Walkdown patterns, substitution, and rhythm changes.

Walkdown patterns, substitution, and rhythm changes.

Well, I’m finally starting to decide to stick with doing guitar backup stuff, just because I love it so much.

I play in standard tuning like most people, but if I absolutely had to, I could probably start doing drop-d or dadgad, but for now I’m working with standard.

Well, first, I’m trying to figure out what chords to use to do that walk-down pattern that guitarists will do with the bass and everything. From what I’ve seen and heard, I’m assuming to do it more effectively in D, it would be better to use drop d, but how would I do this at least to some degree in standard, or maybe in E?

Then, I’ve gotten into doing a lot of chord substitution stuff (probably too much), though nothing too complicated, mainly just relative minor chords as they fit. I’m just wondering, how often would be too much for this kind of thing? And any tips on chords to try and substitute in place of chords, other than just Bm for D, C for Em, Am for C, et cetera?

Last, the rhythm stuff.
What are some suggestions, or examples of good rhythms to go for instead of sticking to the basic kinds in each and every tune. Most of what I’ll do is fairly simple changes, with some syncopation and stuff in there. I think jigs are one that I would need work with there more-so. I’ve got the DUD DUD thing going, but I hate just sticking to that throughout the whole thing.

So…. once you’re done with this long speech of a question, all the tips would be welcome.

Thanks, and God bless,
Joseph

Re: Walkdown patterns, substitution, and rhythm changes.

Try not to sound like you are trying to prove something with your playing.

Play stuff that sounds good.

Woohoo!

Re: Walkdown patterns, substitution, and rhythm changes.

For rhythim, listen to the late Bo Diddley. Play the rhythms that Bo Diddley would play. He was truly the greatest of the reel players.

For the substitutions, keep in mind that with Irish music, the approach is more scalar than progression-oriented.

For example, with an A minor tune that goes back and forth between A min and G major, a lot of guitar players will throw in the Fmaj7th as the sub for the A minor…

but then they stop there. But you COULD go… Amin - G - Fmaj7 (subbing for the Amin), E minor (Subbing for the G again) and doing a crescendo on the D major chord to finish the idea. Then back to the regular progression.

You’ve just extended the idea that led you to sub in the Fmaj7 for the Amin, except you’ve walked down the scale.

You can also experiment with relative minor turnarounds as substitutions for four beats on the tonic major chord…it’s easier for me to do it with reels, for some reason. Jigs I screw up half the time. But here goes:

In the key of G major, instead of closing out the last two bars with a straight G, sub in either Em - Bm - C - Dsus or some variant.

You can also do that at the beginning of the section… vi-iii-IV-V, or I-iii-IV-V, or I-iii-ii-V.

My point isn’t so much that you can use these substitutions…but that you can sub in PROGRESSIONS. Using them in combination, so that as each substitution goes further and further afield (e.g., winding up on D in that Am tune).

For more ideas, I’d take a look at some of the better jazz fake books. Some of them will have alternative progressions written in red ink above the standard changes. You will get lots of ideas from there, too.

Good luck!

Re: Walkdown patterns, substitution, and rhythm changes.

That said, I should point out that once you’ve mastered those ideas, then the acme of skill is to hardly ever use them!

Re: Walkdown patterns, substitution, and rhythm changes.

you were asking about rhythm in jigs?well your job is to keep the rhythm steady,keep it simple,youare arhythm instrument byour job is to support ,and hopefully lift the melody instruments.
many guitarists mess jigs up,and quite frankly,we would be better off without them.
Anne Conroy Burke,is worth studying, very simple but perfect accompanist.
for jigs hit bass on first and fourth beats[where you tap your foot] on the third and sixth beats hit a treble string for one quaver.
remember to make bass notes twice as long as treble notes then: you will get the humpty dumpty pulse /rhythym needed for jigs.
as far as I am concerned if a guitarist is just filling in the sound, playing on the off beat,he is a waste of time,and I wont engage him to play again,[IMO]The job of the rhythm guitarist,is just that,know the chords listen to the musicans,and LIFT the music.Filling in the sound playing on the off beats can be pleasant but it doesnt give much lift,well thats my experience.,others will undoubtedly disagree.DickMiles

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Re: Walkdown patterns, substitution, and rhythm changes.

jwvansteenwyk, full credit too. All the way through your first post I was cringing thinking, flippin heck I hope they only ever do that stuff once in a blue moon.

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Re: Walkdown patterns, substitution, and rhythm changes.

"remember to make bass notes twice as long as treble notes then: you will get the humpty dumpty pulse /rhythym needed for jigs."

I disagree on that one. The humpty dumpty pulse thing is a slide not a jig. I hear jigs with even triplets

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Re: Walkdown patterns, substitution, and rhythm changes.

I think he meant humpity dumpity

Re: Walkdown patterns, substitution, and rhythm changes.

If he did mean humpity dumpity, I take it all back.

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Re: Walkdown patterns, substitution, and rhythm changes.

Learn the melodies and hum them to yourself as you backup; that will help guide your strumming patterns. I vary mine through a tune depending on my mood and what the melody is doing. I also substitute occaissionally (sp) F for Am, etc.

As for walkdowns, in the key of G, I sometimes throw in G, Bm, Em, G, C, Bm, Am, D and G, Bm, Em, G, C, Bm, Am, G. Same as the walkdown, but chords instead. You can transpose them to the key of D as well. I do it for variety.

