Feeling the beat: Test and improve your time feel now!

Aebersold Vol.114 Good Time

Aebersold Vol.114 Good Time

A sense of time and the ability to play with good time are the most important aspect of musicianship. This sounds like a bold statement, but it is true. Right or Wrong notes are a matter of taste and exposure, but hearing somebody playing with bad time cuts through bone and marrow. We all have to be drummers and place our notes in the exact right spots! Spend some time working on time (nice eh!). Today I would like to share an exercise I devised for my students (and for myself). Here goes:

The Ultimate Challenge Time Feel Play-Along mp3 Exercise

This MP3 play-along is entirely in the key of G minor. It alternates groove (à la Herbie Hancock) with breaks. Your task is to play through the breaks. Chords, single-note lines, whatever subdivisions, poly-rhythms, cross rhythms, etc. that you wish. When the groove begins again, you will know if you played in good time or not. The catch is that the breaks get longer and longer. Hahahaha. Evil right. Actually, this really helps you focus on your time. Good time is what separates a good player from a great player.

Here is an example of myself playing over it.
The approach I use is to be more concerned with time than the actual notes and chords I am playing. Play one note with different rhythms over the entire exercise if you want. Remember what you are working on. Also don’t get frustrated if you can’t get synchronized, just keep trying and you will improve. You should also record yourself doing this exercise, it can reveal loads of issues that can be addressed.

Now it’s your turn:
TIME Challenge 1

Learn More

I have a bunch of other exercises that I will be posting in the future, but in the mean time here are resources for you to check out.

Good Time!: “Improve Your Time & Harmonic Awareness” (Book & 4 CDs) (Play-A-Long Series, Volume 114): This is a great play along. There are a bunch of tunes that are presented with different instrumentation. Real fun and real good for you (like bran).

The Guitarist’s Guide to Composing and Improvising Book/CD: This is perhaps one of the most creative books I have ever read. There is great information on time and how to develop it. Also much more information on chords, lines, composing ideas and everything in between. A must for any serious guitar player!

Band-in-a-Box Pro 2011: I have been using Band-in-a-Box for years. I use it to practice tunes, for composition, to create exercises for my students and for myself and about a dozen other things. Great tool to have.

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2 Responses to Feeling the beat: Test and improve your time feel now!

  1. Eric Nicklas says:

    Thank you for this lesson. Very helpful. I have always struggled with steady time. This is a great wait to develop this important skill.

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