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Post new topic Sol Hoopi "I like you" How to rhythm strum behind vocals.
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Author Topic:  Sol Hoopi "I like you" How to rhythm strum behind vocals.
Paul Seager


From:
Augsburg, Germany
Post  Posted 5 Aug 2020 10:45 am    
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Hi I'm playing this song in a band and although I'm happy figuring out the intro, I'm not sure how to play a swing rhythm with an acoustic lap steel (not a resonator). It may help to mention I'm singing as well.

For reference I'm tuned open G with D bass so Lo>Hi: D G D G B D. I also use plastic picks. How does one strum?

The string tension is high so a thumb strum with palm mute sounds hard when hitting an F chord at the 10th fret. If I hit the bass strings with my thumb and kind of rake the top strings with my fingers, it sounds equally hard.

Any idea how the great man or his peers handled strums?

\paul
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Scott Thomas

 

Post  Posted 5 Aug 2020 12:13 pm    
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I don't have an answer but I'm curious. If this is a band, why are you as the lead instrument required to play the swing chords better played by the rhythm guitarist? Are you just wishing to add, or are you responsible for rhythm as well in this case?

Sol and the the other "hot bands" of the era had swinging guitarists playing the chop chords.
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Paul Seager


From:
Augsburg, Germany
Post  Posted 5 Aug 2020 12:44 pm    
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Four piece band, four part vocals and three instruments being bass , guitar or uke and me. Just one soloist is honestly boring for an audience so me and the guitarist trade 8s or 16s. The bassist is no slouch either so at some point I have to take the harmony role.

\paul
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post  Posted 5 Aug 2020 3:28 pm    
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Likewise don't have the right answer either...I think if it were me I'd be happy laying out, especially with a guitar, uke, and bass laying down rhythm. When each of them takes a solo, there still would be two other instruments pulsing the swing rhythm. I just can't imagine trying to play the choppy swing chord rhythm on steel...too much sustain. Comping and fills maybe, or just sort of lightly adding the chordal harmony (but letting the beat and rhythm get handled by whichever of the two rhythm players aren't soloing). YMMV but it sounds like a fun project, I love that song!
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 5 Aug 2020 4:27 pm    
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I wouldn’t strum unmuted strings. Too loud, too buzzy. Palm mute near the bridge and finger pick 3 or 4 note chords on the back beats. If you can’t hear the lead player, palm mute a little harder or pick a little lighter.

You can also just hit the strings with the bar, not even picking them. Doesn’t work in the open position, of course. Be careful to mute behind the bar. I saw somebody do this muting with the bar hand and using the bar in the pick hand.

Another thing I learned from watching Chris Scruggs. It works only if you have your strings raised up like a dobro. You can hold the bar up away from the strings and use your index finger to play muted straight bar chords. You have to press down pretty hard to get something other than a percussive slapping sound, but not so much that strings are actually fretted - that would hurt... Anyway, strumming away like that, down stroking with thumb and up stroking with index or middle, sounds remotely uke-ish and definitely adds some pop to the back beats.
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post  Posted 5 Aug 2020 5:08 pm    
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The ideal solution would be to use Sol Hoopii’s tuning E C# G# E B E. I used this and essentially played rhythm guitar with the Moonlighters when I wasn’t playing steel licks. It was great fun. I also did Travis picking stuff too.
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Paul Seager


From:
Augsburg, Germany
Post  Posted 6 Aug 2020 12:24 am    
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Nic Neufeld wrote:
...I think if it were me I'd be happy laying out, especially with a guitar, uke, and bass laying down rhythm. ...

Just to correct Nic, that would be guitar OR uke. There are only three of us playing instruments. Hence the need to support the bass with the rhythmn.

Mike Neer wrote:
The ideal solution would be to use Sol Hoopii’s tuning E C# G# E B E. I used this and essentially played rhythm guitar with the Moonlighters

I'm glad you responded Mike because I woke up today with a vague recollection of seeing you in a video many years ago playing this kind of music. Now I know where to look!

