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> Timing: How To Improve It ?, Let's discuss different ideas
Ben Higgins
post Jul 7 2014, 09:27 AM
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Timing: How to Improve it

I wanted to start a thread discussing the various ways we can improve our sense of timing.. not just being able to play in time but ways we can use timing in a creative way, in phrasing.

One thing that I feel is important is AWARENESS:

If we're not aware of our sense of timing and that we might not be keeping with the beat, then we don't think we need to change it. How can someone improve something if they don't release what it is they need to improve ?

In most cases, we just develop timing naturally but it's not always that easy for people. We all excel at different aspects so for some guitarists, timing is a difficult quality to attain.

So, to improve this aspect, one needs to be aware of what it sounds like to be in front of the beat, on the beat and behind the beat. Or in more simple terms, too early (rushing), just right and too late (lagging behind).

One way we can improve this awareness is to deliberately attempt to achieve all 3 of these states. Pick a backing track and a simple lick and try to make it deliberately rushed, so you're ahead of the drums.

Next up, try to deliberately hang way back so that you're left behind and the drums are ahead of you.

The important thing is to really recognise how this sounds and feels. Our goal with this exercise is to know what you don't want in order to get to what you do want. (There will be times when you will want to go in front or behind of the beat during solos but we'll get to that. First you need a solid foundation to work from before you start flying over the beat in free time.)

Next up, your goal is to move your playing forward a bit so that now you're sitting with the drums.

This is just one approach that I believe can work. I demonstrate it in this vid here..



What have you guys done over the years that has helped your timing and what else would you recommend ?


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klasaine
post Jul 7 2014, 09:50 AM
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I play the radio or a CD in the car. While I'm grooving to it I turn it off or down so I cant hear it. Continue to sing along or play along or just keep time. Then turn the volume back up and see if I'm in the right place.

Metronome work out is really where the rubber hits the road.


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Jim S.
post Jul 7 2014, 09:52 PM
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Timing is one aspect I'm working on and I have always played behind the beat or just out of time and there are a few reasons why. The first is I never knew to practice with a metronome.... Secondly, the type of style I was going for allowed a relaxed state.

I do believe that understanding all the different subdivisions is a prerequisite before altering the swing of things. They go hand in hand and I can't wait to practice this exercise. I shall make a video of 1 lick and I'll play it with 3 different fetlings.

Nice topic Ben!

Ken..... I do the same thing!
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Cosmin Lupu
post Jul 8 2014, 03:26 PM
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Here's three of us doing the same thing smile.gif It's called active listening if I am not mistaken and I do it all the time, to the annoyment of the surrounding people. I tend to tap my foot to the ground or tap my nails against something which is at hand. I also sing along and try to create additional voices, as in backing melodies smile.gif

But usually tapping the foot and learning how to count or expose various accents while listening to music, is something I totally recommend, if you want to develop your inner clock smile.gif


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klasaine
post Jul 8 2014, 05:25 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Jul 8 2014, 07:26 AM) *
active listening if I am not mistaken and I do it all the time, to the annoyment of the surrounding people. I tend to tap my foot to the ground or tap my nails against something which is at hand. I also sing along and try to create additional voices, as in backing melodies smile.gif


I will stop (sometimes only for a few seconds) in the middle of a conversation when I hear a song in the background that I like.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Jul 9 2014, 06:34 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Jul 8 2014, 04:25 PM) *
I will stop (sometimes only for a few seconds) in the middle of a conversation when I hear a song in the background that I like.


I am constantly doing this to my mom for instance and I am also getting annoyed by the fact that she is annoyed because I stopped listening to her laugh.gif


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Ben Higgins
post Jul 9 2014, 06:44 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Jul 8 2014, 05:25 PM) *
I will stop (sometimes only for a few seconds) in the middle of a conversation when I hear a song in the background that I like.


Yep. Guilty as charged !

Is it just a musician thing ?


