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  1. #1

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    I remember back in the day making a real effort to stop playing all double time on ballads. Once I got slow eighth note swing down, my time feel at other tempos skyrocketed.

    Somehow recently I started thinking, "I wonder how far I can take this?"

    How slow can you guys play locked into the upbeat, and placing your downbeat consistently in your preferred spot?

    I've been messing around with this. I tap my foot on the actual downbeat and play my eighth notes. At absurdly slow tempos it was really interesting to see where my downbeats actually land.

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  3. #2

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    I like to try and feel the 6 on 4 at really slow tempos.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    I like to try and feel the 6 on 4 at really slow tempos.
    me too, this is more of an exercise/challenge.

  5. #4

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    Well, I'll be trying tonight or tommorrow and reporting back. I imagine I will be humbled.

  6. #5
    Don't forget to tap your foot on the downbeat so you can see where your downbeat is in relation; if that makes sense.

  7. #6

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    Quite slow, but you don't want to swing too slow anyway.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Quite slow, but you don't want to swing too slow anyway.
    Do you place your downbeats on or behind the beat (in general)?

  9. #8

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    I remember seeing the drummer Martin Drew in London (in a pub called The Bull's Head) demonstrating the most stupendous in the pocket swing groove at 50bpm (I checked it as he was playing). This was in the 70s and it has stayed with me since then. He was eventually hired by Oscar Peterson.

  10. #9

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    You let time pass.

    That's all...

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by corpse
    Do you place your downbeats on or behind the beat (in general)?
    On really slow tunes, I'm definitely hanging back...

    Actually, I think one of the hardest things to do on a slow tune is play "straight" and not sound unbelievably square.

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    On really slow tunes, I'm definitely hanging back...

    Actually, I think one of the hardest things to do on a slow tune is play "straight" and not sound unbelievably square.
    Right, maybe that's why it's such a good exercise for me because I go for even eighths, which is probably close to as far behind the beat as possible without changing the rhythm.

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    You let time pass.

    That's all...
    Thanks for this...

  14. #13

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    louie A- muggles



    cheers

  15. #14
    I’m not looking for tips, it was an idea to challenge guys who can already swing and maybe have a conversation.

    Videos were cool, thanks.

  16. #15

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    "Lugubrious." An adjective that is not, shall we say, overused. Love it.

  17. #16

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    If you imagine your notes and their duration like sticks, you can "lay them down" into the rhythm different ways.

    What I mean is how it feels when you place them; "square", tight, Muzak style sounds tend to come from a focus and feeling of placing the sticks "head first" where their duration is initiated.

    head first feels like x---> x-> x-> x------> (focus on the "X" at the beginning)

    feet first feels like >---x >-x >-x >------x (focus on the "X" at the ending)

    Of course you actually mechanically do start notes at their "head first end", but if you can play them as if you are imagining "laying them down" feet first with a focus on the end of the note, you can overcome the square sound.

    Sax, trumpet, violin... breath and bow instruments' owners already do this instinctively (they may be described as having "a fat beat width"); pianist a little in terms of how to release notes... guitarists have to learn to not focus so much on the attack of their notes. In general it may seem to us that after the note is started it is a done deal, but trying to get the feeling of placing it foot first goes a long way toward unconsciously modifying one's hands and rhythm.

    Beat width when playing up tempo naturally expands with respect to the pace; to the point of this thread, it is when the tempo slows down that those with a fat beat width begin to show, maintaining swing and other good things...

  18. #17
    Beat width when playing up tempo naturally expands with respect to the pace; to the point of this thread, it is when the tempo slows down that those with a fat beat width begin to show, maintaining swing and other good things...[/QUOTE]

    I like the term “beat width.” Is the meaning something close to: The width between the beat where everyone taps their foot, and where the soloist actually plays the down beat?

    Because that’s what I’m interested in Discussing

  19. #18

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    pn...love your intricate breakdown...understood..and right!...but ultimately...it's timing is everything

    either it grooves or it don't...

    no matter what kind of music...or tempo...from js bach to t monk

    cheers

  20. #19

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    Gigged this chart last fall.


  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by corpse
    Beat width when playing up tempo naturally expands with respect to the pace; to the point of this thread, it is when the tempo slows down that those with a fat beat width begin to show, maintaining swing and other good things...
    I like the term “beat width.” Is the meaning something close to: The width between the beat where everyone taps their foot, and where the soloist actually plays the down beat?

    Because that’s what I’m interested in Discussing[/QUOTE]

    i presume you are familiar with those two papers that came out re:swing and the theory of upbeat synchronisation that was partly supported by the second paper? I’ll dig out the ref if not.

