T- T- T- TIMING!
I’ve just received the latest issue ( I’m a subscriber so I get it a few days early) and the Perfect Your Timing feature was a shocker! I was actually stunned at how poor my timekeeping really was, when tested against your tracks and metronome clicks. I too suffered from ‘ rushing ahead’ syndrome and just couldn’t stop my internal clock from speeding up. I also read in your editorial about hunched shoulders and holding one’s breath when taking a solo – that was me, and I had never realised it.
So, I’ve been going through Jon Bishop’s examples with a determined and critical ear, and I’m actually seeing results. I’m not perfect yet – far from it, and of course I’ve only had the magazine a short time – but I now have a handle on my problem and know what I have to do. Having a few milliseconds more to relax into one’s playing makes an incredible amount of difference – when I get it right, I feel I have all the time in the world to play my parts. It’s horrible when you’re chasing the beat or having to cram, as you said yourself, ‘ badly played notes’ in, when with a bit of relaxation and ‘ groove’ it all falls into place beautifully. As I say, I’m not there yet, but at least I now recognise where I’ve been going wrong and can hopefully address the problem. Simon Morgan I’m glad Jon’s feature awoke you to the problems in your playing so you can address them, Simon. A couple of further suggestions might also help. I remember reading an interview with the amazing Tommy Emmanuel where he talked about doing the ‘ washing machine dance’. Essentially, as a kid he used to dance around the kitchen playing the guitar ( he started at the age of three!) in time with his mother’s washing machine as it went through its cycles. Watch Tommy today and he does the same thing – moving his whole body in time with the music and tapping his feet, too Years ago, I was doing a rhythm guitar session and struggling with keeping regular time. I was sitting on a chair and after a few bad takes, the bass player came over and whispered in my ear: “If you’re going to sit down to play, rock in the chair in time with the music.” Amazingly, I did so and it all fell into place. The theory being if your whole body is moving in sync with a beat, it’s harder for your arms, hands and fingers to move outside of this overall rhythm. It may not be scientific or even infallible, but in my experience it’s a great help – try it!
Tommy Emmanuel: impeccable timekeeping