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jstcrsn
post Jul 9 2014, 06:59 PM
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this conversation is ahead of the topic,so,
If I could play on the beat , I could play off the beat , since I can't do either .there lies the question, how to play what I hear ,but yet can't quite get it the way I hear it and can hum it.Example "Rock you like a hurricane" is what I have beenn trying to get 100 %, I can sing the solo, play it without the guitar(if you know what I mean),play along with the song, play along exactly with my recording of it,But things are slightly off.Live - no one would know,But on playback,I can hear my struggles both with timing and bending to pitch.Not that it's much.But , I can't seem to reach that point were I think it's ready for the rec. take. I already know what needs to be done , I just don't know how to correct it?
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Ben Higgins
post Jul 9 2014, 07:39 PM
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QUOTE (jstcrsn @ Jul 9 2014, 06:59 PM) *
Example "Rock you like a hurricane" is what I have beenn trying to get 100 %, I can sing the solo, play it without the guitar(if you know what I mean),play along with the song, play along exactly with my recording of it,But things are slightly off.Live - no one would know,But on playback,I can hear my struggles both with timing and bending to pitch.Not that it's much.But , I can't seem to reach that point were I think it's ready for the rec. take. I already know what needs to be done , I just don't know how to correct it?


From what I remember of that solo, Matthias Jabs is quite creative with his timing so he drags certain notes out so they're behind the beat. If you're trying to play along with his recording of it then it may be a bit hard to do so as it's always hard to replicate somebodey else when they're playing in 'freetime' as it were.

This post has been edited by Ben Higgins: Jul 9 2014, 07:39 PM


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klasaine
post Jul 9 2014, 08:50 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Jul 9 2014, 10:44 AM) *
Yep. Guilty as charged !

Is it just a musician thing ?


I would say it's music 'fan' thing.


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Cosmin Lupu
post Jul 10 2014, 07:54 AM
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I think that the more you listen to and the more you experiment, you develop your ears and sense of rhythm, which are essential for any musician. Regardless of how much theory you know or how fast you play, if you don't have a nice sense of melody, direction and groove, which are the result of constant training in the two things I mentioned above, your music will lack the proverbial 'salt and pepper' smile.gif


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Ben Higgins
post Jul 10 2014, 09:53 AM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Jul 10 2014, 07:54 AM) *
I think that the more you listen to and the more you experiment, you develop your ears and sense of rhythm, which are essential for any musician. Regardless of how much theory you know or how fast you play, if you don't have a nice sense of melody, direction and groove, which are the result of constant training in the two things I mentioned above, your music will lack the proverbial 'salt and pepper' smile.gif


Right on, my man. I've also seen videos of players with exceptional speed and dexterity who cannot use any of that skill in a real solo. They are unable to rhythmically place any of their stuff properly.



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klasaine
post Jul 10 2014, 03:24 PM
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It doesn't mater how much technical facility you possess, playing within an ensemble *in time* is a whole nother world from playing by yourself or even with backing tracks.
Tracks are a VERY controlled situation.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Jul 10 2014, 03:25 PM


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Bogdan Radovic
post Jul 10 2014, 03:34 PM
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Very cool topic and especially interesting and it is something bass players tend to analyse quite a bit.

I'd like to reflect on few things and share some things I realised myself when practicing.

Phrasing :

If we would try to put this on paper (even though the essence of it can't fit that format), the phrasing is roughly a combination of : note choice (melody) + note values (timing) + expression (dynamics, feel, techniques used, effects etc).

Now what happens usually, when we start playing our first improvised solos is that we tend to focus on melody (note choice) primarily. That is perfectly fine as finding the right notes is quite a task on its own. But what I have noticed a lot of beginner/intermediate guitarists do is they tend to be over focused on the notes that they simply forget about the other ingredients : note values/rhythm/timing and expression. In this case, we would often hear a repetitive rhythmic motive played all over the solo or a "flat" sounding solo which utilizes only one or two different note values (for example all 8th notes etc). I'll use the term rhythmic phrasing for this.

