#1
Hey y'all!

I've been playing guitar for about 5 years now. I play pretty well, I play a wide range of genres (rock, solos, rythm, lead, slow songs, arpeggios... etc) and every time I practice at home with a background song I'm perfectly in tempo.

I practice my tempo by listening a lot to the drums. How they play in relation to the guitar. What note plays when the drummer hits this or that.

But in my band, god I struggle a lot!

Especially on this song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t12Y_gdbGQQ

I have a big tempo problem : I can't seem to play in tempo, the drums seem to be playing completely independently to the guitar ?

How can I be better ?
I tried the metronome but it doesn't help because it's only "tick tick tick tick" and that's not what the drums to at all.

I don't know what to do apart from always playing the song 4 ou 5 times per day, but at band practice I seem to forget what I learned at home...

Any advice?

Thanks!
#2
Maybe it's the drummer in your band?

Also, nobody uses a metronome to replace or emulate what a drummer is doing; but a metronome should definitely be used when practicing, especially if you've got what you perceive to be a tempo problem.

Good luck!
#3
but why should it be used when practicing ? it's just a tick tick that doesn't make any sense if I want to practice for instance a Muse song, where the drums are all over the place...
#4
When you're playing with the band, get out of your head and play "outside your head" if you know what i mean. Concentrate on the drummer--even better, concentrate on the bassist if he's any good. A good bassist keeps a not-so-good drummer in line. Don't concentrate on your own playing or you'll get distracted from keeping in time with the rest of the band. That's a fairly easy song to stay in time with, so do as others say and practice with the metronome. The tick tick tick is good for keeping the constant rhythm, so that even when the beats get syncopated you don't miss any or fall behind or play ahead.
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#5
You have to develop your own sense of time. What happens to a lot of us is that when we play on our own, little variations in timeing don't sound that bad, in fact sometimes we even convince ourselves that they're intentional, our own "flavor."

But you've got to be able to play exactly on the beat. Or just behind the beat. Or wheever the heck you want to put it.

The drills that Vic Wooten walks you through here will help - particularly the idea of gradually reducing the metronome so it's every other beat, or one out of every four beats, etc. If it's too hard to start, do the exercise with scales first.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9X1fhVLVF_4

Notice how, if you're playing a scale and put the note EXACTLY on the metronome click, you almost can't hear the click - it disappears under the sound of the pick on the string. So start with that, then crank the metronome back a la vic wooten.
#7
Start recording your sessions so you can get to the bottom of it. It could be your drummer...
#8
I agree with the drummer being the issue. Over the years I have worked with great drummers and terrible drummers. The best ones were the drummers who locked onto the beat and refused to speed up when the bass or guitar or anyone else started to speed up or lag. The drummer is the anchor in the band. I believe the drummer has to establish a rock solid tempo at least with some part of his playing (kick drum, snare, hi hat, something). As a guitar or keyboard player or even a singer it's our responsibilty to get the music portion right. You should be able to just lean on the beat and not worry about counting time. As you can sense, this is a pet peve of mine. When a drummer says "You guys are speeding up" or You guys are slowing down" I just say "Isn't keeping the time and tempo your job?".
#9
Quote by Rickholly74
As a guitar or keyboard player or even a singer it's our responsibilty to get the music portion right


That includes tempo. The timing is a group responsibility that everyone needs to agree on, pushing and pulling it. When a disagreement or wobble in the groove occurs, the drummer is always correct. But the rest of the time it should be a collective effort.

Quote by Rickholly74
I just say "Isn't keeping the time and tempo your job?".


No offense, but you sound like a bit of a dick. Maybe you'll mature as you gain experience in more bands.
Last edited by innovine at Feb 6, 2014,
#10
Quote by alans056
but why should it be used when practicing ? it's just a tick tick that doesn't make any sense if I want to practice for instance a Muse song, where the drums are all over the place...


To bad einstein made such an imprint with the name, but I would call it..

...law of relativity!

Rhythms do not exist without the Tick Tick.

It might not be audible, but all rhythms feel as they feel because of the contrast to the pulse.

4 groups of triplets for example.. If there was no pulse on every first note, then it could be argued as 12 8th notes.

Anyways, learn about rhythms and the pulse and go watch drummer video's tutorials on youtube.

Why drums? Because almost every single one of them uses a metronome, and starts at a slow speed and will also give you insight in dynamics and the oh so important accents, which is the other most important feature.

They only do rhythm, so you can be assured no other musical stuff convolutes it.

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Feb 6, 2014,
#11
I used to not play with a backing track and every now and then, my brother (who has a close to perfect timing) would come in the room and say, "What the heck are you doing?". Playing with a backing track has been very good for me.

TS, you have to remember, those backing tracks are basically the song with the guitar pulled out. Its a perfect rendition. No one other than the band can pull of the subtle nuances of the song.
#12
Sorry about coming off as a "dick" but I have been playing in bands full and part time for more the 35 years and drummers with bad timing drive me crazy. I get that we are all in a constant state of learning but if the drummer is all over the place, the band never gets tight.
#13
It's never the same playing at home and then playing in a band. That's why band's spend many hours practicing, rehearsing the same shit over and over again until they nail it.

Once each musician learns their own part that's only the beginning. Keep practicing with the band as much as poss and you'll get there. Good luck.
#14
Quote by Rickholly74
Sorry about coming off as a "dick" but I have been playing in bands full and part time for more the 35 years and drummers with bad timing drive me crazy. I get that we are all in a constant state of learning but if the drummer is all over the place, the band never gets tight.


After 35 years of playing you should cringe if you can't keep a steady tempo without needing to lean on your drummer.

