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A lot of these white boys play the blues real good. Ain't but one thing about most of them though: most can't sing a thing - David Honeyboy Edwards, from his bio

Author Topic: Classic Rhythm Accompaniment -- A DYING ART?  (Read 5821 times)

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Offline waxwing

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Re: Classic Rhythm Accompaniment -- A DYING ART?
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2006, 05:51:47 PM »
Had to read back the thread to see what you were trying to get at. I was thinking, "What washboard, that's a tamborine."-G-

Well it is definitely being played in a horizontal position, given the quick decay of the jangles. I had pretty good results hitting my left thigh with a skinless tamb while sitting and bringing my other hand over top to accentuate the eighth notes. So I'm holding the tambo in my right hand and banging it up and down between my left thigh and left hand, going to double time essentially with the guitar. I seem to be Hitting my thigh on the beats and hand on the "ands", except when I go to the double time, which starts on the "and" of 1.  The rythm sounds like:

One - and - a - two - ee - and - three - and - four - and -

If this isn't clear I could post an mp3, but I'm not really set up to record right now and I'm in the midst of several other projects.

All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

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Offline Dr. G

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Re: Classic Rhythm Accompaniment -- A DYING ART?
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2006, 08:57:05 PM »
Thanks, John

I think I get the picture -- you've described it very well. I don't have my tambourine at home tonight, but I'll give it a shot in the morning.

I'm still wondering where those occasional, accentuating "tocs" on the offbeat are coming from. Anyone have an inspiration on this mystery (to me, anyway)? I don't see how Uaroy could be playing them on his tambourine OR Roosevelt on his guitar....

Dr. G

Offline waxwing

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Re: Classic Rhythm Accompaniment -- A DYING ART?
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2006, 09:26:32 PM »
Foot stomps? Does sound more like a guitar body than a tamborine, or a wood block, but Roosevelt is picking pretty fancy when they happen. All the skinned tamborines we had around (my partner, Gre, is an Orff music teacher) sounded too drummy so I figured Uaroy's had to be without.

All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Offline Dr. G

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Re: Classic Rhythm Accompaniment -- A DYING ART?
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2006, 08:16:33 AM »
Hmmm. Good thought.

Dr. G

Offline Richard

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Re: Classic Rhythm Accompaniment -- A DYING ART?
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2006, 08:26:49 AM »
Post 4 of 4

Final two examples... very jazzy  >:D you have been warned, but it's where it's all at!!!! 

Example 7- is for Dr G !!!   The authentic New Orleans stuff, the record is very worn, c1952. Note that I have left the tranistion between the two numbers to show how it was done.. the little toot is to tell the band what key it's in!
 
Example 8- I'm afraid it's me!!The tune High Society, is heavily snare orientated, I was lucky enough to play in this great recreation 20s Henderson\Ellington type big band for a few years, it's live and late on a 3 hour gig so it comes warts and all!!



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Offline Richard

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Re: Classic Rhythm Accompaniment -- A DYING ART?
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2006, 08:27:37 AM »
Post 3 of 3

Examples as above
3    Time on snare
3a   Wash demo time NEW UPDATED FILE ON NEW POST DATED 8 OCT
3b   WashBoard Sam - I been treated wrong
c     Floyd Casey- High Society - who said you can't do a march on washboard!

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Offline Richard

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Re: Classic Rhythm Accompaniment -- A DYING ART?
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2006, 08:36:01 AM »
Post 2 of 3

Eamples as above

2   Slow snare
2a  Slow washboard
2b  Floyd Casey - Mama stayed out all night ( I think hahha!)
2c  Washboard Sam - Lovers Lane Blues

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Offline Richard

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Re: Classic Rhythm Accompaniment -- A DYING ART?
« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2006, 08:46:36 AM »
Post 1 of 4

Example 1c  Washboard sam... Shake Dance Mama

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Offline Richard

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Re: Classic Rhythm Accompaniment -- A DYING ART?
« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2006, 08:49:33 AM »
Washboards... where to start!

