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Thread: Need a little help with chop rhythm

  1. #1

    Default Need a little help with chop rhythm

    So after studying and practicing the melody of some BG tunes, I believe its time to practice chopping.
    Can someone please record himself playing rhythm mandolin? slowly and fast.. I want to know how exactly the chop should sound like abd how to exactly perform it. I find it very hard to understand because all the lessons in youtube seems to be too fast..
    And every time I play rhythm and compare myself to some good mandolin players, I feel like their chops are much more "muted" then mine. Hope I explained ok 😄

    Thank you very much

  2. #2
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need a little help with chop rhythm

    Here ya go :-


    Several other YouTube clips are available as well,
    Ivan
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  3. #3
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
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    Default Re: Need a little help with chop rhythm

    The timing between the chop with the pick and the relaxing of the grip on the chord takes work. To slow and you get ringing you don't want and too soon and you get a thud. Practice and be patient. It will come to you. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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    Default Re: Need a little help with chop rhythm

    Also, you'll find over time that there is an almost infinite variety to the way the chop can be interpreted and applied. Personally, I must have at least five different ways that I'll chop rhythm, depending on the song, the situation and the desired mood. It's a very versatile technique.
    Mitch Russell

  5. #5
    Stop the chop!
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    Default Re: Need a little help with chop rhythm

    Not a very instructive video. Also, this talk of "back-beat" and "snare drum" is misleading. Back-beat is about accenting the two and four in 4/4; that role may be taken by, e.g., the snare drum in rock or the hi-hat in (be-bop) jazz. Hower most Bluegrass is in 2/2 and the chop then lands on the "ands" or "ups" between one and two - it's more like the right hand in certain types of piano accompaniment.

    Of course, there are many rhythmic patterns possible on the mandolin. I like to think of BG groove as one-tee-dee-two-tee-wee-dee
    (except in those ridiculous tempos that we don't really need) and you gotta hear all of it to understand what the mandolin can do within that or other patterns. As always the most sensible advice would be "listen and explore", and, above all, play with others.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Need a little help with chop rhythm

    Quote Originally Posted by ralph johansson View Post
    Not a very instructive video. Also, this talk of "back-beat" and "snare drum" is misleading. Back-beat is about accenting the two and four in 4/4; that role may be taken by, e.g., the snare drum in rock or the hi-hat in (be-bop) jazz. Hower most Bluegrass is in 2/2 and the chop then lands on the "ands" or "ups" between one and two - it's more like the right hand in certain types of piano accompaniment.
    The The 2 and 4 in 4/4 are the same as the ands in 2/2, just different countng. They are both the "backbeat" and they are both what the snare drum would play.

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    Registered User bradlaird's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need a little help with chop rhythm

    I'm game...


    Here are the chord charts if you need them.
    Last edited by bradlaird; Apr-17-2018 at 10:13am. Reason: added the chord charts

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  10. #8

    Default Re: Need a little help with chop rhythm

    Thank you all very much!! I will keep practice

  11. #9
    Stop the chop!
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    Default Re: Need a little help with chop rhythm

    Quote Originally Posted by David L View Post
    The The 2 and 4 in 4/4 are the same as the ands in 2/2, just different countng. They are both the "backbeat" and they are both what the snare drum would play.
    In many contexts the distinction between two and four is very real, although its significance varies with the genre.

    Here are two examples from jazz.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJQv0dT_6Ls

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mbCuFn3EH4

    Two in the head (except the bridge in the second example), four in the blowing section (beautiful solo by Coltrane!).


    From BG you could compare the two versions of Georgia Rose by Monroe, the first (1950) in four, the second (1954) in two. You can find both on Spotify

    Back to backbeat. Check these two performaces:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vifUaZQL8pc

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccEGlSzhj5E


    The first with a backbeat (over the boogie beat) on the snare (with sticks), the second with a strong down-up-down-up feel, often with the ”up” or “and” doubled. Whatever you wish to call the time signatures the two are worlds apart.

    Frankly I would like to hear more of a four feel in Bluegrass, as it probably would force the players to slow down things a bit, allowing greater rhythmic freedom (we don’t really need anythng faster than 120 bpm in 2/2, or 240 in 4/4). Actually, in my BG days about 48 years ago I played in a fourpiece group without fiddle so I would do a lot more than chordal rhythm on our songs, especially on slower numbers.

    And chordal rhythm, of course, is more than just chopping twice every bar.

    To the TS: Don’t listen to those “instructional videos”, listen to real music, find songs where you really dig the playing. Also go back in time to the early days of Bluegrass, e.g., Monroe’s recordings from around 1946-1950, where his mandolin assumes a much more varied role than on later recordings. And remember, with a bass and guitar in the group the mando comes on top of everything else. In other words, listen.

    About the snare drum in BG, it was more frequent in the 60’s (chiefly on records) and mostly it was played with brushes. Here are two examples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8MZif_3l50
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8MZif_3l50 Doesn’t sound much like the back beat in the boogie example above, nor like a chopping mandolin.

    In the summer of 69 I several times watched Ray Martin with his father, and Robby Osborne with his father and uncle, and, as I recall, their playing was at least as busy as the F&S examples (but predictably mechanic), not just slapping on the afterbeat. Possibly the oldest example of drumming in BG is Love Pains with the Osbornes, where the drummer goes into some kind of Bo Diddley thing on the chorus. Not sure how to replicate that on the mandolin.

  12. #10
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need a little help with chop rhythm

    Just as a counter view, do listen to instructional videos ... and try the techniques that folk are attempting to teach.

    You just need to keep an open mind, and realize that when you are shown something by any teacher, use what helps you and discard the rest. Use what you can process, and discard the rest. None of us can tell you how to learn or how to play. Listening to and feeling music is of utmost importance, as Ralph has suggested. A goal would be to make your own music. To do that, there are countless ways to learn things that will help along the way.

    Pay attention to the instructional videos. More than one voice here is being helpful, and there is more than one way to learn.
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  13. #11

    Default Re: Need a little help with chop rhythm

    The backbeat in Route 66 and Monroe's hornpipe are the same, just at different tempos. Route 66 fills in subdivisions between the downbeat and the backbeat. The overall effect is different, but the backbeat is essentially the same.

    When I said, "The 2 and 4 in 4/4 are the same as the ands in 2/2, just different countng.", I was referring to beat 2 and beat 4, not 2/2 and 4/4.

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