How to fix poor timing?

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Cardbird, May 28, 2020.

  1. atomoclast

    atomoclast SS.org Regular

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    A good two in one exercise from Uncle Ben:



    This will force you to work on hand-synchronization, and when you start slower with a metronome, really start to disect where you're messing up.

    I'm trying to go through this as a challenge, where I practice this lick/exercise every day for ~15 minutes. Record it while I do it with a click track in the background and increase the tempo a few BPM every day or every other day.
     
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  2. duffbeer33

    duffbeer33 Contributor

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    The exercises everyone shared look great. I like to record myself playing something in a DAW with metronome playing 16th notes until I think I have it right, then play it back to see how it sounds. Usually I'm surprised at how off I am (I tend to be early on the note). It helps me think about how to slow it down. Playing in the pocket does not come naturally for me!
     
  3. Cardbird

    Cardbird SS.org Regular

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    Thanks! The exercise seems simple enough from watching it but I gotta say, I kinda suck at performing it right now lol

    This is a great video, really simple to practice too. Love the part where he says "I'm still gaining experience points playing at that tempo".

    Same, I always find significantly more timing errors that I just don't hear while playing it. Even along to a metronome like you mentioned. Glad so many exercises got shared here though, there's a ton of material I can work with for now.
     
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  4. USMarine75

    USMarine75 The man who is tired of the anus is tired of life Contributor

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    Martin Miller has some good videos about developing timing and accurate speed.
     
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  5. JP Universe

    JP Universe Giggity Contributor

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    Metronome , better be mentioned 100000 times before my response.

    Paid 80AUD for my korg, kids pay nothing. Best 80AUD i ever spent
     
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  6. wheresthefbomb

    wheresthefbomb SS.org Regular

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    I clap along with the metronome for at least 5 minutes every single morning. I won't force myself to do guitar exercises if I'm not feeling it but metronome drills are not optional. I can't stress enough the difference I've noticed in my playing from really committing to this, and how badly I realized I'd neglected this skill as a self-taught player.

    There are apps you may find useful that do things like drop random beats so you can train to not rely on the metronome, but personally I don't like having my phone screen around during practice, and I find that if I focus on what my body is doing rather than the metronome I can find the beat much more naturally. If I lose the beat, I let my rhythm drift naturally back to it rather than trying to "catch" the click.

    There are 1001 exercises out there, pick one that works for you and targets the areas you need the most help in. This is one that I have found extremely useful along with metronome drills (although he does not, in fact, tell you what happened).

     
  7. Solodini

    Solodini MORE RESTS!

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    How familiar are you with which beat/division of the bar you are on? Can you count through the bar and consciously decide to play on the & of 3, for example? Can you take a slow passage and choose to move one of the notes to a particular division? I find it valuable to develop that awareness so you can control playing in time, not just from copying but from deciding and dictating for yourself.

    TL;DR This lesson is good:


    You can start just by setting a metronome, choosing a time signature and choosing which division of that to play on, just playing any note on that. Start with just playing on the main beats rather than subdivisions. Once that's familiar and you can do so easily, set the metronome to click on the beat, and the & of each beat (1 & 2 & 3 &) then do as above but choosing subdivisions to play on. Once this is familiar and comfortable, you can change the metronome back to just clicking on the main beats, while you play on subdivisions.
    You can keep going by this method adding more detail by playing on further subdivisions, and then minimising the metronome down back down to the main beats, down to every 2nd beat (1 and 3), on the off beats only (2 and 4), on the subdivisions only, then further down to 1 click per bar. When there's one click per bar that can be on beat 1 or elsewhere in the bar. You don't need to change anything of the metronome, just think of that click as being on the & of 2, for example. Start counting from that division ie & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 &... I'm sure you've seen Victor Wooten talking about this bit. At any point you can add in a 2nd beat/subdivision to play on in the bar, or change which subdivision you play on in alternating bars.

    Eventually, you should be able to plan out a rhythm and develop your ability to play it pretty quickly.

    Benny Greb also has some great material about this on Youtube.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2020
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  8. GoldDragon

    GoldDragon SS.org Regular

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    Everyone can have good timing. Try tapping a beat with your fingers or drum sticks. If you can tap in time, there is hope for you.

