Guitar Techniques - - Talk Back - STAR LET­TER PRIZE Our friends at Sound Tech­nol­ogy are donat­ing a fab Digi-Tech Hard-Wire pedal to our Star Let­ter writer ev­ery month.

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

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