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keep on strumming... or not?


(@amira)
Trusted Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 78
Topic starter  

and my next question for today is...

to keep on or not to keep on strumming? that is the question.

my guitar teacher always encourages me to just keep on strumming no matter what... so no matter how hard i find some chords to play and no matter how much i might be messing them up... he says "just keep on strumming" ... even if i practically miss some of them out cos i can't get my fingers to them in time and it's time to get to the next one!!

I'm not sure about this... as i think sometimes when you're learning something new you do need to stop and take time putting your fingers in the right place...

what do you all think?


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(@musenfreund)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5134
 

Listeners are more apt to note an egregious break in the rhythm than a fumbled chord. Your teacher's advice is good. And if you play with others, you've got to keep time and stay in tempo with the band.

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon


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(@maxrumble)
Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 447
 

When your playing even if it is just for yourself - absolutely.

Practicing is more flexible. When practicing I would move slowly until I have the cord changes cemented in the brain. If you practice the chord changes you need really slowly, you can concentrate on moving all of your fingers at once, which I am assuming is your problem. It is crutial that you learn to do this, although it could take awhile. Try moving your fingers very slowly planting the fingers at the same time or even in the opposite order that you are currently using. You will be surprized how fast this can help.

Cheers,

Max


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(@clazon)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 504
 

I think you have to differentiate your time between "playing" the song and just "fretting" chords.

I used to practice fingers off of the fretboard, then slamming them on and playing the chord. I then repeated this alot of times, quite slowly, until my fingers were getting it more right than before. Then I'd move on to the next chord and repeat.

Having done this a couple of times for each chord, I'd then play the song where it is essential not to stop as you are practicing rhythm as well as changing hand position, which sadly alot of beginners lack, yet is vital.

I have to say, now I'm a tiny bit more "grown-up", I make a choice as to whether to stop or not. If the flow is good and it's a small error, why stop? You might miss out on doing a hard bit well. However, if you're stumbling along or your mind loses its train of thought then it could be worth stopping.

"Today is what it means to be young..."

(Radiohead, RHCP, Jimi Hendrix - the big 3)


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(@elecktrablue)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 4389
 

Definitely keep strumming. Keep your rhythm together until your fingers catch up. No one will notice it as much as you do! Unless you stop strumming! :D

..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
¸.·´ .·´¨¨))
((¸¸.·´ .·´
-:¦:- ((¸¸.·´ -:¦:- Elecktrablue -:¦:-

"Don't wanna ride no shootin' star. Just wanna play on the rhythm guitar." Emmylou Harris, "Rhythm Guitar" from "The Ballad of Sally Rose"


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(@alangreen)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5366
 

Hmmm - the important thing is to get the changes in on time. I teach my students to "finger it and strum it once" if that's easiest for them because they can get away with an awful lot so long as the changes come in at the right time.

It would be good to know how your teacher's thinking about what he says.

Best,

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


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(@wes-inman)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5599
 

I am with Greybeard. I understand what your teacher is trying to do (teach you to keep time), but he is also training you to play sloppy. And how you practice is how you will play.

So I don't think I agree with this method.

You have got to slow it down to where you can make proper chord changes. Strum at that speed even if it is very slow. With a little practice you will make the chord changes quicker and can pick up the tempo.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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(@rocker)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1136
 

well said wes, use a the dreaded metronome, speed will come, i promise 8)

even god loves rock-n-roll


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(@coloradofenderbender)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1120
 

I am a firm believer in practicing something new, as slowly, with stops if needed, until you have it all figured out and "know" the song. Then, I try to keep strumming, and my chord changes quickly catch up!


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(@corbind)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1744
 

When I first started my chord changes were slow and inaccurate. My teacher told me to keep strumming. Say we're playing G to C to D. I'd finger the G and, when it's time to switch to the C I wouldn't get my fingers in position until the last beat of the C measure. Then he'd be playing on the D and I'd get there the last beat. It was crazy.

I think he should have slowed down the songs when he played along with me rather than have me absolutely fumble at practice. At home I would practice at a much slower tempo so that I could make changes almost right. As said by others, you will play like you practice and that can ingrain some bad playing.

I have some bad habits from doing just that. Take your time and slow it all down. It's not a race.

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


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(@amira)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 78
Topic starter  

When I first started my chord changes were slow and inaccurate. My teacher told me to keep strumming. Say we're playing G to C to D. I'd finger the G and, when it's time to switch to the C I wouldn't get my fingers in position until the last beat of the C measure. Then he'd be playing on the D and I'd get there the last beat. It was crazy.

I think he should have slowed down the songs when he played along with me rather than have me absolutely fumble at practice. At home I would practice at a much slower tempo so that I could make changes almost right. As said by others, you will play like you practice and that can ingrain some bad playing.

I have some bad habits from doing just that. Take your time and slow it all down. It's not a race.

i think i go along with a bit of everything really that's been posted...

i've experienced what you're describing and it's madness... so yes i've come to the conclusion that slowing down until i can make the changes then picking up speed later is a good idea.... especially when i'm at home practicing on my own....

on the other hand i've experimented - and sometimes my changes have become better because i've kept up.... even if i've only hit the chord on the last beat...

so maybe a bit of this and that is the answer?

i bought a lovely new guitar today... a simon and patrick... mahogany back and sides wth a spruce front... i'm very happy. :D


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(@zaiga)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 66
 

so maybe a bit of this and that is the answer?

I think so, yes. When you are learning a completely new chord shape it is probably best to play very slowly so that you have enough time to finger the chord correctly. Once you have this pat down you want to start playing the chords in "normal" tempo, because this is what you eventually want to be doing, even when you don't always play the chord correctly. Playing a chord correctly is important, but speed is equally important. I just think that playing correctly is the thing that should come first.

However, eventually you should start using the method your teacher is telling you, because you want the chord changes to become automatic. It won't work if you always have to stop and think about how to finger the chord, it should become automatic, that's why playing it in such a tempo that you can't stop to think about it is important. It's so cool when you finger the chord right for the first time without thinking about it!


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 Oric
(@oric)
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When you're playing with a band, you can't stop and go back to fix the chord. Just keep going, and try to fix it next time it comes around. I know this from playing bass in jazz band- the band doesn't stop for you to fix the note.


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