The Woodshed

Bang a Gong

1

This is incredibly embarrassing for someone that's played for over 25 years...but I'm trying to nail Bang a Gong.

Here's the thing, I've played the blues style chuga chuga rhythm so long that the BAG rhythm messes me up. The other guitars accents don't help either. I've looked on the web and found several lessons that play it wrong...and one that plays it right. Even with the one that plays it right, I'm having to unlearn the bluesy one to get this and my muscle memory is too committed. Ironically, the accents are easier for me to hit than the basic rhythm.

Any ideas how to practice this?

The correct way to play it. I think I'm just realizing that the intro is the only part that isn't chuga chuga but a more syncopated rhythm and then goes to blues chuga chuga during verses?

2

Look up the "Power Station" version, Andy Taylor plays that riff quite well.

3

That's the way I play it. Then a power chord E at the 7th and an open top E. Then a G-Gflat-E either at the high or low E.

4

My only recommendation: Just play the "right" version as slowly as possible until it also becomes second nature. The thing about noodling (or the regular blues shuffle) is that you can autopilot it pretty easily. The trick to doing new (to your brain) stuff is doing it as slow as possible, with a metronome, and then speed it up until it's also autopilot mode.

Boring advice, but it works.

5

My only recommendation: Just play the "right" version as slowly as possible until it also becomes second nature. The thing about noodling (or the regular blues shuffle) is that you can autopilot it pretty easily. The trick to doing new (to your brain) stuff is doing it as slow as possible, with a metronome, and then speed it up until it's also autopilot mode.

Boring advice, but it works.

– Devil's Tool

Best advice right there. Programming the muscle memory (and overcoming previous programming) is the key.

It will be worth the effort though. Marc Bolan doesn't always get the respect as a player that many think he deserves, either because of the glitter and glam rock stagecraft or because of what is perceived as his sloppy playing. However, when you sit down to do it, either on Get It On or (even more so) on the song Jeepster, you find that there's more to it than it appeared. The strumming patterns and the little fills seem to me to show a player who knew very well what he was doing.

Anyone can play sloppy, but few can play sloppy really well

6

Best advice right there. Programming the muscle memory (and overcoming previous programming) is the key.

It will be worth the effort though. Marc Bolan doesn't always get the respect as a player that many think he deserves, either because of the glitter and glam rock stagecraft or because of what is perceived as his sloppy playing. However, when you sit down to do it, either on Get It On or (even more so) on the song Jeepster, you find that there's more to it than it appeared. The strumming patterns and the little fills seem to me to show a player who knew very well what he was doing.

Anyone can play sloppy, but few can play sloppy really well

– Timthom62

This is a great summation of Marc Bolan's sound which is still one of my favorite Les Paul sounds.

7

Maybe find the version you prefer on MP3 and put it in a loop of some sort so you can keep at it. I have a little toy (a Boss JS-8) that accepts MP3's and will loop them endlessly, at proper speed or at 50% (no pitch issues). I am certain there are other loop devices that will do the same thing.

It's helped me more'n once.

8

Maybe find the version you prefer on MP3 and put it in a loop of some sort so you can keep at it. I have a little toy (a Boss JS-8) that accepts MP3's and will loop them endlessly, at proper speed or at 50% (no pitch issues). I am certain there are other loop devices that will do the same thing.

It's helped me more'n once.

– Kevin Frye

I picked up a program that I like a lot. I haven't delved deeply into the intricacies but it works great without getting into the weeds.

https://www.seventhstring.c...

9

Good advice. Slow down. Youtube has a half and 3/4 speed playback...maybe I'll try that.

But yeah, the autopilot muscle memory is driving me crazy.

10

Of course slowing down and lots of practice is a good advice.
But I think the best thing to do is listen to the riff very well and sing it in your head. Then sing it in your head (or out loud) while you are practicing it. If you can sing it correctly you will end up playing it correctly.

The same goes for trying to copy solos. Listen well and be able to sing the melody before you try to play it. You will be amazed at how much easier it will come to you.

11

Good luck with this. The rhythmic thing that's been challenging for me lately is the guitar intro to Footloose.