    So apparently your beat tends to lag less as you approach the end of a phrase and your inequality increases which is interesting. This was observed in Freddie Hubbard.

    anyway beat placement is a funny one. I suspect it depends on accentuation. I don’t think if you accent a quarter note or a downbeat accent it should ever be behind the beat. OTOH if you are playing a string of 8ths you lay back a lot more. There’s ebb and flow.

    I wonder the problem with playing a high swing inequality with a locked in downbeat is that you aren’t feeling the upbeats, not that you need to address the lag of your downbeats. Certainly learning to feel upbeats more independently and accurately is a very important part of learning.

  22. #21

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    Also there’s the old Tristano school thing of practicing in single time 60-80 bpm. Speeding the recording up is fun. Usually it sounds very corny time wise for me haha

  23. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I like the term “beat width.” Is the meaning something close to: The width between the beat where everyone taps their foot, and where the soloist actually plays the down beat?

    Because that’s what I’m interested in Discussing
    i presume you are familiar with those two papers that came out re:swing and the theory of upbeat synchronisation that was partly supported by the second paper? I’ll dig out the ref if not.

    So apparently your beat tends to lag less as you approach the end of a phrase and your inequality increases which is interesting. This was observed in Freddie Hubbard.

    anyway beat placement is a funny one. I suspect it depends on accentuation. I don’t think if you accent a quarter note or a downbeat accent it should ever be behind the beat. OTOH if you are playing a string of 8ths you lay back a lot more. There’s ebb and flow.

    I wonder the problem with playing a high swing inequality with a locked in downbeat is that you aren’t feeling the upbeats, not that you need to address the lag of your downbeats. Certainly learning to feel upbeats more independently and accurately is a very important part of learning.[/QUOTE] VERY interested to see those resources.
    Strings of eighths is what I meant to refer to in my OP. Not that I would hardly do that at slow tempos, it’s just like...an interesting thing.
    What I found playing at these crawling tempos (although, I don’t know why I didn’t think of recording and slowing down) is for quarter notes I’m right on the beat, and my triplets start and stop exactly on the beat, and when I go into my eighth line it has like this contrasting pull.

  24. #23
    So my triplets are really snappy. Anyone stretch out triplets?

    I hope beaumont reports back with results.

  25. #24
    Also, does anyone else hate Love for Sale? I will puke if I ever have to play it again.

  26. #25
    Before I abandon this thread:
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77

    1.) i presume you are familiar with those two papers that came out re:swing and the theory of upbeat synchronisation that was partly supported by the second paper? I’ll dig out the ref if not.

    2.) So apparently your beat tends to lag less as you approach the end of a phrase and your inequality increases which is interesting. This was observed in Freddie Hubbard.

    3.) I wonder the problem with playing a high swing inequality with a locked in downbeat is that you aren’t feeling the upbeats, not that you need to address the lag of your downbeats. Certainly learning to feel upbeats more independently and accurately is a very important part of learning.
    1. Let me know if those papers show up. I did find this video. Skip to 4:40 for most applicable part.


    2. That's funny they used Freddie Hubbard as an example in the paper and so did the video. It is exactly what I'm talking about, and then playing slower than ballad tempo to challenge ourselves.

    3. I don't teach, but I do play with a number of musicians at an earlier stage in their jazz development than me. I cannot for the life of me explain that swing isn't ding dinga ding, even if they feel locked in doing that. And I think you are right, I don't think they can feel the swung upbeat without playing the downbeat.

  27. #26

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    The papers are linked in that David Bruce vid.

    this is the vid I did on upbeats fwiw:


  28. #27

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    Here's slow swing clip from my BB book with one of the Big bands I work with, Great vocalist, she's in south Africa...

  29. #28

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    No I still like love for sale.... at least as much as I like all the other standards. Ever think or play swing as part of the coming beat... rather than 1 +.... +2, and then play with feel etc...

    Don't get sick...LOL




  30. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    No I still like love for sale.... at least as much as I like all the other standards. Ever think or play swing as part of the coming beat... rather than 1 +.... +2, and then play with feel etc...

    Don't get sick...LOL



    Thanks for sharing the videos; I think it’s safe to say you don’t need any more work on feel.

    I definitely can feel the upbeat as part of the coming beat. The upbeat is my point of reference. I can’t count while actually playing because I think my downbeat might be further from the beat than my upbeat. It’s close at least. So that makes counting weird in a way.

    So now what I can do is tap my foot on the real downbeat and actually play my downbeat somewhere else. It’s sort of like rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    Gigged this chart last fall.

    that album is my exemplar for swing ....
    my dad played it LOUD every Sunday morning
    Through the big speakers ....

    Lockjaw ...... damn fine !

  32. #31

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    Yea... that was the first BB recording that I transcribed as dumb kid. (also 1st tune I arranged for BB.) Worn out grooves on record.

