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Learning Articulation

Letting Go

In the last lesson you finished by playing back beats on 2 and 4. This was done so you could have the metronome and band to confidently count the beat and play in the right spot. Now we will remove one of those backbeats in order to focus on another crucial element of the chop: Articulation.

Articulation is so important in the chop. A long ringing chord that is perfectly timed and placed on the backbeat just won’t have the same percussive effect as one that is played with a confident staccato articulation. For the first few measures you’ll play the chord on beat one hold for the second click, then release in time with beat three. Later, the chord is played on a downbeat, the rest of the chord is played on the backbeat of two. We articulate this by slightly releasing fret hand finger pressure, in time, on beat three. The fingers staying contact with the strings, but release them from touching the wood and fret. This deadens the noise, stopping the chord from ringing out. It is important that you do this in sync with the metronome to gain control. Loop one chord at a time, then start playing them together, looping the 4 measure exercise. As soon as you are comfortable start increasing the tempo, but continue to release finger pressure in time with the metronome.

The next exercise will have us playing between the beats, so the chords will be twice as fast. You can always slow down the metronome, but it would be good to start working on faster tempos as you feel comfortable for this exercise.

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