Originally Posted by LiveSimply
I first started guitar by purchasing a classical method book and learning to read standard notation on a classical guitar. This entailed learning the exercises and songs by "counting out the rhythm". So, for example, two quarter notes would be counted as "1- 2", each number coming on top of the beat. Four eighth notes would be counted as "one-and-two-and", etc...
In learning new tunes on the electric, I tend to revert to this way of learning a new song. I purchase the standard notation/tab songs and kind of work my way through it by "counting it out". I supplement that by also hearing the tune and trying to play along, but the basis of most of my practice is "counting it out".
I recently took a couple of lessons with an instructor who primarily focuses in teaching the blues. He told me that in all the years teaching he has never had a guy learn the blues tunes in that manner.
He basically said forget the notation, put on the CD and cop what I hearing.
I sort of find that being able to work out the rhythm without necessarily having to hear the song is helpful.
Any of you guys do this as well, or do you guys strictly get the tab, hear the song and figure out the rhythm by ear?
This more or less echoes what Hal Galper says here about jazz time:
Blues is, of course, a close cousin of jazz, and the rhythmic feel is very similar.
Rock - like jazz - also uses a lot of syncopation, which means accents off the beat, usually an 8th note early. Rock riffs typically mix notes on the beat with notes off, and create rhythmic patterns that you should be able to feel, and not have to count. In this sense it's intimately related to jazz, the main difference being that rock generally doesn't swing, while jazz (and blues) generally does.
, of course, to count jazz, blues or rock in quarter-note time. You can easily plot (and notate) the rhythms in relation to a quarter-note pulse. And you should be aware
of the pulse, you should feel that as the "ground" against which the music itself is played - sometimes in sync with it, sometimes not.
But actual verbal counting (I find) is distractng and confusing. It's like it's using the wrong part of your brain, getting in the way of "feel".
Personally I never count time, I always feel it. The only time I count is if I'm listening to a tune I haven't heard before in an irregular metre - something like 7/8, 11/8, or whatever. I have to count to be sure what it is. (But that's because I'm not practiset at feeling
those time sigs...)
Other times I might count is when a line in a tune has an odd number of bars, or maybe a short bar - IOW, again, something irregular
Ie, this all means that I can feel 4/4 time (and other simple regular metres) because I've heard them all my life: they sound "natural". (To East European folk musicians and dancers, metres like 15/8 feel natural for the same reason: they've grown up with them.)
So I can see your problem, in that you like to establish the 1-2-3-4 ground first, so you can then see how the music fits within it (which notes are on the "and"s). But as soon as possible you need to get out of that - forget the 1-2-3-4 and just feel how the note timings relate to each other.
It's also the case that jazz and blues swing feel can't be accurately notated. Swing (and blues shuffle) is normally written as straight 8ths, so if you feel it like that you'll definitely sound wrong!