    Getting back to swing... If you can subdivide... the space still has feel with tempo. Right, it's not like magic to have good time. It's not some internal clock that comes to be from chanting.

    There are standard rhythm kicks, patterns that are designed or based on implied beats. And generally when you learn them... you start by actually playing them and eventually you can imply them mentally. The space is silent, but that attack or beat is implied. It's part of the feel or style.

    Generally the smallest value of the rhythmic feel or pattern becomes the subdividing measurement.
    *** So first... you need to already have skill of maintaining a steady Pulse.

    Then subdivide or play the rhythmic points between the beats. That beat becomes the rhythmic reference for the other rhythms to dance around. Create styles, feels, grooves... slow swing.

    The introduction of the Triplet introduces a new subdivision value to work with, this is how swing feels are created.

    It's not a guessing game when learning... it's a subdivision game.

    Then after you develop these skills.... you can start stretching and pulling attacks to create perception of different feels. If the rhythmic phrase is 4 bars, the beginning and end of that phrase needs to stay constant, or you'll speed up or slow down. (which does happen, part of that live thing) And the space between can be rhythmically organized in a micro style that repeats to help deepen the grove, or what ever your after with feel. Anyway slow swing is just another example of this process...

    Throw in rhythmic turnarounds that setup etc... phrases. And you'll have swing at a crawl. If you have a good rhythm section that's use to working with each other, playing parts that work together... you don't need to worry about it, you'll feel it, or at least you'll think your feeling it. Nothing better than band leader, vocalist etc... saying after gig.... wow we were really feeling it tonight, magic.

  33. #32

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    What do you mean by pulling and stretching the attacks to create different perceptions of feel?
    Thanks

  34. #33

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    So you have rhythmic pattern.. A two bar beat. That phrase, or the time or space needs to stay constant between...the "1st" beat of that two bar phrase and the "1st" beat of that 2nd two bar phrase.

    The rhythmic pattern of that two bar rhythmic pattern can be pulled or stretched... meaning feels are created by how and where you place attacks... you can have the + of 4 really be a +1. There can be a difference of where that 8th or 16th note is played or becomes part of. Are you playing a pushed or stretched + of 4, or is the attack really a pulled attack of the next bar beat 1. That's the basic concept, you then apply or expand that concept to work with more attacks... the middle part of a rhythmic phrase and try and keep the actual time steady.

    I love playing behind the beat to where the attack almost become the next attack. Creates incredible swing feel, like Sco does, hell his tempos actually slow down... a lot.

    So that organization between the beginning and end of a rhythmic phrase... which is really still just subdividing, helps lock and make grooves, swing whatever have different feels.

    So the technical answer to your question is just more levels of subdividing organization within the phrase... The phrase(s) have macro subdividing organization, EX.. simple Strong weak back and forth, or 3 phrases and a turnaround... or 8 bar sections etc.... and then your using the space within that two bar phrase in a micro application of same type of organization.

    These are just basic organization principles of space, time, a tune, a section etc... Different ways to help the whole feel tied together, natural, in the pocket.

    I take the same approach with melodic and harmonic aspects of music. It's really just like playing a scale or arpeggio... There are many ways to play the notes, you can work on organization principles or you can just play and learn from the results. You can obviously do both also... that's what I've always done.

  35. #34

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    40 bpm

  36. #35
    Reg, random, but since I have you here, do you have a really light touch with your left hand? It’s what I try for, to barely touch the string to the fret...sounds like you do similar, but I could be wrong. More percussive sound.

  37. #36

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    Thanks for taking the time to break that down and give some more insight into the organization behind. It’s very useful
    Brook

  38. #37

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    Reg swings/grooves hard, every note I've heard him play, on video or live.

    One of the things that I notice is that the hard swinging feel isn't my baseline. I have to remind myself to play that way. When I remember to do that, my time feel improves. When I don't focus on it, it gets weaker.

    So, I think that one way to improve is to play along with hard swinging music and try to cop the feel. I've found that doing so is helpful. I've heard all the usual stuff about triplets and subdivisions, in both American and Brazilian jazz, but, after a lot of work on that sort of thing, I'm convinced you have to feel it, you can't (well, I can't) get it from a verbal explanation.

  39. #38

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    That was a very interesting post Reg, I like that concept a lot.

    In jazz most 4+'s are assumed to be pushed 1's, but no doubt there are many exceptions. I'll have a look at some stuff tomorrow and report back what I notice.

    It's this type of microrhythm that really makes a player groove.

  40. #39

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    Incidentally I notice that my tendency now is to slow down a band, whereas before it was to rush. I think I got very conscious of the upbeat position and delaaaaying it to create that delicious lag. Of course, when you play it feels nice and relaxed, but of course it can dissipate rhythmic energy.