12

I’ve been playing this song for years, it’s really just a “feel” thing. I’d suggest not thinking about it and feel it. Just make the kids dance and you know it’s groovy man. Lots of muting with both hands.... I would suggest listening to a lot of T-Rex, Mark had a very funky feel to his playing. It really was all about the funky vibe for him.

13

I find that a verbal mnemonic can be super helpful. I was once the bassist in a reggae band, and our guitarist couldn't get the rhythm of Pressure Drop right, even after I played it for him and our drummer did it on the snare. I had a light-bulb moment and said, "Just play this: a hockey puck, a hockey puck." He got it instantly.

For this, I think something like "Oo-woo I wanna tell ya, oo-woo I wanna tell ya" would work for me. Anything could work... "A bee can't eat a pizza," "A Bolan, not a Bowie," etc. Of course, the first syllable is missing the first time: "Ooh I wanna tell ya," etc. I guess it's technically the and of four, not the one, but to me the pick-up note is the start of the phrase once it gets going.

(P.S.: If you think that's hard, try playing the intro to The Smiths' Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now! I eventually reduced that to "around and around, and another and another and...")

14

I find that a verbal mnemonic can be super helpful. I was once the bassist in a reggae band, and our guitarist couldn't get the rhythm of Pressure Drop right, even after I played it for him and our drummer did it on the snare. I had a light-bulb moment and said, "Just play this: a hockey puck, a hockey puck." He got it instantly.

For this, I think something like "Oo-woo I wanna tell ya, oo-woo I wanna tell ya" would work for me. Anything could work... "A bee can't eat a pizza," "A Bolan, not a Bowie," etc. Of course, the first syllable is missing the first time: "Ooh I wanna tell ya," etc. I guess it's technically the and of four, not the one, but to me the pick-up note is the start of the phrase once it gets going.

(P.S.: If you think that's hard, try playing the intro to The Smiths' Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now! I eventually reduced that to "around and around, and another and another and...")

– seadevil

Ahh, dang. This is a super great way to do it.

15

I have this full lesson. The beginning is spot on for me and the chorus is very close. He shows an acoustic version as well.

16

I find that a verbal mnemonic can be super helpful. I was once the bassist in a reggae band, and our guitarist couldn't get the rhythm of Pressure Drop right, even after I played it for him and our drummer did it on the snare. I had a light-bulb moment and said, "Just play this: a hockey puck, a hockey puck." He got it instantly.

For this, I think something like "Oo-woo I wanna tell ya, oo-woo I wanna tell ya" would work for me. Anything could work... "A bee can't eat a pizza," "A Bolan, not a Bowie," etc. Of course, the first syllable is missing the first time: "Ooh I wanna tell ya," etc. I guess it's technically the and of four, not the one, but to me the pick-up note is the start of the phrase once it gets going.

(P.S.: If you think that's hard, try playing the intro to The Smiths' Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now! I eventually reduced that to "around and around, and another and another and...")

– seadevil

Great idea, and yeah I think it being the first syllable actually the end of four that's throwing me. I can play it once...and then I miss first syllable when it comes back around. I'll try the pnuemonic device.

Thanks

17

I find that a verbal mnemonic can be super helpful. I was once the bassist in a reggae band, and our guitarist couldn't get the rhythm of Pressure Drop right, even after I played it for him and our drummer did it on the snare. I had a light-bulb moment and said, "Just play this: a hockey puck, a hockey puck." He got it instantly.

For this, I think something like "Oo-woo I wanna tell ya, oo-woo I wanna tell ya" would work for me. Anything could work... "A bee can't eat a pizza," "A Bolan, not a Bowie," etc. Of course, the first syllable is missing the first time: "Ooh I wanna tell ya," etc. I guess it's technically the and of four, not the one, but to me the pick-up note is the start of the phrase once it gets going.

(P.S.: If you think that's hard, try playing the intro to The Smiths' Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now! I eventually reduced that to "around and around, and another and another and...")

– seadevil

Genius, first time through with a bee can't eat a pizza and I've got it now. thx

18

Awesome! Consonant and vowel sounds have implied durations and stresses that only become more pronounced when letters and words are combined. The long and short syllables can just fall into place. Everyone's brain is wired differently, but that approach works for some.

I think I'd actually call the intro 2/4, and the pickup note a sixteenth before one, but that's splitting hairs. (One-y-and-a-Two-y-and, a-One-y-and, etc.)


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