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  1. #1

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    I have an area of my playing I want to fix. When I play a chord solo, my time is fine during the “arranged” part, but when I start improvising, I know I am unsteady — slowing and/or speeding up. When I record myself and check w. metronome I can verify this. I don’t want to drag or speed up for no musical reason — it’s sloppy and makes the arrangement sound weaker.

    I don’t think practicing with a metronome is the answer. (do you?) I want to strengthen my internal time feel so that I have control over it during chord melodies. Anyone have success addressing this type of issue? I’d appreciate suggestions.

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  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rsilver
    I don’t think practicing with a metronome is the answer..
    Why not?

  4. #3

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    Practice with a metronome until you no longer need to. There are no shortcuts to musicianship.

  5. #4

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    Are you referring to solo guitar? Just you?

    Besides metronome work, and this may seem obvious but are you tapping your foot when
    going to your improvised part to help yourself keep time? I’m no expert nor great player but when I start improvising on a chord melody arrangement I have this awareness of an internal groove/beat/clock in my mind that I am playing to.

  6. #5
    Because I want the metronome to be internal. I do fine w a metronome; I want to internalize the groove; not depend on an external source. And I can’t use a metronome when performing.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    There are no shortcuts to musicianship.
    I am not looking for shortcuts to musicianship.

  8. #7
    I have the same problem myself! My rhythm tends to get a little, "free", if I don't watch out. I also hate playing with a metronome. Kinda feels like training wheels, almost.

    The thing is though, you can't really play rubato if you haven't fully internalized straight rhythm. And if it isn't there, it needs to be drilled in.

    Perhaps you could play to a minimal drum track? Maybe part of the issue is that the metronome doesn't sound very musical to the point of feeling artificial.

  9. #8

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    I get where you are coming from. I had problems playing syncopated parts. I could not get them correct on the right beats, But I could fall right back in to the normal beat when it was time to do so. I had to practice alot to get it correct. I would start off at the normal cadence and only do one bar of syncopated then go back to the normal beat, and once I had that down I would do it with more then one bar of the syncopated before going back to the standard cadence.

  10. #9

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    A metronome is always the answer. Even when we tap our foot, we can change our speed.

    Having said that, a lot of music changes speeds. I am not as sure about jazz music, but rock drummers always speed up during exciting parts. If there is no click-track, it's probably not a very steady tempo. When you listen to something live, chances are, the speed is constantly changing. So, could you just be over-critical of your own playing?

  11. #10
    A metronome is very important in my view. I'd go as far as saying you shouldn't really practice without one. It does more than keep you in time, it puts a spotlight on those weak areas that all-to-often are passed over when you don't use one. It also speeds up the learning process several fold.

    The other very important factor to help keep an even tempo is familiarity. If you are trying stuff out for the first time your focus will not be on time. When you are very familiar with the changes and have well-mapped out ideas of what you are going to play, focus can them be adjusted, not just to time but also the most important aspect of all, which is 'feel'.

    A little trick some players use is movement. Tapping a foot is an obvious one, but rocking back and forth or circling motions with the upper body, which Joe Pass used to do. Pat Martino pivots or rotates from left to right, even with a full band.

    Just my tuppence worth.