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Why 'boom chuck' on guitar

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GUEST,Les B. 12 Mar 04 - 02:01 PM
open mike 12 Mar 04 - 02:33 PM
Barbara Shaw 12 Mar 04 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,Les B. 12 Mar 04 - 03:14 PM
Midchuck 12 Mar 04 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,Les B. 12 Mar 04 - 03:19 PM
GUEST 12 Mar 04 - 03:20 PM
GUEST,Les B. 12 Mar 04 - 03:22 PM
Barbara Shaw 12 Mar 04 - 03:43 PM
s&r 12 Mar 04 - 04:53 PM
Mark Clark 12 Mar 04 - 05:31 PM
TheBigPinkLad 12 Mar 04 - 06:44 PM
Leadfingers 12 Mar 04 - 07:27 PM
GUEST,Russ 12 Mar 04 - 08:50 PM
Annie 12 Mar 04 - 10:07 PM
Les B 13 Mar 04 - 01:30 AM
Willie-O 13 Mar 04 - 05:50 AM
Annie 13 Mar 04 - 07:12 AM
Fortunato 13 Mar 04 - 07:37 AM
wysiwyg 13 Mar 04 - 07:48 AM
Grab 13 Mar 04 - 03:53 PM
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Subject: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar ?
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 02:01 PM

I went to a song circle last night, sort of bluegrass oriented, where we have a lot of beginners. I was trying to give some tips to a guy who can't decide between using a flat pick or a thumb pick on how to get the "boom chuck" rhythm - ie. bass note followed by a chord strum.

In discussing how, with thumb pick, he could use either a thumb bass note followed by an "up pluck" of the strings with the remaining fingers, or a "down scratch" with the index finger (Carter Family style). He asked "Why can't I play two notes in succession with the thumb (or the flat pick)instead of the pluck or scratch to get the boom chuck rhythm?"

I wasn't sure what to tell him. I thought it would be hard to separate the downbeat emphasis from the lighter offbeat that way, but am not sure. Also I replyed that you lose the harmony of the full chordal sound. But I'm not sure I convinced him.   What would be your response to this question, Mudcatters ??


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Subject: RE: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar
From: open mike
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 02:33 PM

my answer is to a different question---> why is is called boom chuck?
This is illiteration--i am so illiterate i may not know how to spell it but that is how it sounds...in fact that is what the word means, a word
that sounds out what it is describing...buzzzzzzzzz


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Subject: RE: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 02:41 PM

I in fact use a flat pick and two downstrokes for the boom-chuck, all done with the pick, not fingers. Sometimes there's an upstroke on one of the high strings after the chuck, making it more of a boom-chuck-a, boom-chuck-a. The first downstroke (boom)can be done on alternating bass notes on the lower strings, and sometimes there are bass runs of 2 notes on the lower strings replacing one set of boom-chucks. All are downstrokes except the little tag after the "chuck."

This is how I've always seen it done in bluegrass for rhythm guitar. No doubt there are different methods for other styles.


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Subject: RE: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 03:14 PM

Barbara - yes, the boom-chuck-a works, too, on slower songs/tunes. I know a fine bluegrass mandolin who is adamant that the guitar should go boom-chuck - he says the backstroke "a" throws off the lead player's rhythm, and doesn't give the true bluegrass sound.

I've found when trying to play with a hot banjo or mandolin player that I don't have time to get a backstroke in - it's just too fast!

The question the beginner was asking, however, is why not do two single notes instead of the bass and chord ?


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Subject: RE: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar
From: Midchuck
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 03:16 PM

Mother Maybelle her own self, as I understand it, used this pattern - Pluck a bass string with the thumb on 1; do nothing (or hammer on or pull off) on 2; down stroke across the treble strings with the index finger on 3; lighter up stroke across the treble strings, or just one or two of them, with the index finger on 4. I learned that way first, then went to doing the same pattern entirely with the flatpick. Do that and put in some bass runs, and you have bluegrass rhythm guitar...

