Guitar Techniques - - Contents - Neville Marten, Edi­tor neville.marten@fu­turenet.com

Nev dis­cusses the im­por­tance of good tim­ing.

I’ve had is­sues with my tim­ing in re­cent years. As a younger chap, with the con­fi­dence of an age where things have come to­gether and youth­ful self-be­lief car­ries you through most things, I played with ease and didn’t rush it.

For some rea­son, as I’ve got older I’ve lost a lot of that play­ing con­fi­dence and can get ner­vous of sit­u­a­tions - a big up­com­ing solo, some­one im­por­tant watch­ing, or what­ever - and the first thing that goes is my tim­ing. I start to panic and end up cram­ming poorly played notes in, rather than re­lax­ing and giv­ing my­self time to do it prop­erly.

Were I to take my own ad­vice I’d de­velop a regime that in­volved learn­ing re­lax­ation tech­niques, and do­ing var­i­ous play­ing ex­er­cises that gave me enough head­room, and time, to play with the con­fi­dence and ease with which I used to.

If you find yourself fac­ing sim­i­lar strug­gles (or un­til now hadn’t recog­nised your own prob­lems as be­ing tim­ing based), then Jon Bishop’s main fea­ture this month is for you.

Us­ing a metronome or click track (if you don’t have a metronome there are many smart­phone apps that pro­vide a click), Jon has de­vised a set of ex­er­cises that are in­ter­est­ing and re­ward­ing to play, but which also test your abil­ity to do so in time. Rush­ing ahead is one of we gui­tarists’ com­mon­est faults, and if you fall into that cat­e­gory this is a great way to train yourself out of bad habits.

It’s also worth point­ing out a cou­ple of other things: do you find yourself tens­ing up, per­haps hunch­ing your shoul­ders and not let­ting your whole body re­lax? If so, make an ef­fort to drop your arms and loosen yourself up. And do you breathe slowly and steadily while you play? Weirdly, some people hold their breath when it comes to that big mo­ment - this, and the hunched shoul­ders, is a sure give­away that you are not re­laxed. And if that’s the case your chances of play­ing a cool and in-time rhythm part or solo, are right out of the win­dow! I’d love to get some feed­back about Jon’s ar­ti­cle once read­ers have had a chance to prac­tise the ex­er­cises. I’ll let you know how I get on, too. See you next month...

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