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Jul 22, 2019 - 2:22:06 AM
305 posts since 6/12/2017

It has been brought to my attention that one of my main weaknesses that needs work is timing. Can anyone recommend a good youtube instructional vid on timing exercises with the banjo, preferably in 3 finger style?

Jul 22, 2019 - 6:06:05 AM
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3101 posts since 12/6/2009

yeah...this was posted a few months back by a member....musicality (?)......

mikeslessons.com/gscribe?TimeS...ures=2&H=|xxxxxxxx|xxxxxxxx|&S=|-O-O-O-O|-O-O-O-O|&K=|o-o-o-o-|o-o-o-o-|

hope link works...I found it to be one of the best on the net. it greatly helps me when I'm by myself..(which now is 99% of time. I set, 2/4 timing....with 16 beats (4 per beat) at metronome at top of page. Its like having a personal bass player and mando player ...drum, snare, and stick tap

Jul 22, 2019 - 11:28:21 AM
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KatB

USA

61 posts since 9/3/2018

overhere, thanks for that link. It's a good one.

6string, this will be beginner to beginner. I'm only one year in, tho a fair number of hours. Who cares what another beginner thinks, right? I know, which is why I hesitate to say anything here. But I also know that sometimes it takes someone in the same boat as you to get what you are experiencing. 

I have no doubt any timing exercises recommended to you will be helpful.  But then, I don't know that you are so terribly rhythm impaired, at least not any more that most beginners?  I'm sure we all need to work on it.  but...

I think what's giving you the most trouble is the same thing that's so difficult for all of us beginners, especially those of us who haven't listened to this music for decades. It's more about phrasing, not timing, per se.  Grouping of notes and emphasis, rather than ability to stick to a beat.

I learned Shady Grove from tab. I think my timing is decent. I can play it without thinking about it. And aren't I just so proud of myself? But my phrasing is abysmal. I can hear that it's not right but I can't fix it in real time because I can't walk and chew gum at the same time yet. I can also play a basic version by ear, with nicer phrasing but terrible timing. Eh, it's okay, I'm just not there yet. My point is, I don't think there's a quick fix for phrasing. I wish there was, point me to the lessons for that, right? That's why all the experienced players recommend listening-listening-listening. It just takes time (years) to sink in.

The other thing maybe IS a quick fix, and you've probably already fixed it after reading through the responses in the other thread. It's not timing, it's note value. That was just a misunderstanding of what the tab was telling you, but now you get that.  You already showed that you understood that in one of your responses (first measure 1/4 1/8 1/8 1/4 1/4).  Apply that fix and LBT will it come out in 4/4 time as written, and then you can tap your foot to it.

Then I suppose come back to it five years from now , maybe, and you'll just magically know how to vary it ever so slightly from perfect 4/4 to make it sound "right." :)  And where to put the emphasis. I'll do the same with Shady Grove, and pretty much everything else I'm happily botching right now. 

Best of luck to you. 

Kat

Jul 22, 2019 - 12:34:10 PM
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2689 posts since 10/17/2009

@KatB has good points about different aspects folks refer to as  "timing". I would add understanding the feel of accent is important for rhythm and phrasing.  

One approach, is before technique (such as 3 finger); is to start with having a solid idea the rhythmic feel, steady beat, accent and phrasing. Listen/feel. Using the qualitative feel of rhythm first, to then guide timing and technique (and then reading). Some folks find diddling, or using mnemonic device "Bum  Diddle Bum Bum" (from LBT post) helps. 

Starting with above idea of rhythmic feel; some technical styles, it can help initially practicing just on various rhythmic patterns... that is not worrying much about getting melody notes, but focused on the rhythm/feel.

I think it helps to start with rhythm concepts, that you can easier identify with... usually simpler, straightforward and regular...  maybe shelve more complex, crooked, quirky syncopation, asymmetric, uneven type of timing/rhythms.

Jul 22, 2019 - 12:51:21 PM

305 posts since 6/12/2017

quote:
Originally posted by overhere

yeah...this was posted a few months back by a member....musicality (?)......

mikeslessons.com/gscribe?TimeS...ures=2&H=|xxxxxxxx|xxxxxxxx|&S=|-O-O-O-O|-O-O-O-O|&K=|o-o-o-o-|o-o-o-o-|

hope link works...I found it to be one of the best on the net. it greatly helps me when I'm by myself..(which now is 99% of time. I set, 2/4 timing....with 16 beats (4 per beat) at metronome at top of page. Its like having a personal bass player and mando player ...drum, snare, and stick tap


Thanks I will give this a try. One thing though is when I do timing exercises on acoustic guitar it's pretty straight forward, use this strum pattern, or hold a single not for this long. For banjo it confuses me, because of the drone strings and the bum ditties. 

