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Compact Diss

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How do you feel about time? Did it come naturally to you or was there a learning curve? I've been in lessons and have learned to play "smells like teen spirit" by Nirvana. The problem is the timing, how did you get this part of music? I have sat for some time practicing along with a metronome just strumming, 1234, 1and2and3and4, 1e+a, you get the picture. Any advice. I also listen closely when I hear music now and try to get the bpm down. I am also using a drum machine to practice timing. Once again, any advice is appreciated.




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Yes, I've always had trouble with it too.


When my grandfather tried to teach me Coronet (short, stubby trumpet), I had trouble trying to do the timing of a piece until I just let my foot follow what I "knew" the time to be (my mouth and fingers never could).


I do the same with the guitar. As a matter of fact, the book I'm working out of now starts out with the time, and I've found the same thing to be true again. MAYBE, starting real slow will help, I'll let you know.


Dave the Un-Coordinated One

Gotta' geetar... got the amp. There must be SOMEthing else I... "need".
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Time always came naturally to me. But that doesn't also mean I haven't had to work on it quite a bit too. I never HEARD anyone complaining about my time. But I knew I could improve. Well I take that back. There were a couple of guys who rightfully complained. Naturalness can only take you so far.


I worked and still work with a metronome. I used to do an exercise where I thought and played in the various subdivisions: quarter. 8ths, the various triplets, 16ths notes, etc.. Always being aware of what the subdivisions were. But the time has to be internal rather than external. You have to feel it in your chest rather than hearing something outside of yourself and try to keep up. It calls for DUPLICATING the time/rhythm internally and ultimately being creative with it.


So yes, I'd recommend starting out very slow to the point where keeping up is not a problem. Maybe where it's uncomfortably slow at first. Make sure you're relaxed. Don't tense your muscles. Gradually, over time, increase the tempo till each increase is comfortable. But also don't get caught in a zone. Try to vary the metronome some. Try alternating, just to break things up once in awhile. Try for the outer reaches of your technique. Faster than you can comfortably go. Then bring it back down again. You don't want to get stuck in a time zone.


Also be sure to play songs and find their proper metronome marking and practice at those tempos. Sometimes there are in-between tempos that just kick your ass. Not too fast, not too slow. But just wrong.

All the best,


Henry Robinett

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