The main reason to bring in the acoustic instrument is to give the project some authenticity and I've had 2nd thoughts about this several times! Basically will anyone in southern Germany know or care? Probably not so just play it on an 8-string A6-tuned electric you know well and where voicings are easier to grab. I did look up Sol's tunings in Andy Volk's "Lap Steel Guitar" book and assumed that an open A tuning would have been used back then. The melody for this song sits well for me on the slightly lower G tuning but of course not the chords.

I've spent an hour already with Mike's suggested tuning admittedly the chords sound great but now I'm struggling to get a flow with the melody - which of course is why we have so many tunings for lap steel!

Thanks for your replies

\ paul
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post  Posted 6 Aug 2020 2:27 am    
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Here's a rhythm pattern that seems to work well for swing tunes. The one note in there is unintentional.


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Last edited by Andy Volk on 6 Aug 2020 9:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 6 Aug 2020 7:11 am    
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When I 1st started taking steel guitar lessons, when you weren't picking melody notes, you strummed.
The tuning was A high bass, a straight major chord, so you could strum all the strings.
In 4/4 time, it would be bass, strum, bass, strum.
In 3/4 time, it would be bass, strum, strum and so on. Very Happy
Erv
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Paul Seager


From:
Augsburg, Germany
Post  Posted 6 Aug 2020 9:23 am    
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Andy thanks, this is what I was aiming for but its the how to get that with a decent tone that challenges me!

Erv Niehaus wrote:
when you weren't picking melody notes, you strummed.

Erv, did you just use the thumb to strum or a down stroke with say the index finger?

WHat I am finding as I experiment is that playing without picks kind of solves my problem. The strums sound sweeter (which is a no-brainer) but I have to work a little harder with playing the melody line.

\paul
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 6 Aug 2020 9:34 am    
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Paul,
Will the bass and strum technique, you picked the bass string with your thumb and strummed down with your index finger. Very Happy
Erv
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 6 Aug 2020 3:35 pm    
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If you are going by this version
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ik-Q-KD4LLQ
The ukelele rhythm accompaniment is very busy in the opening instrumental, cleans up somewhat for the vocals, and by the second instrumental is very concise with the back beat chop, like bluegrass mando. I suppose the 3 different styles could be debated for tastefulness, but I prefer the mando chop. It allows the master’s syncopated melodies to really shine. In order to get that, I would just let the bass player handle the Root/5 pattern on Beats 1 & 3 (unless you play exactly the same thing with alternating thumb) and do muted back beat downstroke strums, or 3-finger plucks.

I love this stuff. Sol was the Django of Hawaiian Music. One of the first non-modern-pop music artists to ever catch my interest.
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Paul Seager


From:
Augsburg, Germany
Post  Posted 7 Aug 2020 2:53 am    
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Thanks Fred. Your analysis of the ukulele part is spot on!

This is my absolute first step in Hawaiian waters and I was ashamed that I'd paid so little attention to Sol and the other players of this genre. But the music is attractive to my colleagues and me in that we can all sing moderately well and can cover the instrumental line-up.

I certainly lack the skills of Sol and somewhat to cover that gap, me and the guitarist/uke player (the same guy btw) will both play solos. It was only when he soloed in that I realized that my strumming sounded ... well awful!

Every new music project is a voyage of discovery and this is no exception. I'm just glad I have the wisdom and knowledge of this forum to fall back on!

\ paul
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Adam Tracksler


From:
Maine, USA
Post  Posted 9 Aug 2020 4:33 am    
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Joe Wilson has some good swing videos and lessons. Might give you some comping ideas.

[url] https://youtu.be/l6nFZJ5cNXU[/url]

Also Manu Vicete

[url] https://youtu.be/lKONX1RaMvc[/url]

Also, palm muting with thumb pick strumming can get you into the “pompe” rhythm.
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