhythm player that was leading them can lay back on the volume, play some trickier strum patterns, and so forth.

~Susan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: Les B
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 01:02 AM

Rick - how do you determine if they can hear good timing from a recording? Have them tap the beat or count it?   It seems he's gonna have to lock up to something.

Maybe if he recorded himself playing in time with his barefingered "clawhammer" style and then tried to figure out where he's getting off with the Scruggs rolls? It did seem that he "chucked" on the backbeat in OK time.

Unfortunately he lives about 50 miles from here on a ranch, and just doesn't get to play with other people. We see him twice a year. But he's a nice fellow and I was hoping to somehow help him overcome this.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: Bert
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 02:08 AM

Teach 'im to square dance. My timing is still bloody awful but it's better than it was.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: Banjer
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 05:52 AM

LesB, a suggestion....If he is really that nice a guy and some folks would like to help him then it seems if HE can drive 50 miles to get to you, YOU could drive 50 miles to get to him. It may result in a day of fun for all and help him and his wife out as well.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 06:10 AM

I've taught banjo and other instruments for years. In most cases playing with a metronome won't help. The best way to correct rhythm problems is to: keep your heel on the floor and tap your toe on the beat.

Teach him to do this at all times esp. when he practices. Counting the rhythm aloud is the another helpful tool- if he knows how to do that.

-Richie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: smallpiper
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 07:09 AM

get someone to bang a bass drum in his ear! My timing is highly individualistic as well but hell I'm a piper so that's allowed!

Dirge Master general


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: alanabit
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 07:13 AM

I usually shoot the buggers, then at least they don't put me out!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: reggie miles
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 08:55 AM

Being someone who has played alone, I've heard how my own timing on the songs I play sometimes wavers. It becomes more pronounced when trying to combine with others. I think I'm a little nervous at being in the company of others more adept at this jam and bluegrass thing. It's not something I'm used to doing. I have a heavy foot thing that happens that I seem to have little control over when I get into playing. Many of the grassers I've been hangin' with of late get a little smile on their faces and pass it around. I don't think they think I notice.

I've mixed with bands for years and been a washboard player keepin a beat together as best I can in many combinations and I've found myself on the other end of this trying to hold down the rhythm. It's often not an easy chore and I've found myself altering what I do to compensate for the guy leading the song who is skipping the beat or adding. Why it happens is a mystery. Who knows? I've grown accustomed to flowing with others who have changing rythmic demands. I've found that visually observing someone as they play as well as listening carefully is a good way to catch timing variances as they happen.

When I'm leading a song I guess I expect others to follow the rhythm I establish with each of the songs I play. (Hey, it may be bad but it's all I got right now.) What has happened in the past is that someone who is trying to follow along just decides to alter the timing to what they deem correct and then things get real interesting. Okay, confusing, for me at least.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: GUEST,Vixen @ work
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 08:57 AM

My timing is improving, ever so slowly. Here are the things that have worked for me...

1) DANCE to a recording of the song in question. Somehow, my *body* can find the beat when my brain/hands/feet can't.

2) JAM WITH A GOOD BASS PLAYER. When there's a bass player who stays on the beat, I can stay on the beat.

3) Practice things R-E-A-L-L-Y S-L-O-W-L-Y and count the beats. Then gradually bring it up to speed (especially for tunes on whistle).

Now, all these things help, but I still get out of sync sometimes. For those moments, I STOP PLAYING, and try to find the beat again before I start up. Sometimes I never do catch up, and I start, and stop, and start, and stop, and finally just quit and pray that everyone forgives me.

What I STILL haven't got the hang of is coming in at the right time in a song when I'm singing, particularly at the start of choruses and verses. Sometimes I get it right, and sometimes I don't, and I have NO CLUE about how to consistently hit it on the nail.

As I heard a pianist say on NPR this morning, "There's always something to learn..."

V


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: Jeri
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 09:30 AM

Been there, done that. Now, I hear very slight variances in speed and it drives me batshit.

The reason I had problems was because I learned to play a tune a certain way. This was fine at the speed I played it at home, but when I played in a session, the tune was faster and I couldn't fit all the notes it - but I kept trying. Eventually, I learned to drop extraneous stuff and play the bones of the tune. I could add in extras when I got the tune down solid. The metronome may help this guy a lot if he figures out what tempo the folks at the song circle play and sets it to that.