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 03:19 PM

I meant to include above that the guy is trying to get to using a flat pick, but kept slipping back to using his fingers in sort of a "folkie" style from the 60's - very stummity strummity and not very much in time, except with himself.

I told him he should try a thumb pick first to get a solid thump on the downbeat "boom" and them use the fingers to get the "chuck" - then, once he has the timing down solid, proceed to do the same with a flat pick.


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Subject: RE: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 03:20 PM

He could ... nothing is really stopping him is there? It would have to uneven... a baboom-chuck (or what barbra does which sounds supsiciously like the bum-ditty of the clawhammer banjo stroke :)) instead of just boom boom chuck which would work for 3/4 time ... it could get messy when it goes fast though. Tell him to work on it. If it works it works, if it doesn't he'll figure out what does on his own.


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Subject: RE: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 03:22 PM

Midchuck - yes, I learned Mother Maybelle's style first, too. It's just dropping out that little backstroke that seems to be the difference between her style and bluegrass flatpick style.


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Subject: RE: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 03:43 PM

The question the beginner was asking, however, is why not do two single notes instead of the bass and chord ?

The two single notes would be more like a bass run, which can be very good accompaniment if done occasionally. It would not give enough fill for rhythm, however, if that is the intent. "Depends" is the best answer. If they're counting on him for rhythm guitar he'll need more than individual notes to fill that mid-range.

Single notes may also get lost if there's a bass.

He should try out his ideas and listen to how it sounds with other players.


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Subject: RE: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar
From: s&r
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 04:53 PM

onomatopaeia - alliteration is successive words with the same starting sound


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Subject: RE: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar
From: Mark Clark
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 05:31 PM

Novice bluegrass guitarists often make the mistake of thinking that the guitar should mimic the rhythmic feel of a complete band. This results in guitarists flailing away a the strings playing a bass note or notes followed by a loud chord. This practice is to be eschewed.

Mother Maybelle didn't play bluegrass so she isn't really a good model for this discussion. Lester Flatt played with a thumbpick and and a single finger pick so his rhythms had a brush component but very light; rather like boom—chuck. The chord portion of the lick is more implied than actually heard.

Bluegrass rhythm players using a flatpick play a strong bass note followed by a very light down and up stroke. Sort of a boom—chuck-a. The real female beat of the band comes from the mandolin and the banjo.

In any case the bass should be moving and not simply repeat two notes over and over. Good bluegrass rhythm is difficult to master. If it come easily for you, you probably don't have it yet. Listen to Charlie Waller of the Country Gentlemen or, even better, Bill Harrell.

Monroe was often heard to say “There's no back beat in my music.” Keeping this in mind will help those wanting to learn bluegrass rhythm guitar.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 06:44 PM

Alliteration also includes the same sounds in other parts of the word: Shared his wish to build a partial shoreline .


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Subject: RE: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar
From: Leadfingers
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 07:27 PM

When I started on Guitar it was Dum-Ching - A bass note followed by a chord. As stated above If you are The Rythm guitar Yiu Must play more than one note after the bass Other wise you aint playing a Rythm accompaniment..


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Subject: RE: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 08:50 PM

Les B,

Basically, you tell him he's supposed to do it that way because that's they way its done. (or something like that).

That's the way it's done because that's how Maybell or Lester or whoever did it.

The point you are trying to make is that that when he plays backup guitar it is no longer about him, or what he likes, or what he thinks is cool, or what he thinks sounds good.

It is about rhythm. Rock solid rhythm. It is not about being interesting, or pretty, or flashy.

It is about getting into a mindset where playing a song with three whole chords is a treat and playing a song with four is like Christmas (and comes about as often).

My experience with "folkie" guitarists is that it takes them a long to to "get it" about backup guitar. Some never do.


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Subject: RE: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar
From: Annie
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 10:07 PM

I recently heard 'dum chick', which of course I thought meant me but I got over it.....

The way I avoided always playing BU guitar was to learn to play fiddle so it could be about ME for a change......

