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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
this is going to sound very newbish and silly but i'm still learning guitar :ugh: so bare with me..

how do you match up the guitar with drum or backing tracks?.. the drummer is the metronome of the band right? so what do drummers usually use in their drum set to signal to the rest of the band the beat especially if they are playing really fast? hope this makes sense of what i'm trying to ask.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
no talking through out the whole song.. how does the guitar play a long to the drums? like how does the guitar player know where to fall in line with the drummer?
 

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NSLALP
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lol but what does the count usually on the drums? how do I know i'm counting the right thing?
This is a very complicated issue, really, although most people just snag onto the feel and go with it. It depends on the time signature - are you familiar?
 

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NICE BLACKMACHINE YO
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lol but what does the count usually on the drums? how do I know i'm counting the right thing?
You just learn to follow the groove of the drums. You can play to a metronome if you like, but it is much harder. Almost all drum patterns have an obvious rhythm to them that makes them easy to play along to. You get used to it after a while - you learn where the accents are and where the beat is. For example:

This the drum track for a shitty song I wrote. The intro is in 7/4, ignore that. :lol:

SoundClick artist: The Katyn Massacre - page with MP3 music downloads

And this is the song with my shitty guitar playing:

SoundClick artist: The Katyn Massacre - page with MP3 music downloads

Do you see how the parts line up together?
 

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should really be working.
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When you are playing along with a fast drum track and no other instruments, it can be harder to know where the beat is. If the drums are doing 8 bars of a fast blast beat or something you can get lost easily. If they are programmed drums you can set a metronome to play along with them. Just make sure the metronome has a different sound for the down beat to help you know where you are. In my little group we use an obnoxious cowbell sound.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
would a book about drumming help me understand it more? i think i get what you all saying follow the groove of the beat. So just match your riffs with the rhythm of the drums?
 

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NSLALP
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The rhythm of the guitar doesn't have to have anything at all to do with the rhythm of the drums, though they can of course work together to accent certain beats.

Are you asking, given a bass+drums backing track, how to write a riff that goes with it?
 

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NSLALP
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Ah. Well, then it kind of depends. If you could post one, that would be helpful.

In general, think about it this way: if it's a very standard "keeping time" sort of beat, you're very free to try lots of different rhythms of guitar riffs over it. If the beat has a lot more structure and business going on, you'll have to lock into it a bit more tightly, otherwise it'll sound like the instruments are arguing.

Generally speaking. :cool:

Really, your question is, "How do I write a good riff," and that's something that takes more than a book or forum post to answer. Try listening to similar drum beats in music that you like, and compare what the guitars are doing.
 

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I MG.org salute you.
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A great deal of popular music is written in 4/4 time. This means that the quarter note gets the beat (bottom number) and that there are 4 of them to each bar of music (top number). Also most drum beats will be repetitive in nature and there will be a particular instrument that repeatedly falls on one of the beats, usually a snare, kick or hi-hat. In fact hi-hats often hit on every beat so they are a better gauge of tempo than time signature, but this can help tell you how fast to count. Then you listen and "feel" out the repetitive cycle of the drums. If the beat is in 4/4 this should be relatively easy and "feel" quite normal.

As Soop said, beyond this it can be a bit difficult to explain in forum posts. Rhythm, tempo and time signatures are something that develops with experience but can certainly be learned to speed up the process. You might want to seek out some specific drum loops in various time signatures (they are usually labeled) and start counting and "feeling" out the rhythms. Be sure to start with 4/4 beats and get comfortable before moving on to more complex rhythms. :cool:

PS - Don't feel bad about not getting this as a newb. Even seasoned players can have a lot of difficulty figuring out the time signature of complex rhythms especially if there is only a drum track to go by.
 

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Its Nis Pe, bitch!
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For me anyways I usually follow the snare. That's usually where the downbeat falls and from there use the hi-hat to count beats. Depending on the time signature though this may or may not work for you as well, but it works well with pretty much anything in 4/4.
 

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I MG.org salute you.
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I didn't listen to the whole track but what I did is in 4/4 time. Each of the ways to count that you have outlined above would be legitimate for any piece in 4/4 time. The only difference is that you are counting in either quarter notes, eighth notes or sixteenth notes respectively. The whole numbers will still fall on the main beats (quarter notes) you just count twice as fast, or 4 times as fast when counting in eighths or sixteenths (hence the "&" or the "e & ah" to fill in the spaces between whole numbers). 8/8 and 16/16 are really the same as 4/4, which is the reason you don't see them written in standard notation.

Any of these methods of counting are legitimate for the Metallica piece you linked. It's up to you which method results in keeping proper time. Generally if the rhythm is simple the basic 4 count will likely work. As the rhythms get more complex you may find you have to count in sixteenths in order to "hit" on the notes that are needed. As you become more experienced and gain a feel for timing you may find you can just stick to the basic 4 count and "feel" the in between rhythms without actually having to count differently. It comes with experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
great! thanks so much for your help i think i understand it way more then i did before
 

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NSLALP
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lets use this metallica song for example how would you count to this?

Metallica - Blackened Free Guitar Backing Track

thanks for all the tips so far!

how would you know to count drums as 1 2 3 4 or 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & or 1 e & ah 2 e & ah 3 e & ah 4 e & ah?
Well, first of all, that song is in 7/4 time in the intro riff (not the ambient part) and then if memory serves a mix of 6/4 and 4/4 through the rest of the song. You didn't pick out the easiest example. :lol:

To address your question and add on to what Mike said, 1 2 3 4 vs. 1+ 2+ 3+ 4+ vs. 1e+a 2e+a 3e+a 4e+a is a simple matter of subdivision. You can split up time as finely as you want, but consider subdivision as a tool - you should only split time as finely as you need in order to describe a riff. Just like if you were trying to describe to somebody that you had 4 apples, you wouldn't say that you had 4.000 apples unless you needed to convey that, in fact, you were not short or in excess of any "thousandths" of apples. 4 will suffice.

So to count out the intro guitar riff, since it's in 7/4 (you'll bang your head 7 times as the riff goes around, try it out):

|| 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + || 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 +a 7 + ||
 

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Dream Crusher
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I find it easier to count 7/4 as one group of 3 + one group of 4, although that changes depending on the song. Some are easiest as || 1 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 3 ||
 
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