Upcoming Workshop #9!
Skip, Stop, and Alternate (June 20)
The idea that “less is more” has been a reoccurring theme, if not at the foundation, of all of the previous eight workshops. In this month’s workshop, we’ll approach that on a very practical level and look at how we can adjust our basic right-hand clawhammer technique to allow us to add rests and space to our music. By doing this, we open up some melodic and rhythmic possibilities that aren’t possible otherwise and potentially make our music more engaging.
With our three basic clawhammer techniques (basic strum, double-thumb, drop-thumb), we are quite limited rhythmically. You might say we have two rhythms – “boom-chuck-a” (1-rest-3-4) or “chat-ta-noo-ga” (1-2-3-4). We can put those two rhythms together in different orders and create some different combinations, but beyond that we don’t have any other options. It’s not until you start taking notes out of those basic patterns that you start having some freedom to go in some different rhythmic directions.
One of the challenges of doing this is that clawhammer technique relies heavily on having a certain amount of physical momentum in your right hand (and arm). If you break that momentum (to rest), it can be hard to get back into it without losing some rhythm and groove.
The first thing we’ll look at in this workshop are the mechanics of how to rest (aka “skip beat”, “rest stroke”) without losing the groove. There’s a trick to it, and I’ll show you what it is. In demonstrating this, I’ll show you a simple rest pattern that you can incorporate into absolutely any tune that you play.
Once we know how to take notes (beats) out of our technique, I’ll show you how that opens up a world of alternate rhythms, syncopations, and melodic phrasing options. We’ll see how you can apply that to your backup playing as well as your tune playing.
- How rests can help you play at faster tempos
- How rests can be applied to the roll patterns we learned in the “rolls” workshop
- How they may be the missing link in clawhammer “waltz-time”
- How adding space can take your song accompaniment to the next level
As usual, I won’t claim to be able to give you the whole story here, but I can show you what I know and how I apply it to my own playing.
Note – If you took the workshop “variations” there will be a small amount of overlap. I touched on some of this at the end of that workshop, but not in much detail. This will be a much more thorough look at the subject.
If you sign up for this workshop
on Monday, June 7, I’ll send you some homework to look at before the workshop. This will just be a simple tune to learn, a couple of right-hand rolls, and a few chords I want you to be familiar with.
The workshop will take place on Zoom at 2 pm (Eastern Time) on June 20. On the Friday before, I will send you an invite to join the Zoom meeting and instructions on how to do so.
A word about level
I would say the beginning of this workshop will be accessible for any intermediate player (even beginner-intermediate). It will then move to some more advanced territory as we move along. Because these workshops are recorded and because I give a robust written overview (including tablature) of the subject, you will have what you need to back over everything in your own time. In this way, I don’t think that level is as much of an issue one way or the other.
HOW TO PURCHASE AND PARTICIPATE IN PAST WORKSHOPS
You don't have to take these workshops live. They are archived for you to purchase and participate in any old time! You get access to a video of the entire workshop as well as all support material provided. There's even a blog for you to ask questions. Click on the links below to read detailed descriptions and, if you wish, purchase the workshops.