Thoughts on Groove and Surfing

Think of the guitarists that groove the hardest...guys like Nile Rodgers, Prince, Ben Lacy, Robben Ford...

Now picture someone struggling to find the groove and play in the pocket.

Perhaps the most fundamental difference in these two extremes is this: The guys who groove are at ease and relaxed. The guys who don't groove get further away the harder they try to lock in.

I heard the incredibly groovy Robben Ford relate musical pulse to surfing. In his view, when you play music "you're just riding the wave".

I'm no surfer, but I've been around the water enough to know how it works. If you catch a wave at the perfect time, your work is pretty much done. The wave takes over and you just ride it in.

On the flip side, if you miss the wave, all the paddling in the world won't make up for it.

So it is with musical pulse. It's all about letting go and letting the pulse take you along for the ride. There is no forcing it.

Let go and let it happen.


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