#1
I struggle with timing, I have a friend who is a very competent musician (primarily a bassist so we jam now and again). He often says I need to play in time.

How can improve my natural timing?
#6
Also, try recording yourself every so often. It often makes such issues much more apparent if you hear them while you're not actually playing.
#7
although i'm not arguing with the answer the answer of "metronome," i think you might have better luck starting out some sort of pre-programmed beat via software or drum machine. While there's no substitute for a metronome, i've found they can be tricky to learn how to use properly. A simple backbeat (boom-snick-boom-snick) helps keep the riff in perspective to the groove... if that makes any sense. Anything to get you locked on the beat will help your ability to jam on time. i use the simple beats on my boss looper to practice to.

and if you aren't familiar with how to count beats, that will surely help. many seemingly tricky rock and metal rhythms are actually very simple when you break them down. I feel like i learned the most about timing when i tried to tab out some of my original songs in GP6, it forced me to really think about what i was doing.

hope any of this helped.
#8
A simple metronome exercise that should be part of every developing player's practice routine.

Set the metronome to a comfortable, moderate speed, let's say 120 BPM.

Play basic scales, one note per click. Try to make it so that your attack is so precisely timed with the metronome that the click almost seems to "disappear."

Once you've gotten that down, which should be pretty easy, turn your metronome down to 60 BPM. Play at the same speed - but now you get a click every OTHER note.

When you get that down, turn it own to 40 BPM. This is when it starts to get hard. Now you get a click every third note. Keep going.

And so on down to 30BPM (1 click/4 notes) 24BPM (1 click/5 notes) and 20 BPM (1 click/6 notes).

Those later ones will probably be pretty hard for you. Don't worry. Just come back to it every so often.

As you get better at this, start doing it with something other than a scale. A riff, for example, or a chord progression. But make sure to be conscious about what parts of the riff or chord progression are supposed to land right on the "1" and lock down the timing at 1-click-per-note before you start tweaking the metronome.

And once you get good at that, now start doing it with a pattern that involves an improvised part. Eg, you might hit a chord, on beats one and two, then play a fill for beats three and four, back to the chord on beats one and two. Again, lock it down at one-beat-per-click until you have that timing down before you start ramping down the metronome.

Chances are you will see big improvement from the first couple of times you do this - but I've seen professionals be not quite perfect for the last part (complex riffs with improv) - although their definition of not perfect would make most of us jealous. In other words, this is something you will continue to get better at your entire musical life.
#9
Scanned through all the posts... not once was "tap your foot" mentioned.

Tap your foot, to everything.
#10
Quote by mdc
Scanned through all the posts... not once was "tap your foot" mentioned.

Tap your foot, to everything.

Missed it by that much..

tap your stinkin' foot!!!..... in time of course...
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#12
Building on what mdc said, learn to tap your foot while playing the riff to Sunshine of Your Love. (Or a similar syncopated riff) That's what helped me learn to feel syncopation and timing in general. When I started I always did a quick double tap so my foot would stomp down on an off beat But I got it eventually. Also, I find bobbing my head to be very helpful. Lately I've noticed that I move my tongue in rhythm when I'm practicing my 16th notes as well. I might want to try to stop that though. Looks a little odd.
#13
Quote by Papabear505
Missed it by that much..

tap your stinkin' foot!!!..... in time of course...

Can I just add, don't just give up trying to tap your foot if you can't get it right and in time immediately. It takes a short time to get used to it, but once you get it, you don't have to think about it any more.

Also, if you can, play with an actual, real live, drummer.
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#14
Quote by Duaneclapdrix
Building on what mdc said, learn to tap your foot while playing the riff to Sunshine of Your Love. (Or a similar syncopated riff) That's what helped me learn to feel syncopation and timing in general.

+1 on syncopation.
#15
Something I like to do just for general music-ness is to tap rhythms with my hands whilst I'm walking places, in time of course with my footsteps.

As others have already said - metronome, drum machine, radio, tv, drummer etc will all help.
Record yourself playing along to cd's and stuff too - listen to how well you keep in time with the music.

Perhaps try learning a bit of drums too. Maybe dancing, though I've never tried this one but that must help with rhythm.
#16
Tap your feet, Metronomes, Listen to the track when practicing, If you think you're too fast/slow, then you probably are.

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