First, I know we are a country blues site site, but washboard playing is so closely tied to the early jazz drumming that escape is not an option! This magnum opus started as as an earlier post in this thread expressed suprise that washboard playing was linked to drumming - we then meandered off on a tangent into a liking of NewOrleans and in a rash moment I said I would find an example or two..  which has in turn led to this mammoth post! But as promised, here it is - as usual, these are only my views etc etc and pigs can fly, splat..damn! Read on...

This could easily turn into a thesis, but I have tried to keep it contained and have attached some examples of both drum and washboard to try to make the various points clear - it's not mandatory to listen to the jazz\drum stuff but it might help you see where I am coming from!

Now, unlike the bass player whose life revolves around the 'on-beat' ie beats 1 and 3 in 4/4 time, the drummer's (washboard-ist's) life revolves around the 'off-beat' (or "back-beat" in the US?) being beats 2 and 4 - usually, if the drummer and the bass player don't get on musically then the rhythm section will swing like a lead ballon! If you have ever played in a band and the drummer has 'gone onto the on-beat' by mistake you will realise how important the off-beat is - a good example is when the audience (if you are lucky enough to have one !) decides to join in and clap... eek.... half will clap on 1 and 3 and the other two-thirds on 2 and 4 which will shred any chance the number ever had of remotely swinging.

So, just like playing an alternating bass on the guitar, the first thing you have to do is train yourself to get that 2 and 4 every time without thinking about it.

Now, none of what follows is set in stone and every drummer will play in his own way. But, as guide these are the (very) basics of New Orleans snare work which run (sort of) parallel with the washboard and remember what you can do on a snare drum you can just about do on washboard, except the long roll.

The basic (or at least, a safe generic) type of New Orleans snare drum beat is simply 4 beats with one hand and a press or crush roll on beats 2 and 4 with the other. Now, I have no desire to bore you to death with all the drum stuff, so I have recorded a few very short examples of this type of drumming to give the basic idea, which you can then compare to the equivalent washboard examples.

Another example shows that for slower numbers, the basic idea is to roll between beats 2 to 3 and then 4 to1 or on very slow stuff roll all the way through from 2 to 4 and that small fills, say a triplet or the odd quaver can be incoporated to give it a joined up feeling - there's a track by Washboard Sam to illustrate this. Now, since long rolls are more than difficult (ha ha) on the washboard you will have to be inventive and cobble up something to give it that joined up effect (that's bit like my guitar playing really!) and there are two examples, one of Floyd Casey playing without 'rolls' and another of Washboard Sam combining rolls and beats into rhythmic patterns.

So far so good, and I have take things a step further by playing first a drum and then a washboard with some nasty nylon brushes, to illustrate the rhythm that jazz folks just call  "time", there are other examples as well.

Whats next, dunno really! Although maybe I should add that you will really have to "listen" to the tracks of say Washboard Sam to find out what he doing.

I think the next part is up to you as we are heading down the road towards the world of "traps" ie cowbells, blocks and all that stuff. Beware of the minefield on your way there, as playing all those add-on goodies, without losing youyr place and sounding as though you are simply thrashing away without a musical clue, is down to listening and practice.... always remember that where effects are concerned, less is more!

With that in mind I have picked the Washboard Sam, Floyd Casey tracks because they were not a "flashy" players and did not use anything much, other than the washboard itself - in fact an awful lot of washboard playing is based on playing a solid rhythm which simply swings. I heartily recommend any budding players to do their "time" (bit of joke there, haha) first and only when they can lay down a really solid rhythm do they start adding toys which may otherwise distract  from keeping that rhythm - the moral of this is based on experience, have you ever taken a break on a fast tune, used every toy in the shop and then rejoined the band, in panic thinking where the **** is the off beat... eek!!!! Don't get me wrong, I love Spike Jones and his City Slickers but in moderation!!

In the following examples I have used nasty nylon brushes on the washboard as I can't find any thimbles and it's been years since I last played one properly anyway!