    I think also that some of the musicians I play with do this and kind of expect the guitarist to oppose it by playing on top. This can be - fucking hard work. You can't just sit in their pocket, you have to be aware of what you are doing lol.

    That's an interesting expectation - and I think the more I drill down into upbeat placement the more I am becoming aware of the other side of the coin. Whereas before I would have pushed the downbeat, there's a snappy, funky place to put your upbeat too... The funky swing is... rarer... perhaps harder to get?

    And then there's drummers of course haha.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by corpse
    Reg, random, but since I have you here, do you have a really light touch with your left hand? It’s what I try for, to barely touch the string to the fret...sounds like you do similar, but I could be wrong. More percussive sound.
    Hey corpse... I worked on both... generally I played hard, forcefully, part of a style of feel. But with that comes loss of feel for different styles , lick etc...so I worked on being able to go between the techniques, both with fingers and picking. I'm a very rhythmic and groove player... I've always had bright tone, clean. I want to hear attacks. Granted most of this is just because... I like to play lots of notes. But generally I'm on someone's gig so I my job is also to make the leader or front person be the Front person... take less busy solos etc...

    So... years ago when I played solid and simi hollow guitars at loud volumes.... 60's and early 70's, the guitars require lighter touch, just the nature of the beast. But that really isn't how I play now, playing very light is more of an effect... to help set up something. To your question... I can... but generally don't. Kind of like my choice of notes... I can play most styles, but we play what we like... at least have the choice as compared to playing... what we can.

    Which is why I always push guitarist to get their technique together... first. I've given up on the sight reading thing.

    Christian... thanks, different styles require different feel... I know, go figure. I use to play in a lots of R&B and Funk bands, very different subdivisions. I played a lot of lines with horn sections... 16th notes at med and fast tempos... the +'s of many attacks become anticipations of the next attack. Just part of phrasing. Most horn sections were or at least had some jazz players... We tend to always think of swing as the basic reference... even when playing straight... it's something we or I needed to get over. yada yada. It's all going on all the time.

  42. #41

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    Oh yeah I have pretty much no idea how to play straight 16ths

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by corpse
    Do you place your downbeats on or behind the beat (in general)?
    Sorry, just seen this. I have no idea, to be honest, I just play it. If it sounds okay, it's okay.

    Anyway, how slow is slow to you? 50? Less?

  44. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    Sorry, just seen this. I have no idea, to be honest, I just play it. If it sounds okay, it's okay.

    Anyway, how slow is slow to you? 50? Less?
    No problem. Yeah, 50 maybe at the highest. I can lock in around 30. The point is to play so slow that it’s weird. It’s not to sound okay really, I do it to challenge myself. When I go to a comfortable tempo it feels fantastic.

    For the type of player that locks into the down and swung upbeat (which is fine, not my style) it won’t be very difficult. That is to say dinga dinga dingaling type style.

  45. #44

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    I've never tried it at 30! That is definitely s-l-o-w. I'll try it out...

    takes deep breath

  46. #45

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    I've tried it. I wouldn't swing at 30. I'd assume it was 60 and play to that. I mean, 8ths at 30 are meaningless, just loping round, if that. Not musical.

    The slowest backing track I can find on YouTube is 40. Who does 30?

    What are some tunes that do 30?

    (I'm not wriggling out of it, I'll do it, but it has to be realistic!)

  47. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1
    I've tried it. I wouldn't swing at 30. I'd assume it was 60 and play to that. I mean, 8ths at 30 are meaningless, just loping round, if that. Not musical.

    The slowest backing track I can find on YouTube is 40. Who does 30?

    What are some tunes that do 30?

    (I'm not wriggling out of it, I'll do it, but it has to be realistic!)
    I’ve never played at 30, it’s exercise to test your control. It won’t sound good or make anyone’s toe tap. I use drum genius instead of a metronome so I can be sure my upbeats are locked in.

    But you are right, you won’t be actually using it. So it could be a waste of time depending on who you are.

  48. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by corpse
    I’ve never played at 30, it’s exercise to test your control. It won’t sound good or make anyone’s toe tap. I use drum genius instead of a metronome so I can be sure my upbeats are locked in.

    But you are right, you won’t be actually using it. So it could be a waste of time depending on who you are.
    i should say never played a tune at 30

  49. #48

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    There's also the point that if we played exactly, mathematically, on the beat all the time it would sound sterile. You need a bit of human in there :-)

  50. #49

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    There you are, 30.

    (Short phrases, ballad feel, not concerned with constant swing)


  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    Gigged this chart last fall.

    Was gonna post this. How slow you can swing and how slow Basie can swing are two different questions. But of slow tunes, nothing swings harder than this. It’s like magic.