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How can I fix this strange timing problem?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by MickeyMickey, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. MickeyMickey


    Dec 17, 2005
    All of this semester, I've been very dilligent about practicing everyday in order to inrease my 16th note chromatic speeds. However, today I realized I might be running into a problem.

    When I practice, I practice to a drum machine which plays a kick drum on every beat and a cowbell-type sound on every 16th note. I'll play a bunch of chromatic scales going all the way up the neck while keeping time to this beat.

    Today I tried to do it without the 16th notes in the beat to keep track, and here's where the problem comes in. When I play at the upper limit of my speed exercises, my 16th notes come off with a kind of swing timing to them. If I concentrate I can get them to be straight 16th notes but it's difficult. I'm wondering if I should start practicing without the 16th notes on the drum machine so I can pay more attention to the spacing of my 16th notes? The whole reason why I practice to the beat with 16th notes was to get better timing with my 16th notes in the first place.

    Has anybody else run into this kind of problem?
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    You said it..."Concentrate" & stay focused.
    A workout analogy: To me, the ones that focus on what they're doing at the gym seem to get better results than the ones that mindlessly watch the TV or zone out on their iPod...just an observation over the years.
  3. Yes!

    If you practice with a click for every note, you will use the click as a crutch. The way to improve is to drop every other click, and drop the speed, get your timing right, and then bring the speed up slowly. Then drop out every other click, drop the speed ... That way, you will get down to one click per bar, and your focussed mind will be putting the other fifteen notes in at the right places.
  4. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    i am just now starting to play along with a metronome and using slow BPMs with a click on the beat only, it was pretty tough to get it right. i am working hard at it myself though others seem to pick it up quicker. precision only comes through hard work though. :)
  5. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    I think I read in one of Ed Friedland's books to put the metronome on different beats. Traditionally I would put it on 2 and 4. Then put the beats on 1 and 3, then on 1 only or 2 only, 4 only etc etc. Heck you could even put the beats on + of 2 and 4. The other thing to do is to practice very slowly and build up.
  6. tappingtrance

    tappingtrance Cooke Harvey Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2005
    That is right - you get reliant on the heavy beats and push or pull the 2 and 4 so practice with the gnome on 2 and 4 -
  7. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    +1 on this. Ed has some really useful and practical ideas for metronome use. His books are worth it.

    In the end the difference between an alright musician and a great one is how they handle the sub-divisions of the beat. Thats where the style and feel and accuracy are. It's not just feeling the difference between divisions of 2 and 3 but far more complex shades of subdivision... you don't have to know what they are, but you do have react to them musically.

    In the end, good technique ISN'T how many notes you can play in a period of time. Good technique is putting the right note in the right place in the right way.
  8. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    one of the things my instructor has shown me is to use the metronome also hitting on the 2 nd beat, then start so that it is hitting on the third beat, then the fourth beat. not changing the metronome settings at all, just adjusting each time that a scale or whatever starts so that you land on the appropriate beat.
  9. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Assymetrical sixteenths are sometimes the result of one finger being stronger than the other. If you're unintentionally swinging sixteenth notes, you may want to change up your RH fingering pattern so that you lead the exercise with your "weaker" finger.
  10. MickeyMickey


    Dec 17, 2005
    Well today I'm practicing with just a metronome hitting the quarter notes. Now I'm doing my speed exercises 30bpm slower than usual to make my timing more precise. I think I'll try putting the metronome on the 2+4 eventually, but for now I'll just try without 16th notes.

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