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Rhythm and Timing

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(@click26)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 29
Topic starter  

Hi,

Im having trouble learning how to play in time.

I use a metronome and can play in time to it, but when I play with other people I can seem to do it. For songs I know I can "imitate" the rhythm but I dont really know whats going on. Could anyone help me with this?

How did people on here overcome this problem?


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(@coloradofenderbender)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1120
 

The drummer is the metronome in a band. Listen for it and you will hear the steady beat of the drummer. The bass player can also play this role. If you aren't playing with a drummer or bass player, use a metronome when you play with another guitarist.


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(@kalle_in_sweden)
Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 780
 

Play over simple backing tracks and do it often.
A backing track has normally a drum and bass.
That helped me a lot in finding rythm and timing and its much more fun than play to a metronome.

And even better is to record your playing and listen to it,

Kalle

Tanglewood TW28STE (Shadow P7 EQ) acoustic
Yamaha RGX 320FZ electric guitar/Egnater Tweaker 15 amp.
Yamaha RBX 270 bass/Laney DB 150 amp.
http://www.soundclick.com/kalleinsweden


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(@boxboy)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1226
 

Play over simple backing tracks and do it often.
A backing track has normally a drum and bass.
That helped me a lot in finding rythm and timing and its much more fun than play to a metronome.

And even better is to record your playing and listen to it,

Kalle

I agree with Kalle. I find playing with a simple backing track more interesting and more valuable.
For me, timing issues tend to be contextual; which is a fancy way of saying I get a little excited or tense about a chord or phrase change and come in early and/or rush the start of the new bit!
Another exercise I use is to pare my part down to the absolute bare bones, note wise. Hold all your fretting fingers in the chord position you'd use, but just fret the root note with all your attention on fitting into the groove.
Another one: play triplets against something that has a straight 1/8ths feel. That sort of going against the grain really sharpens things up.
Oh, and start slow! Slow's tougher than it seems. With a slower BPM you really get to hear when you get off the beat.
Enjoy!

:)

Don


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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5599
 

It's kinda funny that people have such difficulty with time because time is so very natural. Think about that. Your heart beats in a steady rhythm. You walk in rhythm, you even chew your food in a natural rhythm.

That may sound stupid, but I think people tend to overcomplicate keeping time and rhythm. It is really very natural, and one of the secrets is to simply relax and go with the flow. Your body naturally wants to keep good time.

When I play I just really get into the music. I listen to the drums, bass, and other instruments. For me, I simply dance to the music, and I really move around a lot when I play, bob up and down and all that sort of stuff. But I am not putting on an act or anything like that. I am sincerely getting into the music and dancing to it. I love that sort of thing. And you will find that timing comes very easy when you do this. Your body already knows what to do, you've just got to relax and trust it.

You may not realize this, but you have been doing this with the metronome. You simply listen to the clicks and your mind automatically sort of records the tempo. Then you play to this internal metronome.

It is the same playing with others. You have to stop and really listen to the music for a moment. When you do you will easily pick up the time and tempo. Now just play to it.

Now I realize there are difficult strum and rhythm patterns. Sometimes it takes a little practice to play a certain rhythm pattern. But you will find with a little practice that that difficult pattern becomes very easy. You are simply getting in sync with it. It is natural.

So don't think of it as difficult, think of it as the easiest thing in the world. Just let go and relax. Go with the flow as the old saying goes. You will discover that keeping time really is pretty easy.

Hope that helped.

Wes

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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(@coloradofenderbender)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1120
 

Of course it helped him - heck, it helped me and I have been playing since 1980! Great comments, as always Wes.


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(@chuckster)
Prominent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 938
 

+1 for backing tracks. Not only can it help you with timing it's also great fun.

A good source for BTs can be found here. Enjoy.

I have to agree with Wes also. Make sure you relax when playing. It really does help.

8)

I've had a lot of sobering thoughts in my time.
It was them that turned me to drink.


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(@kevinbatchelor77)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 75
 

Wes, that was great. I posted earlier about my timing issue and your suggestions on this post were great. I think it will help my problem. I tend to rush the beat while I am playing with a backing track.


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(@kalle_in_sweden)
Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 780
 

When I play a new song or backing track I need to "syncronize" my internal "metronome" with the beat of the song. It will take some measures of the song to do that.
Then I play my lead, bass line or rythm according to my internal "metronome" and not trying to follow the rythm of drums/bass beat by beat.
If I try to follow the drum/bass rythm beat by beat I will always be late.

