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  1. #1

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    Hi !

    I can't play the blues the way I want, I tried with metronome, I can do it but at the end I'm lost.
    Without I play an 11 1/2 or an 11 3/4 bar blues...

    I made some videos, I didn't want to post them at first... but I do it.

    I've got another wondering, fingers or pick ?




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  3. #2

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    Créez votre propre piste d'accompagnement simple. Jouez ensuite avec la piste d'accompagnement pour entendre les changements d'accords et le rythme.

    Pourquoi essayez-vous de le faire en solo, surtout si vous ne pouvez pas le faire correctement en solo!

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Créez votre propre piste d'accompagnement simple. Jouez ensuite avec la piste d'accompagnement pour entendre les changements d'accords et le rythme.

    Pourquoi essayez-vous de le faire en solo, surtout si vous ne pouvez pas le faire correctement en solo!
    Parce que ça ne sert strictement à rien sinon pourquoi jouer de la guitare ?
    C'est un instrument polyphonique.

  5. #4

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    Ce n'est pas le propos. Ce que vous faites ne fonctionne pas, de votre propre aveu. Pratiquez correctement si vous voulez des résultats!

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Ce n'est pas le propos. Ce que vous faites ne fonctionne pas, de votre propre aveu. Pratiquez correctement si vous voulez des résultats!
    Don't worry, it will work. Don't write in French, nobody can understand.

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Créez votre propre piste d'accompagnement simple. Jouez ensuite avec la piste d'accompagnement pour entendre les changements d'accords et le rythme.

    Pourquoi essayez-vous de le faire en solo, surtout si vous ne pouvez pas le faire correctement en solo!
    Don't worry I hear the changes, if you can't hear them in what I posted, you won't hear them anywhere.

  8. #7

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    consider yourself lucky...old blues is not about metronome time...greats like lightnin hopkins and hooker often missed the "traditional changes"...blues is not about that

    just knock the metronome off...that's whats throwing you off!

    rely on your inner blues time!

    cheers

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    consider yourself lucky...old blues is not about metronome time...greats like lightnin hopkins and hooker often missed the "traditional changes"...blues is not about that

    just knock the metronome off...that's whats throwing you off!

    rely on your inner blues time!

    cheers
    Great ! Great humour !
    That's what I thought first but I think it's good to know how to do it on the guitar.

  10. #9

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    I tried with metronome, I can do it but at the end I'm lost.
    Without I play an 11 1/2 or an 11 3/4 bar blues...
    If you're playing all by yourself without a measure, how do you know you've only played 11 1/2 or 11 3/4 bars?

  11. #10

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    To get a really firm grip on the 3 x 4 measure blues format it helps when you sing some lyrics along, in your head. Another practical approach for learning to stay within any given form is playing rhythmically similar lines , preferably not longer than 2 measures.
    Last but not least : play along with records or practice tracks as often as you can. Learn blues tunes/themes by Kenny Burrell and others, like this :



  12. #11

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  13. #12

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    Well, all is explained in my videos, when I play a solo, a long one, when I start again with chords, I'm on the wrong place.
    About heads, I know some.

  14. #13

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    What you describe is not a problem with blues. It's a problem with time and pulse. It's something everybody has to work on. Blues is the simplest form to nail, most other standard forms are even harder. Especially the modal tunes with few changes.

    The way I work on this is, I simplify my lines rhythmically until I get a good feel of the form and the down beats. Then gradually get more adventurous. Playing bass lines or continuous 8th note lines are a good warm up. Then repeating but more complex rhythmic patterns that include anticipations. Maybe chords stabbed here and there.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 09-06-2020 at 09:18 AM.

  15. #14

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    Tap your feet, bounce your leg. That should do it.

    See 1.00...


  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    If you're playing all by yourself without a measure, how do you know you've only played 11 1/2 or 11 3/4 bars?
    When I listen to it, I know I did it, it's like a surprise, not a good one.

