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Thread: Feel like Steve Martin in the "Jerk"

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    Default Feel like Steve Martin in the "Jerk"

    This is my second post. With the great advice I've recived from the frist post, I though this must be the place.
    I am new to playing the mandolin, with no music background. I know that when chopping cords it should be on the down beet. I'm sorry but I feel like Steve Martin in the "Jerk". I just keep getting off time. You older pickets can do this without thinking, but I would like to know how you got there. Did you have some kind of trick or is it just something I just need to work on, till it become natural?

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    Default Re: Feel like Steve Martin in the "Jerk"

    A drummer plays the kick on the down beat, the snare on the upbeat. Guitar plays the downbeat, mandolin is the snare and plays the upbeat. Some guitar players play a strong downbeat and a strong upbeat, which is why I like to play double stops.
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    Default Re: Feel like Steve Martin in the "Jerk"

    I just want to come in with my chop on the down beat. It's like it feel that's where I need to be,but I know it's not.

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    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Feel like Steve Martin in the "Jerk"

    Quote - "....or is it just something I just need to work on, 'til it become natural ?." Yep !!. There's no 'trick' or 'easy way' involved,just a lot of practice. Use recordings to play along to,to help you 'lock onto' the tempo,
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    Emando lover David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Feel like Steve Martin in the "Jerk"

    Get a metronome and practice to it. There are free ones for your phones. Keep it up!
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    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Feel like Steve Martin in the "Jerk"

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric "Trapper" G View Post
    I just want to come in with my chop on the down beat. It's like it feel that's where I need to be,but I know it's not.
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    Default Re: Feel like Steve Martin in the "Jerk"

    Most bluegrass guitarists play a boom chuck rhythm, boom is the base note chuck is the strum. You want your chop on the strum. Mentaly " sound" the boom and chop on the strum. Unlike most players on here I started on the mandolin then learned guitar as a second instrument, but even when I wasn't playing guitar I could hear the boom chuck so that is how I learned to chop chords.

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    Default Re: Feel like Steve Martin in the "Jerk"

    Really helped me to focus on the bass. Hear the boom, then chop. I’ll also sometimes hit the G string on the 1 and 3 to help me keep time. Honestly, it just takes time and practice. Fortunately you can practice with most traditional bluegrass recordings, which makes it less boring. Don’t have to even chord, just focus on the right hand chop and timing.

    Hang in there, it’ll come!
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    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Feel like Steve Martin in the "Jerk"

    Tap your foot or toe on the down beats(1&3), chop on 2&4.
    That way you do foot hand foot hand, to keep things on their place
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    Default Re: Feel like Steve Martin in the "Jerk"

    When playing alone I find it helpful to have a downbeat, especially when singing. What I do is play the downbeat as a muted ghost note, the up beat being a prominent chop. It's pretty easy to eliminate this when playing with others. Instead of boom chuck, it's clink chuck.

    Of course this is primarily a bluegrass thing. Other styles are different.
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    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Feel like Steve Martin in the "Jerk"

    If we were face to face, I'd try to get you started using the method MontanaMatt just eluded to, like this:

    1. Start with no mandolin. Tap a foot followed by a hand clap, followed by a foot tap, followed by a hand clap, on and on. Tap, clap, tap, clap, tap, clap. Do this and keep a steady rhythm doing it. Best of all worlds is to do this in time to another person, but you can also do it right by yourself, and/or with a metronome. It also helps to move your body a bit with the rhythm. Feel the beat. Finally, do it slow, do it faster, and do it faster. Do it at different speeds until you feel it and get smooth and good at it.

    2. Continue with no mandolin. Find a relatively slow Bluegrass song, but not a waltz. A straight time slower mandolin song, and tap, clap to the song. You would be clapping where the mandolin "chop" belongs.

    3. Now do #2 actually chopping on the mandolin, until you really get the feel of it.
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  14. #12
    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Feel like Steve Martin in the "Jerk"

    Not sure if this has already been brought up but... it helps to listen (watch on YouTube) to a bunch of BG music. Feel the rhythm- get the sound deep in your soul.

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    Default Re: Feel like Steve Martin in the "Jerk"

    You will get better with practice, playing with other folks, and focus. But, it does not come easy for newbies, so stay on it and focus.
    This tidbit of advice comes from someone that felt the need to register with the user name of "Chopchop" so you are not alone with the feeling of exasperation, but, it does get easier to land on the 2.

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