If it's a problem where he can't hear the discrepency between his playing and everyone else, he'll probably treat the metronome the same way as the on-tempo folks in the session. He's either not listening or unable to listen and concentrate on his playing at the same time. Possible help - have him record his playing along with the group or record it for him. It will at least prove there's a problem because I think he'd be able to hear it when he's not concentrating on playing.

If the guy's gonna improve, it will be because somebody takes the time to help him. Music played in a group is a group responsibility. If every other player is gonna leave him on his own and then shoot him when he doesn't figure out what folks have a problem with, there's something wrong. Tell him his tempo's messed up - maybe show him. If he doesn't care or try to improve, then you can shoot him.

Note: references to shooting in the above message are intended as humor and not to be taken literally. Better to just throw a wet bar towel at him. Better yet, buy him one of Fielding's banjo mutes and drown him out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: 53
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 11:08 AM

grin and bear it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: Jeanie
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 06:41 PM

Didn't realize how many people there are in the same boat - one in every band it would seem. Maybe the answer is to get them all together and leave them to play together, each in different time !

There's one in the band I play in on Sundays at church - a lovely man, but guitar/vocals in his own erratically-paced world. The main problem is that this man likes to play everything so s-l-o-w-l-y and that just drags everything down. We haven't been playing together long, but gradually it is a case of "forewarned is forearmed" - the rest of us (drums, keyboard, guitar) set the pace as boldly as possible and keep going at one hell of a lick regardless, and the sound man, also now forewarned/forearmed, keeps a watch on what is happening and keeps his mike turned low as necessary, and at the same time makes sure he can really hear the rest of us. In rehearsals (which I'm glad to say I'm not in charge of) it's a matter of being very tactful and going over things. As Jeri said, music played in a group is a group responsibility - and it's great to see how it evolves, the more used you get to playing together.

- jeanie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 07:36 PM

The fingerpicks could be a big part of it. Playing on his own or with his wife, I imagine he maybe wouldn't use them, but in a session he reckons he needs the volume; and they can be clumsy beasts. If he only plays with finger picks once or twice a year at your sessions, it wouldn't be surprising if they get in the way.

If that's the problem he needs to practice more with the picks, or perhaps play in the session bare fingered.

Personally I think banjos sound better played with bare fingers (and that's not a banjo-knocking joke, it's a preference for a particular sound) - maybe if he has to play louder, he could use a small PA, and stick with the fingers. (Then if he's still out of time someone could turn it down...)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 09:52 PM

Hi Les.

My comment was a bit ambiguous. I get folks to tap (or clap) along with the recording. If they have REAL difficulty it ain't the end of the world...but it can mean some hard work ahead for them.

I absolutely concur with BeeDubyaEll...the right hand MUST be solid before attempting anything more than rudimentary fingering with the left. Folks who learn songs from tab that are way beyond their actual skills are in for a shock when they start playin' with others.

Cheers

Rick


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 10:03 PM

These are all great ideas, but wait just a minute. Yes the whole group is responsible, but tactfully. You know, this guys is allowed to just enjoy himself and play, and be trusted to decide for himself what he needs to work on. If you see him as a problem rather than as a fellow musician, you're looking at this wrong-- you want to fix him cuz he bothers you. Maybe you could just be less bothered. Jams are pretty ragged creations-- just play and enjoy and see if he improves over time, huh? If no one else likes to play with him, because they grind to a halt when they get distracted, let him play solos. What the heck-- let him have his turn, and then move on.

~Susan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: smallpiper
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 10:04 PM

Hey has any one considered that the people who play out of time have go it right? Life and the universe dont exactly keep a regular beat and perhaps music is a reflection of that ............ Play it from the heart boys (as my old mate Caff used to say)!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 10:49 PM

I can just picture what John Belushi would have done...

- LH


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: smallpiper
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 10:57 PM

Oh bugger Oakley will have just glued his ear to the curtains again!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: How do you get someone to play in time?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 10:57 PM

font color=888888>
Make Him a Soloist

And Triangle Player - Until He Get Rythem.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 16 June 2:15 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.