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Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #101585  by jahozer
 Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:42 am
Well, here is a tip for strumming. Don't do it from your wrist. plant your elbow on the guitar and strum with your whole forearm. Alot of guys plant their wrist on the bridge and just move their hands. When you use your whole forearm, you timing is improved and its easier to have precise strokes. You create less extraneous noise as well. too many people do that waka waka waka thing between strums to keep time. Don't do that. it just adds noise to the bands sound cluttering the sound field. keep time with those pendular sweeps of your whole arm.
 #101588  by strumminsix
 Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:18 am
jahozer wrote:Well, here is a tip for strumming. Don't do it from your wrist. plant your elbow on the guitar and strum with your whole forearm. Alot of guys plant their wrist on the bridge and just move their hands. When you use your whole forearm, you timing is improved and its easier to have precise strokes. You create less extraneous noise as well.
Disagree. This may work for you but not "the key technique" In fact I'd argue the opposite. If you plant yourself (loosely, short term) on the bridge you can more effectively play 2 or 3 middle strings partial chords. that whole arm movement thing can be very clunky and undefined in a band setting.
jahozer wrote: too many people do that waka waka waka thing between strums to keep time. Don't do that. it just adds noise to the bands sound cluttering the sound field. keep time with those pendular sweeps of your whole arm.
VERY MUCH agree with the first parts, disagree with the last. the pendular swing implies in time alternating up and down strokes.

To me strumming means finding the right combination of:
1. strums
2. rests
3. chord voicing = # of notes, order of notes, up vs down stroke

I'd suggest any new guitar to first play the straight rhythm of a song and feel it. The listen for the strums and rests.
 #101591  by jahozer
 Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:48 am
Disagree. This may work for you but not "the key technique" In fact I'd argue the opposite. If you plant yourself (loosely, short term) on the bridge you can more effectively play 2 or 3 middle strings partial chords. that whole arm movement thing can be very clunky and undefined in a band setting.

Depends on how much control and muscle memory you have in your forearm. Of course there will be times where you make small wrist movements, but I would argue that proper technique is first master full arm, then utilize wrist movements when needed. Too many people plant that wrist and do little micro movements and it screws up their timing.
 #101592  by strumminsix
 Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:52 am
jahozer wrote:Depends on how much control and muscle memory you have in your forearm. Of course there will be times where you make small wrist movements, but I would argue that proper technique is first master full arm, then utilize wrist movements when needed. Too many people plant that wrist and do little micro movements and it screws up their timing.
Interesting theory...
 #101619  by Pete B.
 Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:11 pm
If you are talking about Jerry G. right hand strumming patterns, just watch the vids and see what he does with his right hand/wrist/fore-arm/elbow during the time he is singing.
Touch of Grey, for example, should clear this right up. On the chorus you can see both Bobby and Jer's right hand strum motion.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TVqMMeq74c
 #101626  by hippieguy1954
 Fri Jul 29, 2011 5:14 am
I learned Bobby's style in the early 70's before I started with Jerry in the mid 70's IMO! What worked for me and was a kind of osmosis. I went to Dead shows and would actually study Bobby's style from around the 10th row or so. After shows, I would get together with other guitar players who were doing the same thing and we would compare and trade what we saw and learned.
With Further touring and sounding so good, you can get good seats at the shows. Bobby has really gone back to his roots and is playing his signature style very clear and loud. This would be an excellent time for you to do what I and many others have done.
Also, at this point, you can also watch vids of Bobby playing at his studio. Very close up like your up front at a show.
Also, go see a good tribute band and study the "Bobby" player.
The bottom line is you have to see what your trying to copy. :smile: :smile: :smile:
 #101627  by strumminsix
 Fri Jul 29, 2011 5:52 am
jahozer wrote:Depends on how much control and muscle memory you have in your forearm. Of course there will be times where you make small wrist movements, but I would argue that proper technique is first master full arm, then utilize wrist movements when needed. Too many people plant that wrist and do little micro movements and it screws up their timing.
Thinking about this more and was watching my self play and 2 things come to mind. Firstly, my forearm sticks in the zone above the bridge plus or minus a couple inches but never goes into full pendulum. Secondly, you say "proper technique" and I'm not sure what you are getting at with it. When I think of some of the best non solo note things my ears have heard on a guitar it's been alot of finger picking be it jazz or country and also some flat picking and some bass clunk stuff and all of that is keeping the wrist over the bridge.

I don't know if there is a proper technique on the arm. Seems to me whatever you can do for 6 hours a day, hit the strings you want and not the others, change it up, and keep your time you are doing alright!