    With guitar, alot of it comes down to left hand finger independence, and right hand picking mechanics.

    Finger independence is the ability to control your fingers to do different things as called for. A good example of this is that beginners can often play phrases in time with index, middle, fourth fingers, but when you include the pinky, the timing goes off.

    Here is a warmup exercise that should help with your finger independence.



    Picking mechanics are very important and involve more than just up/down up/down. When you cross strings, there are different motions depending on whether the last motion was up or down. There are picking primers on the web. Its not exactly as simple as "just keep practicing this, you will get it eventually." Some thought needs to be put into it and certain exercises can isolate the difficulty of various movements. An early picking primer was "Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar". Its pretty good and I think they still sell it, although there may be better versions out there.
     
  9. Pietjepieter

    Pietjepieter SS.org Regular

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    Nice discussion, and some very good tips and clips.

    Working on the Olly exercise now, good one!

    I also have timing issues I noticed while recording a song, but stupidly enough i have it at low speeds.
    Following situation we have a song at 150bpm.
    The song has three different tap sequences, on in eight notes, one in 8th triplets and one in 16 notes.

    Now I was afraid for the triplet tap sequence because it is challenging for the note to play, but i practice that one a lot, took a few takes and done, happy with it!
    The 16e tap sequence is for the notes very easy, and I can do 16th notes at 150bpm. So no problems there, took 2 or 3 takes and nailed it...

    So what was left was the 8th note tap sequence, very easy, unbelievable easy so to say. But it took me a million takes, it mostly started ok, but in it end mostly or slightly in front of the beat or slightly behind the beat. I was quite depressed that I was not able to nail this slow freaky easy part.

    I started to record some stuff to find out the problem, and I found out that I am sloppy as fuck as soon as things are getting easy... what the fuck?
    I think the problem I have comes down to how I practice. I practice quite much and mostly focus on speed, always tries to play faster. But I forgot to focus on quality so to say.
    And also, for parts that I think are easy I never pay much attention to, and because of that they end up being sloppy.

    Now what I did in the end to get it tight was a few things:
    * Move body to the beat to really focus and stay in the beat/grove.
    * Stay really concentrated during playing, and really focus on the dynamics and the timing.
    * No short cut while recording, I can easy do some edits in Logic to get the timing right, but I do not (not that I found anything wrong with it, but I must be able to play it correct)

    I also change mine focus while practicing. Play some parts at low speed, do it a couple of times than record it and analyze if there are any problems. If 100% ok than move to a higher speed, and repeat.

    I am surprised that while playing I normally sounds a lot better to myself than if I record it and listen it back. Disappointed in mine own playing again :(

    I think mine biggest mistake is to practice a lot and never listen back to how it actual sounds, now since I start doing that I am getting more and more aware of mine weak points.
     
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  10. Fun With Dirt

    Fun With Dirt SS.org Regular

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    It's always about finding what works for you. For me, it's the metronome.

    Especially with practice not happening I play with a Metronome a LOT more often than normal.

     
  11. Solodini

    Solodini MORE RESTS!

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    Gotta be conscious with it too though, huh? It seems there are people who think having a metronome on while they play will magically fix their timing, despite not paying attention to how their playing interacts with the metronome.
     
  12. Fun With Dirt

    Fun With Dirt SS.org Regular

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    That can certainly be the case. My perspective is that a musician needs to always be conscious of how they are playing. I would definitely argue that if I played the exact same bass line but with several different bands and all with their own manner of play, you would likely see some adjustments on my part due to those differences. The metronome would be no different in that regard. What a metronome does, at least for me, is lays out a very steady and mechanical beat to test my timing against. It's really an effort to get where I can tighten to even the most tight meter.
     
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  13. Semi-pro

    Semi-pro SS.org Regular

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    This. I can't remember where I heard the term, but someone somewhere talked about "burying the beat" while playing. In other words, be so dead on that you barely even hear the click whenever the note lands on the beat.
     
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  14. Solodini

    Solodini MORE RESTS!

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    Which can be pretty offputting in itself!
     

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