Rhythmic Displacement

Hey Everyone,

how is the practice going with the II-V Lines that i provided a while ago? Do you have them under your fingers now? Are they part of your language now? If not, please go back and search in the archives of my “II-V Lines”.

Now the next thing you want to do, once you have a few lines under your belt, is to move them around rhythmically. This is called “rhythmic displacement”. What rhythmic displacement does is taking an idea  and moving it around inside a measure. For example if you take one of these lines that all start on the downbeat of beat 1, you could take them as they are and just start playing them on the upbeat of beat 4, then the downbeat of beat 4, then the upbeat of beat 3 ,then the downbeat of beat 3, etc….do you notice what happens?  You just move everything to “the left” by an eight note, which gives you 7 new possible starting positions for a phrase.

You might ask yourself, why we are doing this, but i can’t stress enough how much more rhythmical freedom this exercise will give you. Not only that, you will also start to feel  and hear everything in a much bigger musical frame. Starting every phrase from the downbeat of beat 1 and ending on the downbeat of beat 1 in the next bar is a very famous „guitarist sickness“ and totally unavoidable in the beginning once you start practicing lines, but you want to get away from beat 1 and be rhythmically flexible as soon as possible.

At some point in your playing ,you need to be able to start a phrase on beat 4, beat 3, upbeat of beat 2, etc without even counting it and just feel and hear it. Try the experiment for yourself. Take one of your most favorite musicians/guitarist and just pay attention to when he(or she) starts a phrase and when the phrase ends and do not pay attention to the actual notes…..you will probably notice, that not everything is compressed always into one bar and not everything sounds like a lego bar….Most great players have the ability to speak very freely over the chords/harmony and are rhythmically very open.  At some point it is not about what hip scales you know, but rather how you apply them. Time is King. You can have the coolest line on the planet, but if you don’t have the rhythms, it will go nowhere.

For this month just try to start to move your lines to the Downbeat of 4,3 and 2.  Try to pay attention on how a Downbeat of 4,3 and 2 “feels”.  The remaining upbeats we will discuss next month.

For lesson PDF’s click below:

Rhythmic Displacement (added Pitch)

Rhythmic Displacement (No Pitch)

Have fun,


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