  17. #16

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    Lionel -

    I just put on the recorder, counted 3-4, and started to improvise (not a head) over a jazz 12-bar in G. I wasn't tapping my foot, just did it by feel for a few minutes. Then I went back and tapped the beat over it to see how accurate it was.

    Apart from one small hesitation it was spot on. I thought it probably would be because my sense of time is pretty good. BUT - and I know it's each to his own thing - I found it a completely sterile experience. I like having the sound of the harmonies there, I can feed off it and move with it. It aids expression, helps you take off.

    I understand why someone would do a chord melody style by themselves, it's supposed to be a solo thing, but playing single notes by oneself... I'm not sure there's much point.

    By the way, when you do use some kind of backing, do you keep good time then?

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Lionel -

    I just put on the recorder, counted 3-4, and started to improvise (not a head) over a jazz 12-bar in G. I wasn't tapping my foot, just did it by feel for a few minutes. Then I went back and tapped the beat over it to see how accurate it was.

    Apart from one small hesitation it was spot on. I thought it probably would be because my sense of time is pretty good. BUT - and I know it's each to his own thing - I found it a completely sterile experience. I like having the sound of the harmonies there, I can feed off it and move with it. It aids expression, helps you take off.

    I understand why someone would do a chord melody style by themselves, it's supposed to be a solo thing, but playing single notes by oneself... I'm not sure there's much point.

    By the way, when you do use some kind of backing, do you keep good time then?
    I would be glad to listen to what you recorded.
    Well, you don't need chords to make sound the changes, coherent lines make them sound by their own.
    About the beat, I'm pretty "good" when I'm comping (piano, guitar or bass).
    But when I'm playing melodies, I am not so accurate.

  19. #18

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    Incidentally, I don't think it matters if one does deviate from strict rhythm a bit. Who cares? What's more important is the overall feel of what you're doing, as neatomic said above.

    I guarantee this is technically all over the place. Who gives a toss?


  20. #19

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    If you lost the rhythm playing with a backing, that's one thing and probably not good. But all by yourself? Doesn't matter.

    You're being too hard on yourself. Have some fun, man!

    I would be glad to listen to what you recorded.
    Sorry, didn't keep it. Wouldn't help you anyway.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    If you lost the rhythm playing with a backing, that's one thing and probably not good. But all by yourself? Doesn't matter.

    You're being too hard on yourself. Have some fun, man!



    Sorry, didn't keep it. Wouldn't help you anyway.
    I didn't say "lost", I said it wasn't so accurate.
    Yes, I'm hard because I want to improve, it's been years I've been trying to play the guitar.
    I would like to do on the guitar what I do on the saxophone.

  22. #21

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    I still think you're being too strict with yourself, you're not a machine.

    I did another one. I speeded up slightly at the beginning of the 3rd chorus, trying to rush it, but I recovered. The first one was better :-)

    First I played it, then I tapped it, then I put the chords in. Like I said, it won't help you. Use a backing, it's not self-torture!


  23. #22

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    The transcription is bar by bar but Brecker isn't playing in time. Anybody care? No-o-o-o


  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lionelsax
    Don't worry, it will work. Don't write in French, nobody can understand.
    Better not underestimate the audience

    English speakers quite often say "Thanks" and "Please" to someone who tries to help

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I still think you're being too strict with yourself, you're not a machine.

    I did another one. I speeded up slightly at the beginning of the 3rd chorus, trying to rush it, but I recovered. The first one was better :-)

    First I played it, then I tapped it, then I put the chords in. Like I said, it won't help you. Use a backing, it's not self-torture!

    Thanks for sharing this, it's lovely.
    I really appreciate.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhch
    Better not underestimate the audience

    English speakers quite often say "Thanks" and "Please" to someone who tries to help
    He said it won't help, why should I thank someone ?
    I think I'm going to make new friends.

  27. #26

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    I often practise soloing without any backing, because I like to hear the changes and the form in my head rather than rely on a backing track. I feel that I don’t know the tune properly until I can do this. Also I like to hear whether I can imply the changes well in my single-note lines. Using a backing track tends to disguise this, at least in my experience.

