#1
I've been playing about 3.5 years, self-taught. One issue I've had is that I rarely have practiced or played with a metronome. I just would grab a guitar and work on chords, scales, etc.

I'd like to do some focused exercises on timing / rhythm to try to improve this area. Not just playing to a beat, but also stuff like being able to play individual notes that might be faster or more complex.

I wonder also, should I be counting in my head when I play, like "1 2 3 4" or "1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and" or even "1 and uh 2 and uh 3..." to get to the point where I can recognize by ear what is going on in a song in terms of timing or do more complex stuff myself when I write music or play? It seems to me like having a count going on in my head would distract me from, say, being able to sing lyrics while I play, so maybe that's something that only drummers do, I don't know.

Hopefully some people can clue me in on what my "goal" for timing should be, what kind of steps or stages I can expect to progress through as I practice (i.e., a way to measure my progress and see I'm on the right track), and some exercises / approaches to learning timing that might be fun?

I mean, I intend to be more rigorous on using a metronome when I practice / play, and I expect that'll help over time, but I'm wondering if there are focused exercises that would result in faster progress in nailing timing.

Ken
Bernie Sanders for President!
#2
Well the real question is... what do you think your timing is lacking as it is? You've said a lot but none of it really has anything to do with what you think is missing... is there something specific you want to be able to do that you can't?
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#4
Well, one thing I'm missing is keeping time when I don't have metronome or beat. Like, I've read players do not start out with great timing, we learn it, so I'd like to get to the point where I internalize consistent timing. Sometimes I want to just play on guitar for people and I was told by a musician friend once that my timing was bad enough that it made it hard to appreciate the other aspects of the music. So I want to have good enough timing that I can play in time without a metronome or backing track. And if there's a faster way to improve my internal sense of timing, beyond just practicing with a metronome from here on out, I'd like to do that.

Ken
Bernie Sanders for President!
#5
One of the most common things that seems to help people always seems to be tapping your foot or nodding your head in time to something, it really helps internalise a sense of rhythm by all accounts. I think the important thing might be to have some physical thing going on keeping a constant beat. You're still going to have to do it to a metronome so you can internalise it but still, I think it'll help.

Another thing might be to stop playing actual notes for a while, completely take anything the fretting hand might do out of the equation, and concentrate on playing rhythms. If you incorporate something that really makes you properly concentrate on it in to your practice that will almost certainly speed the process along a 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.”


Album.
Legion.
#6
I'd get a Digital Audio Workstation program (I use Reaper which only costs $60), put your song in there and you can slow it down without changing the pitch. Slow it down to two-thirds or even one-half tempo - whatever it takes so you can play the notes in time. That also helps you hear all the subtitles of the phrasing. Then gradually, over a period of weeks or even months, increase the tempo a little at a time until you can play it accurately and with the correct timing.

I've never done the counting thing myself but a friend of mine who has lots of problems with timing seems to be getting good results with it. There's a book called "Rhythmic Lead Guitar: Solo Phrasing, Groove and Timing for All Styles" which really goes into depth with that.
#7
I just play over playlists of music I like. I can learn pretty much anything doing that, from scales to the progression of the tune. I can practice whatever division of time to the tempo of that song, and practice groove and whatnot in a real situation.

If I really want to push practicing speed, then I just do it by ear, because that's the fastest and easiest for me. But lots of people prefer metronomes. Tommy Emmanuel practiced a lot with a metronome. You can get metronomes on your phone or your computer also, in stuff like reaper as well.
#8
Look around for a cheap keyboard with a drum machine. Just practicing around the house you don't need an expensive pro model like my band uses onstage, check yard sales, craigslist, pawn shops, resale shops like Goodwill and see what you can find that has a usable drum machine. Makes things more interesting than a boring metronome, I tried a metronome and didn't like it a lot but used it for the same reason, to develop decent timing.

I don't know anything about it, but you might also be able to find drum machine software that will work. But having at least a facsimile of drums to work with is a lot better than the click click of a metronome...ok just saw someone else already mentioned software.

One thing though, get ready if you play with other people....you'll notice right away most drummers do not have great timing. After playing in a band with a drum machine for 4 years I went to a band with a live drummer, it drove me nutz. Even the best drummers vary a little, but usually you won't notice it if the guy has practiced with a metronome for 10 years. But very few do. The only one I remember was a black drummer in north Louisiana who was a schoolteacher and had college jazz training. It was my first night to even meet the band, onstage no less...It only took me 2 songs to figure out he had put in a LOT of time with a metronome and had some serious jazz training. First break we took, first thing I did was ask him what college jazz band he had played in...4 years right there locally in their jazz band, music was his minor, he was a drummer from jr high school on.

So when you run across a drummer with good timing you'll know it, when you get one with bad timing you'll really know it...but practice with a metronome or drum machine anyway, you'll be able to keep up with other people a lot better if and when you start to play in bands. I prefer a drum machine, it's not as boring.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
Last edited by Paleo Pete at Feb 5, 2015,
#9
Quote by krm27
I've read players do not start out with great timing, we learn it,



This is not always the case. I started out with flawless timing. I never had to work on it. Timing for me, is just letting feel go. But, I wasn't born having full control of my hands in the way guitar needs. So, my brain may have had perfect timing, but my fingers didn't.

I think for you, a metronome would be best, and counting, 1 and 2 and 3 and 4, and tapping your foot. I don't think there is a fun way to do this.

You could try with music, but I think you might find the metronome would yield better results at first at least. But I can't speak from experience, so I might be wrong.