I've been playing guitar, bass, and drums for a few years and I've gotten intermidiate.
My timing sounds good and nobody notices anything wrong.
But when I record myself and put a metronome on it, I feel like I'm way off.
How do musicians in bands do it? How do they play perfectly?
Last edited by DudeIsOnFire at Jan 17, 2015,




with a metronome or drum machine. About 4 years in my first band with a drum machine and live drummers drove me nuts. I've done it 3 times now, I notice even slight variations in human drummers.

No way around it. If you want to improve your timing, metronome or drum machine. I play in a band with a drum machine now, first few weeks I sucked, hadn't played with a drum machine in almost 15 years. Still a little iffy after a year once in a while, but usually I have no trouble now. It will take time though. Use some sort of electronic timing...click track, metronome, drum machine...every time you practice. It will take a couple of months, and you'll get comfortable with it and be able to play right along with no trouble.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Last edited by Paleo Pete at Jan 17, 2015,
Yup just what the dude above said. Metronome or drum machine. If you're into doing some book work the musicians institute released a book i think called rhythmic lead guitar by ? Barret Tagliarino?. Dont have it in front of me right now but I'm pretty sure that's it. Worth checking out
A metronome will help even though it can get a little annoying, its still very helpful. I've been slacking on it myself to be honest lol.
Are you really way off or does it just feel like it? Musicians in bands don't play perfectly. And that's fine. When bands record stuff it's fixed to sound perfect.
After reading again I guess I need to clarify one thing.

How do musicians in bands do it? How do they play perfectly?

With bands, while drummers always vary, some to a greater degree than others, with practice (yeah there's that word practice again) bands develop the ability to keep time with each other pretty well, even though the overall tempo usually varies somewhat.

That said, for your situation, recording on your own, it boils down to exactly what I said in the first place...While you seem to have decent timing, once you turn on a metronome you find out just how bad your timing actually is. It was exactly the same with me first time I played with a metronome, I had 2 of them for years, both finally stolen a while back. First time I turned one on and first time I played in a band with a drum machine I found out my timing was actually horrible. I thought it was pretty good till then...
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Quote by DudeIsOnFire

But when I record myself and put a metronome on it, I feel like I'm way off.

Well, you're doing that backwards. Play WITH the metronome. Don't try to put one on, after the fact. Pretty much nobody could do that and nail it. Not even professional musicians who write and play technical and complex music.
what you're trying to do is basically impossible. recording a beat and putting the metronome on after it was recorded and expect it to be spot on is probably way to much for a human being.
find a record that you like and try putting a metronome to it. if it wasn't recorded with a click in will never match.
i did that few days ago with Led Zeppelins - Rock and Roll ( i was trying to prove to prove to my friend that the drums start at 3 AND beat, and not 1 ) never mind. I believe that Bonham was one of the best drummer ever, but still if you put a click on that track, by the time the band comes in, the drums are already off the click a lot.
So dont worry, if you can groove with the click ON while recording, everything's good!
Improving your timing must be the slowest rate of progress of anything ... hundredths of a second in months!
Quote by DudeIsOnFire
I have the metronome on before and after.

Wait... wait... do you have the metronome on during? Because that's kind of the important bit.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”

Start very simple, maybe even just one note per beat at say 60bpm. Then try two notes, etc.

Timing takes a very long time to refine so you need to clock up many hours of practice. Keep going though, and be patient.
Quote by DudeIsOnFire
I have the metronome on before and after.

So you are listening to the metronome as you record? And still aren't in time? Well then there's no other explanation besides practice. Practice more. That's literally the only option.
Hello All,

A good exercice is to put the metronome on and play a few bars of rhythm and then a few bars of solo without breaking the fluidity. For example, you can play 2 bars in A-Minor and then switch to soloing for 2 other bar. When this is well done it helps in two ways : 1- You learn to play with the metronome 2- You learn to get in and out from rhythm to soloing.

Like everyone said you need to play with a click.

I hope it might help a bit!