(An “Ive Got Rhythm and Thats For Sure” Mindset)
No one could tell me different. I felt it. I felt the electricity through my veins.
Once I got a feeling for rhythm the guitar didn’t stand a chance.
Once you know and understand note values well, your compositions will come out much more to your liking. You will be able to express yourself better.
Heres a little primer on note values.
Whole notes last for 4 beats and half notes last for 2.
Qtr notes last for 1 and eighth notes last half of 1.
16ths last for a qtr of a beat and 32nd notes last for an 8th of a beat.
Or in other words 16th notes last for 1/16th of a bar
and 32nds for 1/32 of a bar.
This also means that 2 Half notes equal one whole note. 4 quarter notes equal one whole note.
8 8th notes equal one whole note and 16/16 notes equal one whole note. 32/32 notes also equal one whole note.
If I would have known these things I would have progressed easier and quickly but the thought of a guitar teacher never even entered my mind.
I was too vain. I simply played by ear.
Learning details about rhythm and note values and the possibilities would have taken me to a higher level much sooner than I reached it.
Anyway my first rhythm that I came up with I still remember today.
It was my first riff and I called it “Play.”
Another thing I want to touch on is naming your ideas.
Some are afraid to give their own ideas good names. This is because they’re too afraid of what people will think.
They don’t take their ideas seriously. If you don’t take your ideas seriously, no one else will.
Don’t be like those people.
Name Your Riffs and Ideas
Think about how you are feeling or what you are going through and give it a name based on those feelings.
You could also look at a big news blog for keywords that relate to what youre trying to express.
“Play” isnt very good name but my drummer liked it and we had a blast.
Play later became “Stand Under The Rain” and morphed into a whole song.
It all started with 3 chords. 3 power chords actually. F#5, A5 and E5.
It had no lyrics but that’s all we would do, we would just go balls out on it at the highest decibel level possible.
It took me a good while to learn how to put my fingers on the guitar and how to do things correctly.
In the early days when I didn’t have a band it was just me.
I just wanted to be able to produce a riff, so that was my goal.
You gotta have a goal.
I do a ton of listening and always record my ideas.
I had a bunch of cassette tapes filled with shitty recordings but it didn’t matter.
I now had something to listen to and see what needed work.
Its all about the work.
I could now tell what riffs were good and which ones were bad and if I needed more practice or not, just by listening back to my own recordings.
My own recordings served and still serve as my teacher.
They tell me where I lack skill.
Do a lot of listening to the bands that you love and try to mimic the rhythm or the ideas that you hear from your favorite songs.
This doesn’t mean that you’re stealing the song or the idea it just means that you are inspired by it.
Whatever you come up with is probably not going to sound like the band, and even if it does, it’s totally OK because you’re not gonna put it on a CD and sell it for profit.
I learned how to count because I had taken some music electives in college so I used that technique and I let her rip.
I never used a metronome, I used clapping and my intuition.
I don’t remember exactly what I looked at or what kind of books because I didn’t even know that books existed on guitar technique.
I just went for it.
I didn’t know that magazines existed either.
I also didn’t understand them and had no clue what they meant once I did discover them.
I would go to Barnes & Noble and try to figure things out through magazines but really I learned by DOING.
Not by waiting for someone to TELL me what to do.
All that time spent worrying whether my stuff was good or not was a complete waste of time.
Just go for it.
I remember being pissed so I would go home pissed and just write another riff and thats how it happened most of the time.
The riffs and ideas were a cathartic release of energy.
Here is a mini ACTION PLAN:
Learn note values and explore all possibilities within a measure by using just one riff.
Whole notes all the way through to 32nd notes.
You can then take the same concept to other riffs.
Keep it simple for now but dont be a lazy bum.
Bums eat out of trash cans.
That aint you.
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