I’m no expert, and I’ve only been playing Irish/Celtic music for a year and a half, but it is a great tradition with many nice ways to backup on guitar. I have not tackled alternative tunings yet, but I find that DADGAD gets repetitious for my ear, seems I hears the same base runs all the time. While I play with DADGAD players and hear the appeal of it, I am still exploring what I can do with standard tuning.

I play a 12 string and start many tunes playing the melody and then switching to chords. I like the sound of playing along with the melody players and then kicking in with chords.

Re: Walkdown patterns, substitution, and rhythm changes.

Sounds like you are doing the right things.
Walking down from a D on the middle D string is nice, you don’t need to walk all the way down, since you don’t have that low D available in standard tuning.
One thing you didn’t mention is droning certain notes, like keeping your finger on the third fret of the B string throughout a D tune, which takes the third out of the G chords, and puts a D into the A chords (I think that is a sus4 or something, kind of a James Taylor kind of sound). The A chord that has your three fingers one three consecutive frets in the middle of the neck slides nicely down two frets to make a G chord over the droning A string (damp top and bottom strings), and the same shape slides up the neck for a D chord, which works nice on A mix tunes like the High Reel. And there is a nice open E shape up the neck, with low E, high B and high E droning, that slides down two frets for a D chord, and another two frets for a C chord, works well on E minor tunes. Lots of options like that in standard tuning.
I am not good at explaining some of the things I do, as I am self taught on guitar, but hopefully some of what I said makes sense and is helpful.
Don’t complain about being able to do DUD DUD on jigs, it took me a long time to get that down smoothly instead of the dum dee dum dee single jig feel I used to use on jigs, which is nice for an effect on occasion, but doesn’t help the lift when used all the time.

Re: Walkdown patterns, substitution, and rhythm changes.

llig ,you hear jigs with even triplets?
I dont,I hear them with an accent on the first and to a lesser extent fourth beat.
how does the guitarist acheive this pulse,not by playing all the notes evenly,but by stressing with down picks or thumb downwards the first and fourth beats[where one taps ones foot].personally find this most effective by hittin
bass strings on beats 1 and 4,a few bass runs thrown in for variety help as well.
starting point for this is the pentatonic scale,notes 1 3 5 of the chord plus notes 2 and 6 as passing notes.
chord substitution,first place to look might be dominant 7,this can be substituted by aminor chord based on the fifth note of the dom seventh,g7,could be substituted by d minor,alternatively g11can be used .
how it works depends upon the melody note,you have to use your ears to see whether it works or not.
alternatively try different inversions of the same chord,this iswhere open tunings are so useful,in dadgad for example,youcan make a dmodal chord dadadd,or dadddd.
Dick Miles

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Re: Walkdown patterns, substitution, and rhythm changes.

llig.I quote from Matt Cranitch fiddle tutor.
jigs ,the first quaverin each group of three,is given a very slight stress and lengthened a little whereas the second is shortened.in fact if all the quavers were played exactly alike both in duration and emphasis the the tunecould scarcely be called a jig.For this reason when reading music,youshould notconsiderthe note values given as being exact,but more an indicationof the melody line which needs to be interpreted as ajig reel etc.Of course people who learn and play by ear,dont have any such difficulty
.your statement that you hear jigs as even triplets,is staggering coming from an ear player.
here is another quotethis time from GeoffBowen,[how to play folk fiddle
]inequality gives a lilting uneven triplet rhythym to areel or hornpipeand can be used to put bounce or drive into a jig.
to the original poster ,learning different inversions to chords is a good idea,for example there is another easy D major chord top string 5 fret,second string 7 fret, thirdstring 7 fret.
a7 shape two fingered one, on second string second fret,fourth string second fret,slide it up to fifth fret,you have avery good substitute for an a7 chord,slide it up to seventh fretand you have another chord which occassionally works as an a7 substitute.these latter two are very useful when youare usingthe new d major chord 5 7 7.
the c7 shape slid up two frets gives you d7 plus9,often useful instead of d7[its across between an aminor chord and a d7]when goingto gmajor nice jazzy sound.Dick Miles

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Re: Walkdown patterns, substitution, and rhythm changes.

My idea of a "don’t p*ss anyone off " chord scale in the key of D descending would be :

D A/C# Bm ( or G/B) A ( or D /A ) G D/F# Em (or A / E) D

of course the placement of these chords is a consequence of the melody.

I would use III minor pretty rarely as it sounds pretty schmaltsy
to my ears and rarely lines up with the melody in a major key.
Instead I think 1st inversions of the key chord are better in Irish music as seen above in the D/F#. Of course I would try
to "air " the thing with little open strings wherever and/ or adding 9th’s into the middle of the chords. Confused? I certainly am!

Re: Walkdown patterns, substitution, and rhythm changes.

If you really want to understand walkdowns rhythm changes , maybe a bit of syncopation, etc. try studying the great piano accompanists. Charlie Lennon, Felix Dolan, for example. And yes you can apply it to guitar quite easily. You would do the walkdown or walkup with a few notes, not a chord, then hit the chord. This can be done with fingers or flatick or crosspick, any method. I prefer dropped D but standard can work, in either tuning you just need to know where the notes live on the fingerboard and the right strings to hit.

if you also study the melody and the structures of the tunes it will make way more sense, and it’s very nice when you are hitting some of the melody line as a walk up or down and then using the chord as a stress note. Get a good slowdowner program and some CDs with prominent piano and really listen. Learn some tunes and practice on them and the rest become a lot easier. it’s confusing at first, but will make sense if you give it a chance. It may sound strange about listening to piano, but I will say it til blue in the face because it works really well once you get it. You are so much more with the melody and the melody player.