View Full Version : My rhythm sucks, help!

07-20-2004, 01:49 AM
I must have the worst rhythm in the world. I have trouble keeping a good rhythm playing songs with friends and by myself. I desperately need to get better if I hope to ever play in my friends' band. Does anyone have any tips that would help me improve my rhythm? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

07-20-2004, 03:22 AM
My best advice is to use a metronome. As well as playing the songs in time, try counting the beats, i:e for 16th notes, between each beat try get an even subdivison into four notes, so click(1) 2 3 4 click(1) 2 3 4. Try this with different notes in different subdivisons. And dont try go faster if you cant get timing right- but when you do, try speeding it up, although you will probably find, extremely slow is hard to divide to!

07-20-2004, 03:13 PM
when I was starting out I had the same problem. Using a metronome really does help. You can find a metronome at my site if you don't have one. Also if you go into the Lesson Zone you will find 16 basic rhythm patterns that might help you out too.

08-04-2004, 02:13 PM
Just make sure you think actively about playing every note in its right place when using the metronome. I improved quickly when I did this.

08-04-2004, 03:22 PM
Yup..that's what metronomes are good for. In portuguese we have a saying that goes something like "To be on top of the potato"...dunno a similar expression in english but it pretty much sums up the usefulness of the metronome when acquiring rythmic concepts.
I myself feel a lot more at ease dividing rythms, feeling the rythm and so on since I bought a metronome...
Buy one...fast...

08-04-2004, 09:24 PM
It makes it possible to push your limits regarding speed as well, since you can make incremental increases in tempo, which you couldn't do when using your sense of rhythm alone. Also, you get a clear measure of how fast you are able to play different passages. Nice, huh? :)

Caffeinated Cat
08-24-2004, 02:31 PM
I like using the metronome but also tapping my foot. Maybe have the metronome click four times per bar and tap my foot 4 times per metronome beat (in 4/4 time). Of course you could always just set the metronome to click 16 times per bar, but besides being unpleasant to listen to such frantic clicking, it makes you pay more attention to the beat when your foot is counting it out. I know, I always thought tapping your foot was something that only old codgers do when they play folk tunes or something, but it really does help, even with heavy metal. A lot of stuff sounds really cool if you hit it on the precise subdivision of the beat, and just sort of "yeah, whatever" if you're not accurate with it.

08-24-2004, 06:16 PM
I started playing the drums, my rythym has improved on the guitar.

09-05-2004, 10:17 AM
;)Metronome or drum machine definitely, but it is also a cool idea to record yourself and you can listen back work and out exactly where u lose it. May help u to figure out if particular chord changes or techniques are hindering u, then you'll know what may need more practice to help your rhythm. For me there is a direct link between technique and rhythm. The better able I am to pull off a particular technique, the less I have to concentrate on getting the techniques right and can concentrate on the groove.

09-27-2004, 08:32 PM
Don't try to think about the rhythm, try feeling it instead. That's what helped me. Metronomes are very, very helpful also.

10-01-2004, 12:29 AM
you can download metronomes on the internet to which play midi drums for the beat, and if you buy it ( the one i have at least ) you can change alot of settings like the sounds etc. Although you have to have the pc in the same room that you practice in and the monitor makes an annoying hum through your pickups.

10-07-2004, 12:23 PM
There is a good way to practice rhythm. Turn on the metronome, put your guitar away and stand up. Start walking at one place to the speed of the metronome, one click one step.

Then start clapping 8th notes.

Count: 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 (counting, loud or at least in your mind)
Hands: x x x x x x x x (clapping)
Feet : L R L R (walking)

// After a while switch to 'offbeats' and leave out the first 8th:

Count: 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2
Hands: x x x x
Feet : L R L R

// Another pattern:

Count: 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2
Hands: x x x x x x
Feet : L R L R

// Or triplets:

Count: 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3
Hands: x x x x x x x x x x x x
Feet : L R L R

Count: 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3
Hands: x x x x x x x x
Feet : L R L R

Count: 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3
Hands: x x x x x x
Feet : L R L R

// 16th:

Count: 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Hands: x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Feet : L R L R

// '3 against 4'

Count: 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Hands: x x x x x x x x
Feet : L R L R L R

// or ...
Count: 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
Hands: x x x x x x
Feet : L R L R

At first this way to practice might sound silly (hey, I am a guitarist not a cheerleader), but it's a VERY good way to develope a good time feel, and to learn how to hear and feel different rhythm patterns. Memorizing, feeling and recognizing different patterns will help your guitar playing a lot.

Sorry for the PHP-Codestyle, but that seemed to be the only way to keep the format of the posting ;)

10-07-2004, 02:37 PM
wahoo.. great first post piazza!

i can see some people dancing buckethead licks :D

10-07-2004, 02:54 PM
i can see some people dancing buckethead licks :D
Now that would be something I'd pay for to see :)

10-07-2004, 02:56 PM
hmm.. i'd rather pay for cheerleaders playing guitar....

... they was a guitarplaying cheerleaderband called "phantom blue" back in the 80's 90's..
oh dear.. i am not related ;-)

11-05-2004, 05:19 AM
I have the same type of problem. When I'm playing a straight solo like Paganini or something with just linear 16th or 8th notes, I'm good to go, but I can't rest at all. I come in a beat too early or a beat too late. A metronome never helped me with this problem, but it's still good to use one to learn linear timing. I'm attending G.I.T. in 5 and a half months and I still can't time rests for hell. I'm in some real trouble! I hope you fix your problem though. Maybe you could get a teacher?

11-05-2004, 09:38 AM
Funky, or anything syncopated, music is obviously the stuff to use.

Try rhythm reading some funky stuff (ignore the pitch information) storing that in your head. Then in the next day when sitting down at work, on the toilet etc., like Piazza said, tap the foot on the beat and tap the rhythm with a hand (on your knee is quieter than on your desk or clapping - unless you want your office to think you've gone insane). Then you concentrate on just that, and get that right in time otherwise wasted. When you come back to the pitch part you already have the rhythm down. Look for funk stuff with more gaps as opposed to solid patterns of strokes and muting. (for stuff with a lot of muted strokes I simulate those with taps on one hand and the on notes with taps on the other).

Now, I'm not mister super tight (yet) but this approach certainly helped me a lot and if JB makes the call I'll be ready (not!).

Bongo Boy
11-07-2004, 03:36 AM
Does anyone have any tips that would help me improve my rhythm? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.Please understand that I'm not a musician, have never played with a band, and can barely dance.

So...here's some advice. :D

I stick in a CD of Cuban/Afro-Cuban stuff, snuggle up next to the congas, and try to play along. You can do this with a set of cheap bongos or even a cheap clave. It's a bitch. You learn a lot.

11-07-2004, 04:08 AM
Here is a link to an article (http://www.ibreathemusic.com/article/32) that Guni did on rhythm that essentially outlines the method that Piazza posted earlier. Guni's article helped me quite a bit when I was trying to wrap my head around rhythm.

Also, Phantom -- I was a cheerleader in high school, if you'd like an 8x10 glossy of me with my guitar send $19.99 check or money order to the address on your screen, call now and I'll throw in a few wallets also.


11-07-2004, 05:28 AM
I find that singing out the rhythmn really helps too even better than clapping/tapping for me at least. I feel that singing out the rhythmn gives u a better groove.