Experiment :

- Try playing any notes on the guitar neck in straight quarter or 8th notes for example, you should not worry about any scales. In fact, if you know scales, try to play only the "wrong notes" on purpose. How it sounds?

- Now try to do the exact same thing using the "wrong notes" but playing in a nice groove/rhythm that fits the backing track and compliments it. This time the focus in on a groovy and interesting rhythm with varying note values. The chances are - you got a pretty cool sounding solo right there! Even if you used the "wrong notes".

Why this happens?

Because the rhythm (rhythm phrasing!) is actually more important than the actual notes you choose to play. Listener reacts well on "rhythmic" playing and your performance is automatically considered to be part of the song you are playing if its grooves with the other instruments. Bass players exploit this all the time - heck we have no ideas what scales/notes we are playing half the time, as long as it grooves smile.gif

How to improve your phrasing

As you have probably focused too much on the actual notes you play, try focusing on the rhythmic part exclusively.

Use a short lick that you know how to play well, any one can do and try to record versions of it varying rhythm. For example split a quarter note to two 8th notes. Try to combine note values and see which variations you can get. At first it will be hard to get rid of the original lick timing but this experimentation will give you so many more possibilities (=new licks).

********


Actually, we could use this thread for this experimentation - anyone willing to give it a go, it will be interesting to see what we can get together?

Please share the following concentrating on rhythmic phrasing :

1. Starting lick
2. Variation 1 of the original lick
2. Variation 2 of the original lick

Variations should mostly be rhythmic.

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I'll give it a first try :

1. Original lick : Attached File  Original_lick.mp3 ( 358.37K ) Number of downloads: 23

2. Variation 1 : Attached File  Variation_1.mp3 ( 377.14K ) Number of downloads: 21

3. Variation 2 : Attached File  Variation_2.mp3 ( 527.35K ) Number of downloads: 22


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Ben Higgins
post Jul 10 2014, 04:25 PM
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QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ Jul 10 2014, 03:34 PM) *
Actually, we could use this thread for this experimentation - anyone willing to give it a go, it will be interesting to see what we can get together?

Please share the following concentrating on rhythmic phrasing :

1. Starting lick
2. Variation 1 of the original lick
2. Variation 2 of the original lick


Amen. I agree with everything you said... this is a great idea too ! Who else is up for it ?


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Mith
post Jul 12 2014, 08:50 AM
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I been watch through the whole series you got there ben

Gotta love this blooper

I lol'ed hard

we have all done that before and pretty much the same reaction



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Cosmin Lupu
post Jul 12 2014, 05:16 PM
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Hey guys smile.gif here's my entry for today smile.gif And here's the video with the sax theme that inspired me with this:





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klasaine
post Jul 12 2014, 05:32 PM
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Here's a 'twist' on playing with a backing track ...

Make a track without drums (only bass and keys and maybe a melody). 'You' provide the groove.

Even simpler - when you're working on an 1/8 or 1/16 note lick or line, set your metronome for half notes or whole notes (instead of quarters).

This post has been edited by klasaine: Jul 12 2014, 05:32 PM


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Cosmin Lupu
post Jul 13 2014, 10:15 AM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Jul 12 2014, 04:32 PM) *
Here's a 'twist' on playing with a backing track ...

Make a track without drums (only bass and keys and maybe a melody). 'You' provide the groove.

Even simpler - when you're working on an 1/8 or 1/16 note lick or line, set your metronome for half notes or whole notes (instead of quarters).


Oh, very nice one Ken smile.gif The larger the subdivisions are, the more difficult the groove keeping is, but the greater the freedom, as well. It's all a matter of becoming able to feel the groove.


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Ben Higgins
post Jul 13 2014, 10:19 AM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Jul 12 2014, 05:16 PM) *


That's a great melody !


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