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SeattleCard 07-04-2010 10:09 AM

Learning Andy McKee tunes
Hey guys,

I'm an Andy McKee fan and I am trying to tackle some of his tunes (Rylynn, Art of Motion). Aside from the fact that they are challenging to play, the main thing that is tripping me up is keeping time on the percussive beats that he does with his thumb.

Anyone know of specific tips or things / songs / lessons to practice to improve that ability? Metronome?


Will Kirk 07-04-2010 10:18 AM

If you listen to the way his music is laid out the beats aren't really that syncopated and they usually occur at specific times of the melody, if you can feel where they occur during the melody and then practice accenting the melody over the rhythm that might help a bit

TBman 07-05-2010 03:23 AM

If I was going to learn his songs I would probably play along with the original tunes. You might want to search for his music on youtube also.

Doug Young 07-05-2010 09:32 AM

A lot of the time, Andy is using his thumb on the back-beats, beats 2 and 4. Not always, but quite often. It can be disguised by all the other stuff going on, but for example, in the intro to Art of Motion, the thumb slaps are exactly on beats 2 and 4.

So a simple way to start would be to play straight quarter notes, and play actual notes on 1 and 3, slaps on 2 and 4. Play the bottom string with your thumb on 1. Then on 2 bring your thumb back down on the string - you could think of it as preparing to play the bass again on beat 3. But land hard, so that it makes a noise. Repeat. Once you can do that with a nice feel, it'll hopefully be easier

I wrote an article an article in he Jan 2006 Acoustic Guitar that demonstrates this. It's also online with audio, but no video:

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