A normal way to control the internal "metronome" is to stomp a foot on the main rythm.

Kalle

Tanglewood TW28STE (Shadow P7 EQ) acoustic
Yamaha RGX 320FZ electric guitar/Egnater Tweaker 15 amp.
Yamaha RBX 270 bass/Laney DB 150 amp.
http://www.soundclick.com/kalleinsweden


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(@matteo)
Honorable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 557
 

hello here are my two cents

as Wes said it is true that to be relaxed is the best way to play in time! Secondarily it is also true that you need some time to learn to play strumming pattern but the good news is that with the correct training everyone could do it!

The first thing to learn is to recognize the beat of the song and being able to play your foot with it: that's quite easy and most of people can do it almost naturally buit it also a fundamental exercize becasue every rhythm is centered around the beat. Then start to learn some straight rhythm where you play a downstrum for each beat, then you coud approach some syncopated rhythm and then some off-beat rhyhtm

Go gradually and always use a backing track or play along your favourite records (always palying your foot along the beat): you'll eventually get it! Of course there will always be some difficult rhythm that gives you some trouble but once you've learned the fundamental ones you could learn some new rhythm in quite a short time

Cheers

Matteo

p.s. dont' be discouraged: I have not been able to play a single rhythm for almost a year until I started to use a book with a tutorial cd. In a few months I was able to play alongside the most of the songs and I've always progressed. Now I'm learning some complex heavy metal syncopated rhyhtms so the message is: do it the right way and you will learn


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(@kevinbatchelor77)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 75
 

I was given some good advice for improving my time yesterday by a friend with degree in clasical guitar. He said that when he was in college they were told to clap 5 minutes a day with a metranome. If you clap on time your clap will cancel out the click (not extremely easy to do). He told me that this improved his timing greatly. I thought that I would post this suggestion because it may help someone else as well.


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(@matteo)
Honorable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 557
 

true, exccelent suggestion

one book I used which gave the right foundation of playing on time, suggested to tap your foot 5 minutes a day along teh click of a metronome for a few days in order to train you to tap your foot in a steady speed. It is unbeliavably helpful because this way you could play alone (without metronome or backing tracks) and just tapping your foot you can be sure that you're on time (of course if you're able to sincronize your hand with your foot but that's another excercise!)

cheers

Matteo


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(@embrace_the_darkness)
Honorable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 540
 

I use a metronome and can play in time to it, but when I play with other people I can seem to do it

Part of that could be nerves; I know that when I first played in front of anybody my timing went out of the window! Unless you have natural rythm, it will take a little while for you to be able to count a steady beat in your head.

The practice exercises already suggested sound good to me. After a while you'll find that you don't have to think about keeping time, you'll just do it.

Pete

ETD - Formerly "10141748 - Reincarnate"


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(@electrickoolaid)
Eminent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 24
 

I have trouble with timing also....I like playing other songs but what i love the most is blues improvisation and its only been recently that i've started to use a metronome. What i've found is that im missing my place in the 12 bar blues format...usually a couple of beats out here and there, i.e missing the V chord by 1 or 2 beats.
Im using a metronome on a daily basis now and im getting there slowly but surely.....any further tips on how i could improve?


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(@matteo)
Honorable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 557
 

hi mate

in learning a rhythm these are some useful steps:

a) first learn to tap your foot: obtain this by tapping your foot for each metronome click and also when you listen to some music tapping your foot for each beat (do this for a few days);
b) learn to move your hand syncronized with your foot for eight notes: mute your string and play a a downstrum each time your foot tap the floor and upstrum each time you raise the foot (this way you're playing a perfect eight note rhythm)
c) learn to move your hand syncronized with your foot for sixteen notes: mute your string and play a quick downstrum and upstrum each time your foot tap the floor and a quick downstrum and upstrum each time you raise the foot (this way you're playing a perfect sixteen note rhythm)
d) now learn some specific eight notes or sixteen notes rhyhtm never stopping your hand and always tapping your foot. In a few days you should learn most common rhythms;
e) play some of the rhyhtms alongside some songs you like and know well, always tapping your foot with the beat, or with a tutorial cd (better because you listen exactly how the rhyhthm should sound)

regarding blues it a bit more difficult since the shuffle is not easy to count so you have to feel it more than count it. The best way to learn is to do all teh above excercises in order to gain rhyhtm consistency and then listen to a lot of blues records in order to internalize the shuffle sound

hope it helps

cheers

Matteo


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