Jul 22, 2019 - 1:10:51 PM

305 posts since 6/12/2017

quote:
Originally posted by KatB

overhere, thanks for that link. It's a good one.

6string, this will be beginner to beginner. I'm only one year in, tho a fair number of hours. Who cares what another beginner thinks, right? I know, which is why I hesitate to say anything here. But I also know that sometimes it takes someone in the same boat as you to get what you are experiencing. 

I have no doubt any timing exercises recommended to you will be helpful.  But then, I don't know that you are so terribly rhythm impaired, at least not any more that most beginners?  I'm sure we all need to work on it.  but...

I think what's giving you the most trouble is the same thing that's so difficult for all of us beginners, especially those of us who haven't listened to this music for decades. It's more about phrasing, not timing, per se.  Grouping of notes and emphasis, rather than ability to stick to a beat.

I learned Shady Grove from tab. I think my timing is decent. I can play it without thinking about it. And aren't I just so proud of myself? But my phrasing is abysmal. I can hear that it's not right but I can't fix it in real time because I can't walk and chew gum at the same time yet. I can also play a basic version by ear, with nicer phrasing but terrible timing. Eh, it's okay, I'm just not there yet. My point is, I don't think there's a quick fix for phrasing. I wish there was, point me to the lessons for that, right? That's why all the experienced players recommend listening-listening-listening. It just takes time (years) to sink in.

The other thing maybe IS a quick fix, and you've probably already fixed it after reading through the responses in the other thread. It's not timing, it's note value. That was just a misunderstanding of what the tab was telling you, but now you get that.  You already showed that you understood that in one of your responses (first measure 1/4 1/8 1/8 1/4 1/4).  Apply that fix and LBT will it come out in 4/4 time as written, and then you can tap your foot to it.

Then I suppose come back to it five years from now , maybe, and you'll just magically know how to vary it ever so slightly from perfect 4/4 to make it sound "right." :)  And where to put the emphasis. I'll do the same with Shady Grove, and pretty much everything else I'm happily botching right now. 

Best of luck to you. 

Kat

 


Well actually I'm beginning to think only a beginner can understand the struggle. Reminds me of when I was a apprentice electrician in the union in another life time. Everything I did, the journeymen always had a response that was a version of, "boy ur so f'ing dumb". For them it seemed that way, I read that somewhere too, some study done, really skilled people tend to assume everyone is at that level.

It's true what you say about hearing it. I've noticed lately listening to Roscoe Holcomb and Woody Guthrie that I can suddenly pick out certain instruments being played and how they're being played. I'll say okay that's an alternating bass note chord strum in waltz time, and I'll be shocked that I know that. It's really only since I became a half competent player after 6 years of guitar, and 2 of banjo, that I've been able to

I'm not sure what the difference between timing and phrasing is. I had not really concept of either. I just try to hit all the notes and just hope it will click in my head one day like high school algerbra did. 

Edited by - 6stringedRamble on 07/22/2019 13:17:54

Jul 22, 2019 - 1:15:46 PM

305 posts since 6/12/2017

quote:
Originally posted by banjoak

@KatB has good points about different aspects folks refer to as  "timing". I would add understanding the feel of accent is important for rhythm and phrasing.  

One approach, is before technique (such as 3 finger); is to start with having a solid idea the rhythmic feel, steady beat, accent and phrasing. Listen/feel. Using the qualitative feel of rhythm first, to then guide timing and technique (and then reading). Some folks find diddling, or using mnemonic device "Bum  Diddle Bum Bum" (from LBT post) helps. 

Starting with above idea of rhythmic feel; some technical styles, it can help initially practicing just on various rhythmic patterns... that is not worrying much about getting melody notes, but focused on the rhythm/feel.

I think it helps to start with rhythm concepts, that you can easier identify with... usually simpler, straightforward and regular...  maybe shelve more complex, crooked, quirky syncopation, asymmetric, uneven type of timing/rhythms.


