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Play Chords & Rhythm Like Jerry?

PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 5:39 am
by lunasparks
I posted the below originally in the equipment discussion, but occurs to me that it makes more sense to start a new topic here:

I'm posting here because I can't seem to find a good thread about how Jerry gets "that" sound when he plays chords, but I think it has a lot to do with the pick(ing). There are a million examples of what I'm trying to learn. Bird Song clip below has a good example, though. Go to about 2:27-2:29, just a few seconds but the tone he gets on those chords, almost like each note is articulated even though it's a chord. I have (I think) all of the gear needed to achieve this; what I lack (I think) is the right touch. Who knows how Jerry gets this kind of "brushlike" effect out of his chords?



Actually, below from same show is even better example. Listen here at 1:37-1:43. You guys know what I'm talking about, really just the standard way that Jerry seems to get that "light" sound from his chords, esp. late '80s/early '90s. No matter how hard I try, I can't quite seem to get this tone when I play chords. Would love to hear what others think about trying to knock Jerry's style of chords/rhythm. Let's hear 'em....


Re: Play Chords & Rhythm Like Jerry?

PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:55 am
by gr8fullfred
Ok this one is really easy, Jerry gets that sound because he's Jerry! Its the combination of Wolf, Jerry's rig and as we have discussed many times on the forum "Jerry"

But looking at the video, he seem to really strike the strings kinds hard to get that almost Bobby sound for just a couple of shots. Also moves the location of the pick striking the strings closer to the neck pickup (I think)

Are we insane for studying this guy for nearly 20 years after his death?

Re: Play Chords & Rhythm Like Jerry?

PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 2:11 pm
by lunasparks
No doubt we're all a little insane over this stuff!

Here's another example of what I'm really getting at...the way those chords ring so subtly, brushlike but jangly at the same time around 0:43-1:08. I've played a number of single notes and riffs in my time where I thought, "that sounds like the Garcia!" ... but I have NEVER, EVER played a chord and had the same kind of moment.

Does anybody feel like they've got this part of Jer's game down pat? Or am I just a little crazy and it's no big deal? :shock:



Re: Play Chords & Rhythm Like Jerry?

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 4:16 am
by hippieguy1954
To start with, I've always had the contention (after listening, reading, watching, and playing Dead for so many years) that Jerry actually had a huge influence on Bobby's guitar playing and maybe even gave him one on one lessons in the early years. That being said, Bobby formed his own style incorporating what he learned with what the band needed.
Jerry uses a purcussive strum, only hitting the low strings (E,A,D a littlt bit of G). He almost slaps them gently creating that signature strum that kinda growles like a water fall! Sometimes it almost sounds a bit sloppy, but it is totally intentional and sounds swesome. Try being a little rougher with your strum and use just the E,A,D and a touch of the G. Like previously stated in previous posts, it's a Jerry technique, but with some experimenting and practice it's not hard to get it. There is no secret, just technique. No special settings, just technigue. Get just a little rough with the strum too. "Touch of Grey" is a good example, but there are many others as well! Hope this helps a little, at least!
:smile: :smile: :smile:

Re: Play Chords & Rhythm Like Jerry?

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 7:15 am
by Emoto
To my way of thinking, it is about how you finger the chords, meaning the extent to which you allow the pure notes to ring. IMHO, there was a range of how long the notes were allowed to ring after the strings were strummed. This range was anywhere from a percussive stroke only (strings damped by touching, but not pressed down to the fretboard) all the way to the strings being held down with fingers applying wide vibrato, and all places in between the two. IMO, developing the ability to use that range can add a lot to the color and texture of a song.

Re: Play Chords & Rhythm Like Jerry?

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 1:25 pm
by Tennessee Jedi
IMHO the " movement " you search for has do to with how and when Jerry uses his upstroke.
The " tone " is deadly clean and he doesnt let the strings ring too much ...
Also, I think Emoto's points are right on
:-)
There are many signature Jerry rhythm parts.
Scarlet intro and Terrapin intro come to mind but there are many more.
Its these " little" stylistic points that make up the whole of the Jerry Sound !
:smile:

Re: Play Chords & Rhythm Like Jerry?

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 4:33 pm
by lunasparks
So, I spent pretty much the entire day focusing on the tips you guys suggested, playing along with that Mission clip above -- play, rewind, listen, play along, etc etc -- really just allowing myself to hit those bottom strings like I've never really done before, ringing notes then muting, altogether experimenting.

And I think I've had a breakthrough! :shock: It somehow never occurred to me that I simply wasn't hitting those bass notes with enough "slap" to get the job done. At least now I'm getting more in the ballpark.

Would still be interested in any thoughts/tips from anyone about Jerry's chording and rhythm playing. It'd be cool if this thread lived on for study & praise of Jer's technique. I've heard it said before, but he really played some interesting rhythm guitar....

Re: Play Chords & Rhythm Like Jerry?

PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:03 am
by mrMix
I think if I could wish for it - I'd want my right hand playing to match Jerry's - but still have all my fingers :-)

Re: Play Chords & Rhythm Like Jerry?

PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:37 am
by NeebruM
I studied the man for decades, pressed against the stage in front of him, on stage - right, left, and even back stage, and the fact is he did both...

Sometimes he didn't even finger full chords but just the bottom DGBE strings or LESS!

It's all in the attack and touch.

there was only one Jerry Garcia.

Re: Play Chords & Rhythm Like Jerry?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:04 am
by austinhumphrey
I never really released before that jerry had that kind of sound! I might take having a missing part of a fingering to sound like jerry ha ha

Re: Play Chords & Rhythm Like Jerry?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:49 pm
by JonnyBoy
I may be alone thinking this, but I think tone has a lot to do with the other music in the band playing too. For instance, the Crazy Fingers Jerry plays in that Youtube vid backstage sounds totally different ( well, within reason) than with the band on stage, although it is the same thing he always plays. I know an argument could be made about the different gear and such, but the lack of the band and the other music gives the guitar a different tone and vise versa. As for his technique, it is a science to emulate someone's natural ability, and he plays in a unique way sometimes. some of it is the chord positions, left hand feel and right hand pick attack, and practice practice practice.

Re: Play Chords & Rhythm Like Jerry?

PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:39 pm
by Mr.Burns
Consider Jerry's relatively heavy gauge strings and graphite picks, along with the extremely touch sensitive way his rig was set up...

Re: Play Chords & Rhythm Like Jerry?

PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:34 pm
by lunasparks
lunasparks wrote:So, I spent pretty much the entire day focusing on the tips you guys suggested, playing along with that Mission clip above -- play, rewind, listen, play along, etc etc -- really just allowing myself to hit those bottom strings like I've never really done before, ringing notes then muting, altogether experimenting.

And I think I've had a breakthrough! :shock: It somehow never occurred to me that I simply wasn't hitting those bass notes with enough "slap" to get the job done. At least now I'm getting more in the ballpark.

Would still be interested in any thoughts/tips from anyone about Jerry's chording and rhythm playing. It'd be cool if this thread lived on for study & praise of Jer's technique. I've heard it said before, but he really played some interesting rhythm guitar....


Some other thoughts as I contemplate the Garcia's technique (I doubt most of these are original observations, but my 2 cents):

- most times when he's in rhythm guitar mode he's pounding the strings but has his volume turned way down so it's just one of the colors. Then he rides that volume knob, turning way up for leads (and whenever he thinks appropriate) where dominates the mix. It's really almost like he hits the strings hardest and has the most aggressive attack when he plays his chords--but keeps the volume very low--and then his lead approach is to turn up Loud but then take a more subtle approach with his pick attack. In any event, I think you just can't turn up the guitar volume to 10 and "play Jerry" -- it takes an eye always to the wide difference in guitar volume between rhythm and leads.

check about 22 mins. into this video for Ramble on Rose. His bright rig cuts right through at all times, but his actual volume in the mix is, I think, pretty tame--really Bob and the keys stand out, while Jerry does his little riffs and lays down those percussive chords. Then when he takes a lead (see about 25:24) he turns up and you can hear a little volume flareup as he dials in the lead volume.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FB1EKMy-yU

EDIT to try to fix the youtube link.

Re: Play Chords & Rhythm Like Jerry?

PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 3:28 am
by ndrewoods
JonnyBoy wrote:I may be alone thinking this, but I think tone has a lot to do with the other music in the band playing too. For instance, the Crazy Fingers Jerry plays in that Youtube vid backstage sounds totally different ( well, within reason) than with the band on stage, although it is the same thing he knows how to play guitar. I know an argument could be made about the different gear and such, but the lack of the band and the other music gives the guitar a different tone and vise versa. As for his technique, it is a science to emulate someone's natural ability, and he plays in a unique way sometimes. some of it is the chord positions, left hand feel and right hand pick attack, and practice practice practice.

I see you point. There could be a difference when the band plays with him or just him playing the guitar alone. All I know is that Jerry can do wonders when his playing. It may take a hundred years or even never for us to hear another 'Jerry' again.

Re: Play Chords & Rhythm Like Jerry?

PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:52 am
by lunasparks
Okay. I'm back on this issue of Jerry's strum. I've made some progress, but I still feel like I really can't capture it. Listen to the Terrapin intro below (nothing special than he's a little louder in the mix here than in some recordings). When he strums it's like the strings are a foot longer, just resonating strongly and perfectly. It's funny, when I try to listen to other Jerry players I don't think I hear most of them capturing this tone/technique. Open to being corrected if somebody can post a link to a player who could pass the blind tone test on a Terrapin intro...I feel like no one is really nailing this part of his playing, no? :?

http://archive.org/details/gd1986-12-15.sbd.walker-scotton.miller.99035.sbeok.flac16