How Can I Develop Better Rhythm and Timing On Guitar?

How Can I Develop Better Rhythm and Timing On Guitar?

A lot of guitar players tell me that they understand guitar music theory, scales and soloing, but they struggle with rhythms and timing. They often ask for advice on developing good rhythm and time. I hope to produce instructional material that deals with developing rhythm and timing someday. Until then, I recommend guitarists learn the basics of reading music.

Learning about note values, rests, time signatures, counting and foot tapping can really help your playing, even if you don’t plan to sight read much. I’d try to get through Mel Bay grades 1, 2 and 3 or something similar. Be sure to use the companion DVDs and play along CDs that are available for the books.

Also, it might be worth working with an experienced instructor since standard musical notation may be completely foreign to you. You want to make sure you’re doing it right and not reinforcing any bad habits. I hope this helps.

What has helped you improve your rhythm and timing? Leave comments and let me know.

Guitar Theory

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Play Until Yer Fingers Bleed!
Mr. Desi Serna

Comments ( 3 )

  • Thanks for the comments. I have often thought that a resource for helping guitar players develop good time and rhythm is needed. I hope to offer something like that someday. Cross your fingers!

  • Paul

    I’ve been playing rhythm guitar since the early ’80’s and timing really has never been too difficult for me with rhythm parts. When I recently decided to work on learning leads, however, timing became an issue. What I do is take what I want to learn and if it’s on paper (tab or standard notation) I write out 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 at the top of the bar I’m working on and break it down in eighths or sixteenths from there, counting ever “and-ah” as I play slowly.

    If it’s a recording, I use Adobe Audition to loop the section I want and play along with the software’s metronome – again, slowly.

    I like your idea of going back to Mel Bay and learning to read the notes by sight.

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