It's just that I'm really bored with plain clawhammer melodies. I started playing because i wanted to play stuff like Country Blues by Dock Boggs. I've started learning it, it's so complicated I can barely follow the TABs for 2 lines. 

I also tried basic rhythm lessons on youtube, like Amazing Grace. It's super easy for me now, and super boring, and doesn't sound that good at all. 

I use strummachine for guitar, and have a lot of fun with that playing rhythm for songs like long black veil, and bury me beneath the willow. I tried to follow along in banjo, and nothing sounded right. 

Jul 22, 2019 - 2:10:26 PM
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wb_dc

USA

30 posts since 1/14/2017

You know, Skype lessons can help some beginners get over the hump as they start out, if there is no one near by. It helps to get live feedback from someone watching what you are doing, especially someone who is a professional teacher...

Jul 22, 2019 - 2:38:38 PM
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81 posts since 4/10/2018

Josh Turknett of brainjo fame has excellent lessons and readable tabs with a fingerstyle "curriculum." I mentioned this is another thread. You can subscribe for as little or as long as you like, i.e. month to month. Many of his tabs and lessons are free on YouTube. He addresses the exact issue that you are having trouble with, and he answers questions promptly. He's also a good guy. He is a member of BHO too. (I studied his clawhammer course closely and benefited greatly.) https://fingerstylebanjo.com/.  There is also access to an old time jam website where you can play along.  Here's a description: 

"Within the category of fingerstyle banjo there are many divisions: Scruggs style (a.k.a. “bluegrass”), melodic style, old-time 3 finger, old-time 2 finger (thumb lead, index lead).

In this course, you won’t just be learning one style. You will learn them all."  He offers a refund if you don't like it.

Good luck.

Jul 23, 2019 - 4:34:55 AM
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3101 posts since 12/6/2009

quote:
Originally posted by 6stringedRamble
quote:
Originally posted by overhere

yeah...this was posted a few months back by a member....musicality (?)......

mikeslessons.com/gscribe?TimeS...ures=2&H=|xxxxxxxx|xxxxxxxx|&S=|-O-O-O-O|-O-O-O-O|&K=|o-o-o-o-|o-o-o-o-|

hope link works...I found it to be one of the best on the net. it greatly helps me when I'm by myself..(which now is 99% of time. I set, 2/4 timing....with 16 beats (4 per beat) at metronome at top of page. Its like having a personal bass player and mando player ...drum, snare, and stick tap


Thanks I will give this a try. One thing though is when I do timing exercises on acoustic guitar it's pretty straight forward, use this strum pattern, or hold a single not for this long. For banjo it confuses me, because of the drone strings and the bum ditties. 


 

A lot of confusion is in the fact that novice bluegrass guitar players relate their guitar rhythms to their banjo when they first try banjo. The banjo in bluegrass is not in the real sense a rhythm instrument. It is a lead , for my lack of better description, a voice that plays over and through the beat. If a guitar is playing boom chick boom chick boom chick (rhythm) and you are singing along, “I wish that I was on ol’ rocky top”…. Your singing is riding the rhythm. Example….don’t play guitar, just sing “I wish that I was on ol’ rocky top”….you won’t hear specific beat or rhythm. Think of the banjo as a singing voice. What you are doing is keeping a flow of music riding the rhythm.

While bass is going boom boom boom, guitar is going boom chick boom chick, mandolin is chopping up beats, chunk chunk chunk….your banjo should be going ….pic pic  pic pic pic pic pic pic pic pic…2 pics to a beat 4 pics to a beat etc…..foot down pic pic   foot up pic pic….unbroken as a simple practice to start.

Anyway, for novice bluegrass guitar players…do not try and transfer any rhythm patterns from guitar to banjo. Bluegrass banjo is a separate entity. IMHO

Aug 5, 2019 - 7:29:46 AM
Players Union Member

Judith511

Canada

164 posts since 10/22/2017

quote:
Originally posted by 6stringedRamble

It's just that I'm really bored with plain clawhammer melodies. I started playing because i wanted to play stuff like Country Blues by Dock Boggs. I've started learning it, it's so complicated I can barely follow the TABs for 2 lines. 

I also tried basic rhythm lessons on youtube, like Amazing Grace. It's super easy for me now, and super boring, and doesn't sound that good at all. 