PS - think of a HOT Other One. You can definitely hear Bobby's attack and see him keep it tight and snappy and hugging the bridge then full and pendulum wail!
 #101631  by jahozer
 Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:09 am
strumminsix wrote:
jahozer wrote:Depends on how much control and muscle memory you have in your forearm. Of course there will be times where you make small wrist movements, but I would argue that proper technique is first master full arm, then utilize wrist movements when needed. Too many people plant that wrist and do little micro movements and it screws up their timing.
Thinking about this more and was watching my self play and 2 things come to mind. Firstly, my forearm sticks in the zone above the bridge plus or minus a couple inches but never goes into full pendulum. Secondly, you say "proper technique" and I'm not sure what you are getting at with it. When I think of some of the best non solo note things my ears have heard on a guitar it's been alot of finger picking be it jazz or country and also some flat picking and some bass clunk stuff and all of that is keeping the wrist over the bridge.

I don't know if there is a proper technique on the arm. Seems to me whatever you can do for 6 hours a day, hit the strings you want and not the others, change it up, and keep your time you are doing alright!

PS - think of a HOT Other One. You can definitely hear Bobby's attack and see him keep it tight and snappy and hugging the bridge then full and pendulum wail!
When I watch the vid that Pete B. just posted, they are both doing what I am talking about. Most of the movement is coming from the elbow. The top of the forearm is planted on the top of the guitar. Their wrists are moving, especially bobby's, but the arm is in constant motion, and neither have their wrists planted on the bridge.
I never talked about wild flailing on a full pendulum, thats just silly. That would the the logical extreme of what I am talking about, but thats not what I mean. Wherever your arm hovers is fine as long as its hovering, and not planted. That give you full range of movement.
When I say proper technique, if you ever take classical lessons, its one of the things they teach you. Just like how to grip the neck and to plant your finger tips. You can vary, but there is a standard to start from, and proper form in that sense is in the motion coming from the elbow. Mel Bay can back me up on this! :lol: Whatever works for you works for you, and you always vary technique, but talking to a beginner, I think its an important thing to teach them. It certainly helped me, as a reformed wrist planter. I was already an accomplished player, and I went back and took some lessons, they made me change most of my approach to holding the guitar. What I found were the results of bad habits from years of doing my own thing. The results were night and day. Had to reprogram for a while, but I would have loved to started from that standard first, and then devolve into my own thing.
 #101651  by Pete B.
 Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:21 am
jahozer wrote:When I watch the vid that Pete B. just posted, they are both doing what I am talking about. Most of the movement is coming from the elbow...
That is so funny. We are looking at the same thing, and I see it as most of the movement coming from the wrist.
The angle formed by the upper arm (lets call that "zero degrees") and lower arm (with the elbow in the middle), does not change at all. That angle formed by the upper/lower arm maintains what appears to be approx 140 degree angle.
Image
 #101654  by strumminsix
 Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:41 am
Pete B. wrote:
jahozer wrote:When I watch the vid that Pete B. just posted, they are both doing what I am talking about. Most of the movement is coming from the elbow...
That is so funny. We are looking at the same thing, and I see it as most of the movement coming from the wrist.
+1

but alot is there to be said for what Jahozer is saying. Technique is important! Even if we don't agree :cool:
 #101713  by jahozer
 Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:41 am
Well, if we are both seeing the same thing and thinking it proves each of our points, we must be talking about the same thing. If you look there is quite a bit of movement from their elbows, but their arms are more like wet noodles, with their hands like the ends of a whip.
I must not be explaining it properly. True, the classical technique is to lock that wrist like a stick running through it. That's not what I am talking about. The original comment was addressed to a beginner and a common beginner mistake is to plant the heel of the hand on bridge, not just hover over it. Thats what I am telling him to avoid.

Its funny how we interpret and try to explain what we do. There is a certain motion that Bob does when everything is like clockwork. He uses his whole arm and flicks his wrist and kinda turns his hand backwards at the end of the strum. When I am playing bobby parts, and I get into that kind of zone, I have noticed that I am using my training and utilizing that full arm much more than normal. Its interesting that when I see that video, I am noting the arm movements and you guys are noting the wrist movements. We are that far into the minutia of it that we are honing in on joint movements and interpreting it different ways...but thats why we are here, I guess.
Last edited by jahozer on Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
 #101714  by Pete B.
 Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:10 am
I totally agree with everything you said.
I love this stuff.
:smile:
 #101742  by strumminsix
 Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:39 am
Indeed, jahozer. I too was once guilty of planting on the bridge but after playing guitar with vibrato bars that had to stop, good for me!