BUT, with BU guitar I have learned with great difficulty not to leave them hanging without the 'chuck' while I go off into a 'boom boom boom boom' bass run.....sounds like the guitar player went home sometimes....you can notice people wondering what happened to the midrange while I'm over here having a good time.

Annie


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Subject: RE: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar
From: Les B
Date: 13 Mar 04 - 01:30 AM

Mark - you're absolutely right about the heavy boom and the light chuck, and not sounding like a whole band. I need to reinforce that with the guy.

Russ - Actually the guy does know that boom chuck is the standard - his comment was "I know that's the way it's normally done, but what would happen if you did two single notes?" - Unfortunately he's not that proficient yet in getting a good loud bass with either thumb or flat pick,so its going to be a while before he's able to hear the difference. The guy is quite bright, about 45 years old, and very earnest about learning. Just got some bad habits to overcome.

Annie - I hadn't heard the "dumb chick" aliteration. Since I play in a band with two pretty outspoken and modern women, I don't think I'll use that too often :) !!!


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Subject: RE: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar
From: Willie-O
Date: 13 Mar 04 - 05:50 AM

Practice, with the flatpick, doing the downstrokes only. PERIOD.   
Do that until that automatic upstroke that throws your time off and so aggravates the other players does not happen spontaneously, and then you're in control.

Get flexible with that flatpick and then you can sneak in fun stuff, once you have got the tempo thing down. If you try to improvise cleverness before you can count to four, even banjo players will look down on you.

I have realized from reading this thread that I am a bad person, but that's my cross to bear.

W-O
BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-BOOM-chick-a


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Subject: RE: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar
From: Annie
Date: 13 Mar 04 - 07:12 AM

After taking a closer look here's what I do:

Boom chuck a boom a chuck a.

That within the space of a regular boom chuck boom chuck. I start out with a boom chuck but quickly get fully wound into bcabaca. It keeps that pick moving for the next little flat pick lick which I love to throw in. Nobody has ever said 'don't do that'. But I'll talk to them about it. (I'm pretty sure they didn't come up with 'dum chic' over a beer talking about moi).

The biggest problem with rhythm I run into is losing the strength of the rhythm during those long bass runs which I dearly love. But, I have found if I hit the booms loud enough they still fill in to a degree. Let's face it, we're there to fill in.

It's so hard to unlearn something. I wouldn't call it a bad habit, but it gets so ingrained in your head and hands, that I understand why he would want to try and make the music fit his tendencies. I do the same thing. Fortunately I learned boom chuck from the get go. Maybe I love bright ringing guitars because a long clear chuck-a will buy me a little time to sneak in as many bass runs as I can.

Willie-O, do you think the 'a' is a bad thing if it stays on rhythm?


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Subject: RE: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar
From: Fortunato
Date: 13 Mar 04 - 07:37 AM

For a more advanced understanding, if you listen as Mark suggests to Charlie Waller of the Country Gentleman or Bill Harrell with Don Reno and elsewhere:

Count and pat your foot in order to 'feel' whether they are playing directly on top of the beat, or whether, for the purposes of the song, they have chosen to play ahead or behind the beat on the two and four (assuming 4/4 time).

The answer to your folkie player is, Les B., "It just don't work that way."

chance


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Subject: RE: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar
From: wysiwyg
Date: 13 Mar 04 - 07:48 AM

.... because if he does it that way he will sound like 90% of Johnny Cash's records, where that's the driving beat underlying the vocals.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Why 'boom chuck' on guitar
From: Grab
Date: 13 Mar 04 - 03:53 PM

A thought. Guitar strumming is not necessarily about the notes - it's as much percussion as anything else. Maybe think of it like a standard drum riff going "boom tick boom tick" alternating between bass drum and snare. A drummer can use just the bass drum for emphasis of a phrase (maybe in the turnaround or something), but otherwise there needs to be a basic rhythm which involves variation of tone. Think of it in that context, and other rhythmic ideas immediately come to mind (eg. "boom, tick, boom boom tick").

Graham.


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