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Left hand wants to slow it down

PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 4:12 pm
by jeffl
I've been workin' on a tune with a left hand rhythm that uses the first and last eighth notes of a triplet,i.e. daa-dit-daa-dit-daa-dit-daa-dit,on an alternating two note left hand chord in the middle register. I jus' can't seem to keep the speed up,and not because of technical ability. It jus' wants to slow down. I can't remember ever having this problem,and I'm about to fire up the built-in metronome for the first time in my life.

RE: Left hand wants to slow it down

PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 7:24 pm
by lorilu
Hey Bubba! I always use a metronome so don't even feel bad about that. Drummers have a lot of exercises that work on bringing the hands to equal levels of dexterity. They call piano or keyboards a percussive instrument so I would think these types of exercises would apply.

I have received the advice from musicians I admire to use a metronome in practice and this coming from guitar players that were really good. Not the whole practice time but enough so you can work on timing. As a drummer we can get blamed for all timing issues but let me tell you - I have heard bad timing out of all types of musicians. Not necessarily always bad but the drummer cannot make up for all of the off timing.

Timing is weird. We recorded a demo a while back and when it was my turn to lay my track the engineer asked me if I wanted a click. I said I didn't know so we did the first without. I said Hey, I think they're off, and he said, no, they're on a click, you're off. Hilarious! Sometimes your ears tell you something different.

RE: Left hand wants to slow it down

PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 7:32 pm
by jeffl
[updated:LAST EDITED ON Mar-25-06 AT 02:34 PM (EST)]I have nothing against metronomes,'s just that I've never had to use one. I was trained on rhythms in band as an elementary schooler-and trained hard- and I've always had a pretty good clock. That doesn't mean that I never rush,or drag,but that I can usually correct it or anticipate it. There are certain types of rhythms that lead inherently to rushing,or dragging. For example,when playing upbeat "vamps" or single beat rhythm comps (French horn players frequently are assigned the "vamps" in orchestra music),the tendency is to get too far behind the beat on slower metres,or to rush it on quicker metres,and so that can be anticipated. I think the metronome is gettin' switched on for practicin' this tune for a while,though.

RE: Left hand wants to slow it down

PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 11:42 pm
by fred
[updated:LAST EDITED ON Mar-27-06 AT 06:46 PM (EST)]Hi Bubba & BRB'ers! I still use a Gibson Maestro that I bought new in '68. The swing, shuffle, & slow rock beats serve me well for practicing timekeeping. I know nothing about rhythm boxes on the market today--anybody w/recommendations?

Here's something I've started doing to help LH: allot an amount of time to play nothing w/LH but the 1,3,5,6 of each RH note (key chord). I've picked out several oldie country, blues, & rock songs that I think sound pretty good w/just this LH rhythm pattern.

A few songs I've gotten down pat: Talk Back Trembling Lips, I Ain't Never, Together Again, Cryin Time, Love's Gonna Live Here Again, She Thinks I Still Care, Same Old Me, The Girls All Get Prettier, Honky Tonk Blues, Mona Lisa, You win Again, Would You Catch A Falling Star, Here We Go Again, Lovesick Blues, etc.

Don't Let Go, Splish Splash, Sea Cruise, You Never Can Tell, Chantilly Lace, Sea of Love, I Can Help, Some Kind of Wonderful, Be-Bop-A-Lula, I'm Walkin, Blue Monday, Whole Lot of Shakin, Matchbox, & a bunch of blues classics!

Point is: I just couldn't get kicked off playin solo until I started practicing this LH pattern. I can now keep up w/some of CBerry & JLlewis stuff--it's real fun time! LOL!--I'm lookin for a basser, drummer--even a sax to get the show on the road! Regards

RE: Left hand wants to slow it down

PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 8:15 am
by badfinger
Or, you could just play the whole thing more slowly - start at the speed your left hand seems to think it should be played at (remember that your LH reflects what's happening in the right side of your brain!).

There are two bits of info I picked up and place high in the list of essentials, one of which goes something like, "Never be frightened of slow - most people are, and they are mistooked". (Houndog Fraser).

RE: Left hand wants to slow it down

PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:08 pm
by meilankev

From the bottom of my soul, my advice is "don't pay it no mind". Whatever speed you feel comfortable playing, that is the right speed. The only thing that matters is if the song makes folks sit up and pay attention. That's my only goal.

When I'm playing and singing, my tempo keeps pretty consistnt. But when I improvise, I sometimes unintentionally speed up. The other guys I play with have had to learn they need to prepare for this possibility. Hell, even when I'm playing alone, I still don't care about keeping a consitent tempo. The more structural stuff I try to keep in my head, the poorer job I'm going to do on the really important stuff.

Oh, and I was given a fancy metronome for Christmas back in 1977. I used it for a week, and gave it away.

Good luck!!!

RE: Left hand wants to slow it down

PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 4:25 am
by lorilu
Many people never use a metronome and I was very resistant as I am to a lot of structured things but I am really glad I learned to use one and that I will always work in practice with a metronome and use it as a challenge to see how my time REALLY is. Why? Because of what I want to do with my music and for playing well with others. As far as a newer model, Fred, I use a Sabine Zipbeat quartz metronome. It goes from 40 to 208 beats per minute and you can always double time where it is comfortable for you. It is a fun challenge to see if you are perfect with the metronome. I think it is hard at first, though.
It's like situps even if no one ever sees your stomach it is there strong and supporting your back and your whole body.

Re: Left hand wants to slow it down

PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:50 pm
by Jbyrd 88
I use an Alesis SR-16 programmable drummer. Has built in patterns or you can create your own. The problem is that it keeps PERFECT time. After hours of practice alone attempting to perfect my timing I go out and play with a real human drummer and he just can't possibly keep perfect time. One drummer I know comes very close though, and I tend to use him every time he's available. Some drummers try to keep time with some other instrument--like the bass, or the guitar and some drummers have a clock so good that you can't speed him up or slow him down from the speed he begins a song. I like the latter the best because if a drummer can be made to speed up I'll have him going 90 MPH by the time the song is over. The drummer with the good clock keeps me in the groove and won't let me speed up or slow down. I agree that the drummer can't be held responsible for all the timing, but if he's not in good one else is either. The best drummer I know can carry all his equipment into a club in one trip. He has a bass drum, a snare, one tom tom, a high hat, one ride cymbal, and he usually finds a folding metal chair and puts a pillow in it to sit on. He plays a simple beat, precisely in time with the bass, and very seldom any rolls or anything fancy. maybe two licks on the tom tom at a chord transition...maybe nothing but that simple beat all the way through. He's a freelancer and in such great demand it's hard to get him. Much better than a dude with $10,000 worth of drums who tries all kinds of crazy transitions and never fails to come in about a half beat off. As for the octaves with the left hand, yes they are dynamic and loud but most keyboards have a split function. I split mine and lower the volume where my left hand works. The octaves work fine that way and never clash with the bass or anything else. Also agree that there are no rules. If it sounds good it must be right. I have a friend who owns a recording studio who is also a blues piano player. He says that left hand octaves and working off triplets with the right hand are the only piano style that makes a good recording. He has worked with the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Ry Cooder, Dan Penn and others, and had a band called The Dixie Flyers that were the studio band for Atlantic and backed Rita Coolidge for a couple of years. I tend to pay very close attention to what he tells me about playing piano. Takes some folks years and years to find out just how powerful simplicity really is.