1. richard
    December 15th, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

    With respect, this information is not helpful. The problem of missing a change, or losing the ‘one’, or accidentally adding/skipping a beat is not addressed by the material you present as a solution. The problem lies with keeping one’s place in the musical form. Your material talks about measures, beats and subdivisions, and is really aimed at learning to keep a steady tempo — but it doesn’t touch at all on how to avoid losing one’s place in a performance. Most people are able to feel the pulse of the music but many suffer from losing the one or losing the form. The required skill goes far beyond counting, and sub-division — the problem is not related to tempo — it requires using part of the brain to perform and somehow having a simultaneous parallel process keep your place ‘on the map’ — or in the musical form. I say ‘somehow’ because it is clear that different people have different ways of achieving this. Problem is, you haven’t even recognised the problem, let alone addressed it…

    • Sean
      December 4th, 2014 @ 10:36 am

      I think this is incredible useful. I have been playing for 4 months and am quite proficient at fingerstyle but I could not understand strumming patterns and how to count having come from a background of playing drums for almost 10 years.

      I was taught the above in relation to playing the drums when I first started and then never had to worry about it. This has done the same and now I can see playing the rhythm/right hand in the same was as I would play a kit with 2 hands and 2 feet.


    • joey
      September 1st, 2015 @ 5:13 am

      thank you for the article tom. the exercises you presented here are very helpful. however i do also definitely identify with what richard says with respect to having a problem with losing the one or losing one’s place in the map/form. i take it that tom is suggesting in the “counting measures” section that the exercises in counting there will help with not losing one’s place. however, it really isn’t ideal to count everything at a jam sesh or gig. i suppose counting endless measures in the woodshed would eventually lead to better subconscious processing of the musical form and where one is at in the song and measure. or at least i hope. if anyone has any advice in this matter feel free to share…

  2. bill (england)
    September 3rd, 2013 @ 5:42 pm

    i have found the above info very useful,as far as it goes. my not being able to count during soloing. i am maybe concentrating on trying to do a good solo. have tried playing less per bar. what is the answer for this? i can play well enough for the chords/comping, broken rhythms etc. i am fairly new to jazz impro, (tho’ not guitar playing) interested in any idea’s.

  3. SYED
    October 10th, 2013 @ 1:04 pm

    I found this lesson to be extremely useful. Thank you very much Tom. Even though I have played the guitar for many years, my rhythm is far from perfect. Lately I have been trying hard to get it right. At the stage where I am, there could not have been a better lesson than this for me. I was having a lot of trouble figuring out triplets, but now it sounds so easy- and natural. Thanks again, and good luck.

  4. Ray
    December 26th, 2015 @ 11:04 am

    Many of the items listed i already do, yet i still found the suggestions helpful. It seems to me Keeping time 101 would be a gould title for this lesson. Now that i know how to count per the lesson how do you do that but also :
    1. Make the correct chord voicings and changes in time
    2. Keep time ( end of measures) when concentrating on a solo , so that your solo does not end too soon or too late
    3. Get back on track if you mis-count or get totally lost

  5. Thompson
    September 25th, 2016 @ 1:00 pm

    So,several comments here have pointed out that yin article, while helpful in terms of defining beats and subdivisions, does not address the intended subject — which is keeping place in the musical form during performance. Do you intend to reply, or is this just a waste of everybody’s time?

Tom Serb

Tom Serb is a Chicago area guitarist who has been making music professionally since 1978. Over the course of the past twenty-five years he has managed to amuse himself by teaching, writing, performing, producing and composing. He is the author of Music Theory for Guitarists (NoteBoat, Inc., 2003), and a frequent contributor to the Guitar Noise forums.