In your 35 years experience I guess you've been in a recording studio a few times. Did the drummer ever lay down the track just listening to a click track? Most studios will have the band play a scratch track along with the drummer. Why is this? It's because to nail the small push and pull of the song, the drummer thinks melodically too. Just listening to tick tick takes away the feel, flow, groove, the humanization, the hits slightly early and slightly late, and it makes it much harder to keep the groove together (I'm not talking about bad timing, that's entirely a different story). This is what I mean by a shared responsibility, the band is not a metronome, they are actually charting the deviations from the metronome and it's easiest to remember these as melody (even if its a melody with just one tone). So your drummer is always listening to that. I'd guess that your drummer can sing the solos to all your songs.

If your drummer is telling you that you keep speeding up or slowing down, it's because you keep speeding up and slowing down. And no musician worth his salt should be doing that. Sorry, but it's a pet peeve of mine after playing drums in some bands where the guitarists can't stay in time. Especially when their amps are too loud :P
#15
Quote by alans056
but why should it be used when practicing ? it's just a tick tick that doesn't make any sense if I want to practice for instance a Muse song, where the drums are all over the place...


The kick drum and the snare on this particular song (Panic Station) are almost always on the 1, 2, 3 and 4... on the head... exactly like a metronome. If you can't relate what the drums have in common with the "tick tick", you probably should be studying a lot more with a metronome, and understanding the bare bones of the drums. My opinion is that if you don't know how to play in time with a single "tick" playing, how are you gonna begin to understand an entire drum kit?
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#16
Do you sit when playing at home.....this will really screw you over when transcending too standing.....it's like guitar kryptonite.
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#17
The metronome represents the underlying beat, not the lines the drummer plays.

Have you brought this issue up with your bandmates?
#18
I wouldn't jump to conclusions that the drummer is the only issue here.

The TS said;
the drums seem to be playing completely independently to the guitar

It's just the wrong attitude. The guitar is meant to lock in with the drums, not the other way around. I don't think that you are listening to eachother, and taking a guess, at some point you go "hey, I'm like 2 beats ahead of the drummer" so you stop and join back in.

So listen to the band, play with the band, rather than at the same time as the band. It makes a huge difference. Even if the drummer is having issues, if you're locking in with him your own timing should be fluctuating with him.
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#19
Quote by alans056
but why should it be used when practicing ? it's just a tick tick that doesn't make any sense if I want to practice for instance a Muse song, where the drums are all over the place...


Tempo is not the same as rhythm. You need a metronome to set the tempo, which forces you to produce the rhythm. Relying on the other instruments to provide the rhythm and phrasing will leave you with that skill underdeveloped.

Your problem is likely not tempo, but actually feeling the rhythm.

I recommend using a metronome and counting when you practice. Always count. Practice your rhythmic subdivisions religiously and make sure you can move smoothly between 8ths, triplets, and 16ths.

There's a lot of syncopation in that Muse song - can you specify where the accents occur? What beat and subdivision?
Last edited by cdgraves at Feb 6, 2014,
#20
I agree that there is a difference between tempo and rhythm. While rhythm can vary within the song (and often should to be interesting) the tempo should not. That's my point exactly (glad Cdgraves said it). Some players like it a little more "free form" and that's fine for them if that's the style of the band. I want a drummer like Kenny Aronoff who locks the beat and tempo with the bass player. He can make any band sound tight (Mellencamp, Tony Iommi, Fogarty, dozens of others and every style from heavy metal to pop and even spent time in the Buddy Rich Big Band after Buddy died). He is probably the most recorded studio drummer of all time except maybe Hal Blaine and the reason is because he not only has great technique but he establishes a rock solid tempo. Producers bring him in when tempo in a band is a problem. Anton Fig is another drummer who often serves the same role (replaced Peter Criss for a few albums). A great drummer with solid tempo. I spent 4 years working in a recording studio (engineer) and we always had a midi activated metronone permanently plugged into the board ready to go if the band or producer wanted it. This sometimes caused bands to feel insulted but they shouldn't have been. After you get use to using one it's great for recording and rehearsing.
#21
Quote by alans056
How can I be better ?
I tried the metronome but it doesn't help because it's only "tick tick tick tick" and that's not what the drums to at all.

A metronome is supposed to keep the tempo. Drums keep the rhythm and the tempo, but what people notice most is the rhythm. So, as a guitar player, you need to be locked into the tempo. Start using your metronome, and learn how to lock in with that tempo.
#22
You have problems, at band practice, with a song you've practiced to "perfection" at home. Can you be more specific about the issue with the tempo at band practice e.g. lagging behind, playing to fast, losing your place at a change in the track etc.

If you can pinpoint the issue it will be easier to work out where the problem is. Even better would be a recording of your band practice so that we can hear what is going on.
#23
To me the song you posted is pretty much tick tick tick tick kind of rhythm. There's just one accent that is off beat. You can hear that the fourth accent isn't on the first beat of the second bar - it's a 16th earlier. It's not weird at all, pretty basic syncopation.

You need to learn about rhythm. When I play with a band, I don't even need to think about the rhythm that much - I just feel it. And yeah, every instrument is responsible of the tempo, not just the drums. Everybody should listen to each other. And I think rhythm should be something you don't need to think about. You should feel it. And if you need to think about it too much, you will lack groove.

So yeah, maybe you understood the purpose of metronome a bit wrong. It keeps the tempo, you need to play the rhythm.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Feb 8, 2014,
#24
The Vic Wooten video I posted addresses this issue directly.

You should not need your drummer to keep you in time. If he drops out for a few measures, or if he does unusual fills, or what have you, you should be able to stay right where you want to stay. All the musicians should be able to stop for four measures and come right back in on the one.

This takes work. It involves doing the drills in the video I mentioned, weaning yourself off the metronome.