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Thread: 1 & 2 & 3 & 4

  1. #1
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    1 & 2 & 3 & 4

    Our church music director said something to me Sunday that caused me to think..... Appreciate you input.

    For this service we would be using some ole time gospel songs and she wanted to have an acoustic rhythm guitar sit in. Prior to the service, running over the two songs I'd be playing she mentioned she would like my strum to be on the 2 and 4. Seems I was using a 1 & 3. Strum has always been a feel thing and I never gave this a lot of thought. If there are rules, what are they? Like I said appreciate your thoughts.

    Malcolm
    Last edited by Malcolm; 02-16-2009 at 03:31 PM.

  2. #2
    bitter old fool Jed's Avatar
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    Strumming on "1 and 3" is commonly referred to as "white man's disease". "2 & 4" as "black music" aka "rock and roll". 2 & 4 are considered the "back beats" and have more of a shuffle feel compared to the driving "straight and narrow" pulse of 1 & 3.

    What you are being asked to do is reinforce the fundamental pulse of the music, an honorable undertaking. As a rhythm guitarist, you job is to help define, in cooperation with the bass and drums, the underlying foundation of the music. It's always a good thing when bassists and rhythm guitarists can learn to think like drummers.

    cheers,

    PS There is a whole world of nuance and coloration available via our rhythmic choices. Try to explore as many types / feelings as possible and wrap your mind around the core rhythms. These are very valuable skills.
    Last edited by Jed; 02-16-2009 at 04:08 PM.

  3. #3
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Remember it's Country, classic Country at that. On a new song I'll watch the lead vocalist, as he is doing chord accompaniment to his vocal -- and I match his strum. I guess we both have white man's disease because he is doing 1-3.

    Something I need to dig into.......

  4. #4
    bitter old fool Jed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm
    Remember it's Country, classic Country at that. On a new song I'll watch the lead vocalist, as he is doing chord accompaniment to his vocal -- and I match his strum. I guess we both have white man's disease because he is doing 1-3.
    Ahh, but it's not country. You director said "old time gospel". White men didn't invent gospel music, black slaves did. Gospel music started as work songs that the slaves sung in the fields. The rhythmic foundation of gospel music is pulses on "2 and 4" as was/is common in native african music.

    You are quite right that Country is "1 and 3". But look at the faces of the pioneers of that sound. Not a trace of melatonin to be found in that group.

    What you are being asked to do is play with a different feel in this case.

  5. #5
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Thanks Jed, makes since. It did feel odd and I'm relieved I can stay with my old strums to the music we play. But, this does open some new doors to explore.

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