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Counting and rythm.... silent strokes

Active Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 7
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Hi! Im currently struggeling with some really basic stuff... rythm patterns. This might be a stupid question but I guess thats what the forum is for :).

Im following a course I found on the internet, and in the early parts of the course it says you should count out loud and hit the strings on each count. For instance the count; one - and - two - three - four, would be five strokes.

Now later on in the course, when it gets to something called silent strokes, that is you keep moving your hand up and down with the rythm but dont always hit the strings, I get the impression you're supposed to count the silent strokes as well. So you would always count out loud: one - and - two - and - three - and - four - and... But it doesnt say explicetely that you are supposed to count like this, it only implies it. Now I find it extremely hard to get the rythm right when I count out everything (and by everything I mean one - and - two - and - three - and - four - and... as opposed to counting only the strokes where you actually make a sound). I can maybe keep one or two cycles and then Im lost. I find that my hand wants to hit the strings everytime it "hears" a count.

So the question is this, am really I supposed to count "everything" out loud, as implied by my course. And if so what good does the counting really do, is there a hidden gain that will somehow emerge later from counting in this way? I mean, at this stage, counting certainly helps me when I only hit the counted strings, but only confuses me when i count "everything"

Thanks for any help

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Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5899

Yes, count the lot. Leaving strokes out (silent strokes) creates a different rhythm.

Try by strumming just down strokes - no need for speed, just get a good rhythm going. Down, Down, Down, Down.
Sounds good, huh?..........................


Gets a bit boring, though, doesn't it.

Now change the pattern a little - ADD an upstroke between every other down stroke - Down, Up, Down, nothing, Down, Up, Down, nothing, Down, Up, Down, nothing, etc.. Use the time that "nothing" is played to get your hand back up for the next down stroke - just keep it in the same rhythm as a played stroke.

Got that rhythm?

What I did was add a silent stroke, where "nothing" was played, if you like.

Oh, and by the way, welcome to the musical madhouse.

Feel free to ask as many questions as you like.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
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Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4933

I wrote an article on Keeping Time that might help - it shows counts/strokes/metronome clicks for several different types of rhythms and explains them.

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