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alexa3020

Mastering hit me with your rhythm stick

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With lockdown and generally having more time to practice, I have been trying to improve my speed and stamina (always a weak point for me), with the end goal of being able to play rhythm stick.

my practice technique is running through c major 2nd finger position across all 4 strings, one note at a time &16th notes.

I can do about a minute of this practice at 95bpm before I make an error. And I’m aiming to be able to do a minute before I up the tempo.

in terms of rhythm stick I can play the verse comfortably at 85bpm for around a minute. So I have a way to go, seems the song is 105bpm.

my question is am I doing the right things? And I wanted to get a feel from anyone that’s done something similar how long i can expect it to take to increase speed.

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The thing with RS isn't getting the speed and the notes right, it's the feel; the flow and phrasing of NWR's playing are superb. There's the risk in what you're doing that the end result, even if at speed and note perfect, might sound a little mechanical. Along with what you're doing, perhaps try playing along with short sections - perhaps 2-4 bars - of the track in real time, it won't improve your speed and stamina per se as well as the exercises you're using, it will however improve the musicality of the part. 

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Go to YouTube and click on settings (one of the buttons on the bottom right corner), then click on playback speed, then click on 0.75. That will slow the song down from stupid fast to just fast. Keep playing along until it becomes easy, then put the speed back to normal. 

How long will it take? That's up to you.

There were more than 10 takes when recording this and the story goes they sped it up after the track was laid down. Apparently even Norman Watt-Roy had trouble playing it after that.

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It's a tough one. It took me several months to go from being able to play the whole song slowly to get up to speed, practising several times a week for 30 mins or so. I used a metronome and gradually increased the tempo. Usually I tried to play the whole song, occasionally repeating specific sections that were particularly troublesome. When you play the song you get some respite from the 16th notes at the chorus.

Of course, the first time I played it live our drummer kicked it off even faster than the recording!

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Beedster, I take your point about the feel. My thoughts are that I need to be able to move my fingers fast enough to play at that speed before concentrating on the feel.

chris, I’ve done the 0.75 YouTube trick and it feels comfortable. Unfortunately there’s too much of a jump going to full speed which is why I am trying to build up to it. With a basic drum beat. Interesting that NWR struggled with it - makes me feel a bit better about my slow progress

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Pineweasel, sounds like you took a similar approach to me which is reassuring.

you’re right about respite on chorus, which is why I’m trying to make sure I can do a minute. Can you imagine trying to do 4 mins of 16th notes at that speed.

ha! thats drummers for you.

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I wouldn't get too hung up on trying to do a minute or more of 16's at 95 or 105 bpm. It's great practice but realistically you probably only need 30 seconds of constant 16's before there'll be an 8th note or rest to give you a breather. I'd agree with just playing the actual line at a tempo you're comfortable with and then gradually increase the bpm. It's a better way to get the feel for it. There's a program called Transcribe that enables you to slow down tracks by whatever amount you like and you can then play along and over time work your speed up by small increments. 

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If your fingers knot up after trying this bass line, fear not - you could very well be entitled to compensation for personal Ian Dury!😁

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it took me a good while to learn it, and if I don't play it regularly I need to practice it a lot to get it back up to scratch.

Economy of motion works for me, so the intro's are played at first position, and the verses all at 8th position.

As others have said, it's about nailing the groove, plus it helps to have a pretty great drummer to play with.

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I've just been learning this and the thing that stood out for me is how important it is to suss the best right hand plucking technique for the various bits, especially the little Jaco-esque phrase that starts on the FB. I've set up a similar drum loop and just gradually upped the tempo until I can do 104 BPM. Stated Friday and I'm just about there but not quite clean enough yet to be satisfied!

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