In the first part of our article on improving your sense of timing we described how you should use a metronome to improve your technique. In the second part of our article we’ll give you some exercises to try and incorporate into your practice routine.

1/ Hit that note!

Select a tempo for your metronome and try to play a note (any note will do), aim to hit that note once per beat. You’ll need to pick the string exactly the same time as the click of the metronome. When your comfortable with this exercise try it at different tempo’s. A slower tempo is more difficult and will greatly improve your sense of tempo.

2/ Scales!

Get your fingers stretching, choose a scale to practice and play it in sync with your metronome. Firstly play up the scale then down the scale each time making sure it happens exactly on the beat. Practice this at different tempos and at different positions along the neck.

3/ Mix it up!

This exercise will help you stop a note in time. Set the metronome a bit faster – go on faster still. This time use any note or chord, but this time we’re going to pick on the first beat and then release the note (make the note stop) on the next beat. Now try this exercise when playing scales.

4/ 8th, 16th and triplets!

Now let’s try something a little more tricky. For this exercise we’ll divide the basic beat. Set your metronome to a medium temp and before you play any notes count in the 8th notes half way between each beat (for example one And two And three And four And where the And represents the 8th note), now play your note or scale using these 8th notes. Now try 16th notes (count one e and a two e and a three e and a four e and a) your picking should be down up-down-up when playing these. Once this is mastered try triplets, which are 3 notes per beat (try counting one two three with the one on each beat).

5/ Arpeggios

Now try playing arpeggios – Arpeggios is a term to describe notes of a certain chord when played quickly one after the other. In this exercise try alternating your pick strokes or the chord shape – try playing the same chord arpeggio at different places on the neck to a quick tempo.

6/ Chords

Finally select a chord sequence – say a 12 bar blues – using different strumming patterns and different tempos try to maintain an even rhythm ensuring that you keep in time to with the metronomes click.

That’s all basic timing practice; you can practise any exercise, scale or song to the metronome. Make sure that you incorporate some of these exercises into your next practice session.

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Filed under: Guitar Lessons

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