Live rock guitar over electronic dance music
Hear Jimmy’s original music on Jimmy Cypher Artist Site
Jimmy Cypher is an early Atlanta pioneer in the emerging genre of Rocktronica which features live guitars over electronic dance music. After listening to his original guitar tracks, students are often surprised initially to discover Jimmy’s vast vocabulary of traditional rock, blues, metal, funk, reggae, pop, and country. One of the challenges of playing guitar over electronic music (and why few guitarists do it well) is that it requires an impeccable sense of timing, groove, and phrasing. The looseness in feel that fuels classic rock and blues simply will not work in most cases with electronica. Tighter timing is required, but it still has to dance around the beat to sound organic. Perhaps the closest comparison is Latin rhythms, particularly Brazilian percussion styles. As a result, Jimmy developed an understanding of timing that allows him to compare and contrast the varying feels in a variety of genres, put it under a microscope and explain it to his students in guitar lessons in a way that allows them to tweak their own feel for a given musical style or situation.
Guitar playing varies greatly by genre with respect to feel and groove. It is often said that you have to live the blues or live flamenco in order to play it convincingly. However, with modern technology and the right approach in guitar lessons, you can examine what makes one’s playing sound black, white, or gypsy and better express yourself as an artist in your genre of choice. In the end, I think most would agree that the quality of the music is what matters, not the cultural or ethnic background of the player. This can be effectively conveyed in lessons and after some work in the woodshed focusing on the right things, guitar students can start to unlock to these previously elusive grooves, and make that soul or authenticity a part of their guitar playing.
Rare is the Atlanta guitar teacher who can convey such things in lessons¦ a product of Jimmy’s early background in classic rock, blues and shred guitar combined with many professional years spent producing, recording and performing demanding electronic, hip hop and pop tracks. Often in Atlanta studio sessions, producers will solo my guitar performance and then digitally edit the imperfections in timing. Then they play it back over the rest of the track and now it sounds perfectly lifeless. Then I ask them to undo the edits and listen again. Usually they give me a puzzled look, smile and keep the original.
The influence of Carlos Santana and David Gilmour is perhaps most on display in Jimmy’s original guitar work, as this sense of extended groove and ethereal atmosphere works well over electronica. But make no mistake, guitar lessons involving everything from Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Guns-n-Roses to today’s metronomically precise extreme metal artists, modern pop and R&B are deftly managed in Jimmy Cypher’s hands. It is his ability to transfer that knowledge to his students that make his lessons fun and rewarding for so many and have made him a first call Atlanta session player and guitar lesson coach.