    But I agree it’s not easy, I think it just takes a lot of practice, you have to use whatever methods it takes to get the structure of the tune clear in your head so that you can keep your place. For a new tune I might play it slowly and play a chord at the beginning of each bar, or every 2 bars, and combine this with very simple lines to start with.

    Also I practise the tune away from the guitar. If I can’t mentally play the whole melody and comp the chord changes in my head then I don’t know it well enough. Ideally I should be able to mentally play a complete solo as well, then I’m really getting somewhere.

    Anyway here’s a solo blues thing I did some time back, you can hear I played some chords at the most important points to sort of hold it together, hope this gives you some ideas.


  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    I often practise soloing without any backing, because I like to hear the changes and the form in my head rather than rely on a backing track. I feel that I don’t know the tune properly until I can do this. Also I like to hear whether I can imply the changes well in my single-note lines. Using a backing track tends to disguise this, at least in my experience.

    But I agree it’s not easy, I think it just takes a lot of practice, you have to use whatever methods it takes to get the structure of the tune clear in your head so that you can keep your place. For a new tune I might play it slowly and play a chord at the beginning of each bar, or every 2 bars, and combine this with very simple lines to start with.

    Also I practise the tune away from the guitar. If I can’t mentally play the whole melody and comp the chord changes in my head then I don’t know it well enough. Ideally I should be able to mentally play a complete solo as well, then I’m really getting somewhere.

    Anyway here’s a solo blues thing I did some time back, you can hear I played some chords at the most important points to sort of hold it together, hope this gives you some ideas.

    Thanks very much, it's what I'm looking for. Your sound is much more explicit than your words even if they were very clear.
    Great playing !

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    I'm not looking for thanks so I don't care. But, to be entirely impersonal about it, what I was finally going to say now seems inappropriate.
    Ah, well, such is life.

    I honestly don't think the problem is the timing, the music. or the blues. I think the problem's you demanding an unreasonable perfection of yourself. Sorry! Sax players often practice alone, just them in a darkened room, and all that. Nothing wrong with it, but the guitar's not a saxophone. It's basically a chordal instrument.

    It really doesn't matter if you're not playing perfectly in time like a metronome because when there's a backing like a band or an audio track you probably will. Even just a bass track would help. That's the advice, take it or leave it! In any case, jazz instrumentalists often play behind the beat or in front of it, and all that. Gives the music character, you know.

    Anyway, good luck. I'm sure you'll do it your way :-)
    Thanks for what you did, I disagree about a thing, saxophonists never practice alone, we play with backing tracks, basslines, everything that can help and I admire pianists and guitarists who needs nothing to play.
    I do my way but it is not so far from your way despite what you said, it helps.

    This is a virtual duet, without a metronome.
    The beginning is a mess.
    Box

  30. #29

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    What I said will help, of course, although it would be up to you in the end. But listening to me playing won't, will it? Someone else being able to do it won't help you. That's all I meant. But you wanted to hear it, so...

    I have to say I've known a lot of sax players. They love to sit alone somewhere and doodle away, trying things out, learning tunes or whatever it is. Maybe you're different :-)

  31. #30

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    Your box clip.

    My immediate reaction is it's too complicated. Slow down. Get the rhythm really clear and steady. Play simpler stuff. If you must do continuous 8ths, fine, but 16ths are probably a bit ambitious at this stage. To keep time needs fluency in what you're playing. Unless you're just playing something memorised, improvisation needs to be spontaneous. That's the test, if you like.

    We have a saying: KISS. Keep it simple, stupid. It's not very polite but it's a good message.

    When you can go round the simple stuff, then complicate it. Patience and perseverance!

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    What I said will help, of course, although it would be up to you in the end. But listening to me playing won't, will it? Someone else being able to do it won't help you. That's all I meant. But you wanted to hear it, so...