I use strummachine for guitar, and have a lot of fun with that playing rhythm for songs like long black veil, and bury me beneath the willow. I tried to follow along in banjo, and nothing sounded right. 


I use Strum machine to play with my banjo. I have only been playing for 2 years daily and I had to slow the strum machine down really slow till I could play along then speed it up. Takes practice :) Also find a realtively easy song to start off till you get the hang of it.  Practice!

Aug 5, 2019 - 9:09:22 AM

2401 posts since 4/19/2008

quote:
Originally posted by 6stringedRamble
 

It's just that I'm really bored with plain clawhammer melodies. I started playing because i wanted to play stuff like Country Blues by Dock Boggs. I've started learning it, it's so complicated I can barely follow the TABs for 2 lines. 


I posted a tab for Country Blues and I just looked back at it and it uses just a couple rhythmic phrases

1  2  3  4
1  2+3  4
1  2+3  4+
1+2+3  4

Aug 5, 2019 - 9:11:18 AM

1163 posts since 2/10/2013

Use software that allow you to control tempo. I use "The Amazing Slow Downer". I also use "Band in a Box" software to create rhythm tracks.
You can download BIAB created rhythm tracks from the "fbbts.com" website - and they are free. You can use the free "Viddly" software to download the audio and/or video material for tunes on Youtube. You can use the tempo changing software to play the tunes at a comfortable speed, and play along.  This helps develop a persons ability to play tunes faster.

I have metronomes and a drum machine. I prefer BIAB because it makes me aware of any timing problem. It is also more enjoyable. Metronomes are O.K. for musical phrases, but I don't like using them for playing music.  I also benefit from playing along with downloaded videos.  This allows me to (1) become more familiar with melody (2) practice playing rhythm (3) practice improvisation.

Edited by - Richard Hauser on 08/05/2019 09:17:04

Aug 5, 2019 - 1:17:08 PM

94 posts since 10/9/2017

quote:
Originally posted by Judith511
quote:
Originally posted by 6stringedRamble

It's just that I'm really bored with plain clawhammer melodies. I started playing because i wanted to play stuff like Country Blues by Dock Boggs. I've started learning it, it's so complicated I can barely follow the TABs for 2 lines. 

I also tried basic rhythm lessons on youtube, like Amazing Grace. It's super easy for me now, and super boring, and doesn't sound that good at all. 

I use strummachine for guitar, and have a lot of fun with that playing rhythm for songs like long black veil, and bury me beneath the willow. I tried to follow along in banjo, and nothing sounded right. 


I use Strum machine to play with my banjo. I have only been playing for 2 years daily and I had to slow the strum machine down really slow till I could play along then speed it up. Takes practice :) Also find a realtively easy song to start off till you get the hang of it.  Practice!


StrumMachine is an excellent tool.

Aug 5, 2019 - 4:47:01 PM

Clawdan

USA

3399 posts since 3/12/2006

Hi 6string,
It sounds more like you are talking about rhythmic variations than "timing". Syncopation, waltz time, skipped notes, and perhaps longer note durations. In that case, it is a matter of having all of your front and back beats available then varying how you combine them. I.E. the rhythm commonly referred to as a "galax lick" is a combination of notes over a two beat period (speaking in 4/4) in which the thumb note happens on the front of the second beat instead of the back of the first.

If that is the case, the first thing you need to do is be able to play all of the front and back beats, i.e. be able to play bum pa did dy instead of bum did dy as your core rhythm. Then you vary how you put it together. If this is what you are referring to then let's talk further...

KatB, will you be at Centrailia old time campout next week? I'll be doing a clawhammer workshop and several tune repertoire workshops there.

Aug 5, 2019 - 7:45:55 PM

39 posts since 1/2/2019

6stringramble, I do clawhammer and have been a fingerstyle/travis guitar picker for years. I like Dock Boggs' style. There's a great video on youtube that teaches how to play Dock Boggs style. I always figured he had a right hand picking "pattern" like guitar travis pickers use. And, sure enough, he does. Once you learn the pattern you hear it all over his songs. Its unique and his own. I've been working on his picking patterns and messing with this songs - they are much easier now.

To me, he seems to be basically a 3 finger thumb lead player (thumb lead uses two fingers). But he uses 3 fingers using his own unique pattern which incorporates the middle finger. If I can find the video, I'll link it.

Edited by - nightingale on 08/05/2019 19:46:33

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