The examples, I make no excuses that the last 2 tracks are out and out jazz based - well, you don't have to listen to them. Although, the last track, as the strange English saying goes, proves that I have put my money where my mouth is!

1.   Snare basics, solid 4, accented off-beats2 and 4, the New Orleans beats
1a.   Dreadful washboard demo of above beats!
1b.   Jazz Gillum
1c.   Washboard Sam

2.   Snare, slow numbers   
2a   Dreadful washboard demo of slow beats!
2b   Floyd Casey
2c   Washboard Sam

3.   Playing "time" on snare
3a.   Dreadful washboard demo of "time"
3b.   Washboard Sam
3c   Floyd Casey

4.   The Tuxedo Brass Band - New Orleans c1952
8.   The Bootblacks !

I have had to split the various mp3 examples onto several posts to get all this on the original post and it's driven me nuts... so I hope it all works.. I can't bear to look   >:D !!

Keep going it's all here somewhere!!

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Offline dj

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Re: Classic Rhythm Accompaniment -- A DYING ART?
« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2006, 09:29:21 AM »
Wow, Richard, what a great set of posts.  You've shed some light on an area that I'd known nothing about.

One question:  On example 3a, what are your hands doing?  I'm imagining that the long strokes on the 1 and 3 are downstrokes with your left hand, right?  Then are quick strokes on 2 and 4 two downstrokes with your right hand, or a down/up, or am I going completely off in the wrong direction? 

Offline Pan

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Re: Classic Rhythm Accompaniment -- A DYING ART?
« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2006, 11:41:11 AM »
Thanks Richard!

I think I'm going to listen to the washboard tracks with a little more educated ear from now on  :).

Cheers

Pan

Offline Richard

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Re: Classic Rhythm Accompaniment -- A DYING ART?
« Reply #26 on: October 05, 2006, 12:36:45 PM »
dj.. ah, I see what you mean it's not quite clear is it! My problem in doing it was that after a while I couldn't see the wood for the trees  ;D

Since this is one of the more important examples I think I will quickly re-do that bit and post a new bit  - would it help if I were to do the hands seperately and then put it together?

Is there anything else you want me to record\explain (well try to) while I'm at it?
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Offline dj

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Re: Classic Rhythm Accompaniment -- A DYING ART?
« Reply #27 on: October 05, 2006, 02:19:04 PM »
Richard, it would be great for a total rhythm neophyte like me if you'd do the hands separately (and describe what you're doing), then put them together.
   

Offline Dr. G

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Re: Classic Rhythm Accompaniment -- A DYING ART?
« Reply #28 on: October 07, 2006, 05:56:50 AM »
Good Lord, Richard!

What a labor of love! Just got back to Weenie C. after a couple of days away, and you have totally blown my doors in with your magnum opus on rhythm accompaniment! Your written and mp3 expositions and examples are fabulous. I cannot wait to share with my washboard player (already played a few of your examples over the phone to her this A.M.!) and my brother the drummer. I can already hear (and taste) a much higher quality, more varied, rhythm accompaniment coming my way at future gigs and jam sessions! Is there anything I can do (back) for you? Peel you a grape? WOW!!!!!

With enormous appreciation and gratitude,

Dr. G

Offline Richard

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Re: Classic Rhythm Accompaniment -- A DYING ART?
« Reply #29 on: October 08, 2006, 12:27:44 PM »
:) :) :) This is the new audio example 3A that goes with post 3 :) :) :)

Sorry if the audio quality is down but it's due to transferring the file size to the forum limitations.Also, due to technical and file considerations totally beyond my brain  ::) I cannot attach it to the appropriate post so you will have to listen to it here..............

Can I suggest if you are reading this post for the first time you scroll down and read all the other parts in sequence before plalying this mp3 :)

Dr G...  I hope you are a happy bunny as I blame you for starting all this  ;) it has, in fainess made me think and listen a bit more closely as well. Oh, and I see you have spelt labour wrongly tut, tut  ;)

Any questions please do ask  :-X


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« Last Edit: October 08, 2006, 12:28:56 PM by Richard »
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