    I have to say I've known a lot of sax players. They love to sit alone somewhere and doodle away, trying things out, learning tunes or whatever it is. Maybe you're different :-)
    I'm more interested in structures and harmony... Maybe I'm not so different.
    I am not playing alone, it's a metronome, it's a tool, like you said, if I were accurate it wouldn't sound like this. It is not perfect, it is not horrible, it is like it is.


  33. #32

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    Hey, for god's sake! See, that got me moving. My leg was bouncing and the feet were moving. It had a great feel and the timing was brilliant. No problem there, you were really good.

    But, honestly, guitar is slightly different, really it is. Miles Davis said once he didn't like guitar and I agree with him. Unfortunately it's the instrument I bond with completely. Just my luck

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    Hey, for god's sake! See, that got me moving. My leg was bouncing and the feet were moving. It had a great feel and the timing was brilliant. No problem there, you were really good.

    But, honestly, guitar is slightly different, really it is. Miles Davis said once he didn't like guitar. I agree with him. Unfortunately it's the instrument I bond with completely. Just my luck
    I've been lucky there this is why I share it, and you're right the guitar is different : when you don't articulate very well on guitar it's a mess, that's why rock guitarists use a lot of effects.

  35. #34

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    I see by your You Tube site you're a multi-instrumentalist, which is impressive, but do you play with other people?

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    I see by your You Tube site you're a multi-instrumentalist, which is impressive, but do you play with other people?
    I play with people time to time, where I live there are not a lot of jazzers, I like playing in trio : sax, bass & drums.
    I used to play in duets too with drums, bass or piano.
    Now I've got a project with another trio (sax, piano & bass).
    I rarely play the guitar in a band even if I play it everyday (it's part of my job) but in another context, I've never tried on a live situation (jazz), for the bass in a live context it's every time I can, I love the bass and I feel more comfortable.

    I tried one day to play the guitar in a duet (two guitars), I loved comping but for many reasons it didn't happen.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lionelsax View Post
    I play with people time to time, where I live there are not a lot of jazzers, I like playing in trio : sax, bass & drums.
    I used to play in duets too with drums, bass or piano.
    Now I've got a project with another trio (sax, piano & bass).
    I rarely play the guitar in a band even if I play it everyday (it's part of my job) but in another context, I've never tried on a live situation (jazz), for the bass in a live context it's every time I can, I love the bass and I feel more comfortable.

    I tried one day to play the guitar in a duet (two guitars), I loved comping but for many reasons it didn't happen.
    Well, perhaps the lack of everyday familiarity with the guitar has something to do with your hesitance in improvising. Guitar is actually pretty difficult. Easy to strum, hard to play well.

  38. #37

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    some say the blues is easy to play..and yes its ONLY three chords ..right?

    the Kenny Burrell example "Blues for Basie" is just a perfect example of how hip those three chords can be transformed into
    a very cool composition..

    How i do it..

    I take the first four bars (and the pick up) and work with them until I can make the changes smooth..by that I mean the feel of the changes..not the sound..that aspect is another study in and of itself

    then I try it in several keys..and then in different neck positions...then play with some inversions and see if they work as a chord run..

    then go for the next four bars and repeat the above..and then the final four bars..and of course then the entire progression

    I dont use a metronome and add just enough swing to keep the tempo moving at a steady pace..

    when I feel ok with it..then i will work on trying to get Kennys sound...(which may not happen..but I still will try..I know--hopeless romantic..)

    as far as the original post not being exactly 12 bars...dont count mechanically the blues has some stretch in its nature..thus the bending of notes and using chromatic lines in places and of course the countless turnarounds (which can produce parts of their own tunes..) so some chords may be held a bit longer or not as long --again its the feel your playing ..

    some top blues players..if their work were analyzed by a click track..they would show some speed up on some bars and some slow down on others...but the feel will be a complete 12 bar progression
    there is some site on the web showing a Jimi Hendrix tune with this dynamic..and unless its pointed out..your not going to notice...or care..

  39. #38

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    I listened to the first video in the OP. The rhythm wasn’t bad, but it didn’t have the drive it could have. It’s ok to push and pull on the time a bit, but if there’s not an underlying pulse that’s solid the drive won’t be there.

    Since your time issues seem to be greatest when you are playing the most complex rhythms, maybe you should do some syncopation & subdivision exercises.

    Jens Larsen talks about those issues in the middle of this video.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lionelsax View Post
    He said it won't help, why should I thank someone ?
    I think I'm going to make new friends.
    "He" tried and spent some time on it, that's what matters

    pour la 2ème phrase, c'est pas sur, enfin ça dépend qui ... comprenne qui pourra
    En tout cas, c'est bien français ce genre de comportement.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lionelsax
    Thanks very much, it's what I'm looking for. Your sound is much more explicit than your words even if they were very clear.
    Great playing !
    Thanks. I found another example which uses a similar approach, again I put a few chords in the solo to keep the structure. Not a blues this time but a standard.


  42. #41

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    Count the beats aloud as you play

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhch
    "He" tried and spent some time on it, that's what matters

    pour la 2ème phrase, c'est pas sur, enfin ça dépend qui ... comprenne qui pourra
    En tout cas, c'est bien français ce genre de comportement.
    That conversation is over. Remarks like this are unhelpful, as they say nowadays. I don't need you to hold my hand and Lionelsax does not need lessons in manners. Being French, English or anything else has nothing to do with it.

    Apply yourself to the music, that's what we're here for.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Count the beats aloud as you play
    I can't do that except with chords. Doing it trying to make a meaningful solo would just put me right off. Like patting your head and rubbing your tummy, that thing.

    (It might be possible while regurgitating something memorised but it would have no feeling).

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    Thanks. I found another example which uses a similar approach, again I put a few chords in the solo to keep the structure. Not a blues this time but a standard.

    Thanks very much, I also appreciated your seven string guitar.
    Autumn In New York (solo guitar) by Grahambop | Graham | Free Listening on SoundCloud

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I can't do that except with chords. Doing it trying to make a meaningful solo would just put me right off. Like patting your head and rubbing your tummy, that thing.

    (It might be possible while regurgitating something memorised but it would have no feeling).
    It’s basic rhythmic skills. I think you’d definitely benefit from practicing it. Gets easier the more you do it.

    Drummers eat this stuff for breakfast.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lionelsax
    Thanks very much, I also appreciated your seven string guitar.
    Thanks! Actually I don’t have a 7-string, on that track I was playing my Gibson 175 through a Boss OC3 pedal, it lowers the bass notes by an octave (you can set the range of notes to which the effect is applied).

    I’m quite pleased that it passed for a 7-string!

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77

    Drummers eat this stuff for breakfast.
    Drummers? Of course they do! Not the same thing at all. Especially in 15/8 or whatever they do.

    See, there I am, trying to make some notes/lines sound nice. That has all my undivided attention, nothing else is happening, I'm communing with the tune. But I'm supposed to be counting 1-2-3-4 in my head at the same time? What a distraction!

    Never. But what I do do, I've noticed, is sort of pulse internally with the rhythm. Same thing with dancing. Not that I do that any more.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Drummers? Of course they do! Not the same thing at all. Especially in 15/8 or whatever they do.

    See, there I am, trying to make some notes/lines sound nice. That has all my undivided attention, nothing else is happening, I'm communing with the tune. But I'm supposed to be counting 1-2-3-4 in my head at the same time?

    Never. But what I do do, I've noticed, is sort of pulse internally with the rhythm. Same thing with dancing. Not that I do that any more.
    it’s basic rhythmic independence. It’s not like I’m suggesting doing anything actually challenging. Tricky at first, but so’s anything.

  50. #49

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    Sounds like it comes right out of a book. I'm not a fan, Christian, just the way it is.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Excuse? I'm telling you something. You're not listening.
    I listened to it and it sounded like you were making an excuse.