Help Keeping Guitarists In Time & My first practice experience

harryconway

Platinum Member
You and the bass lock in, and stay there. The guitar player, he may pull it together, he may not. Only time will tell.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
I've played w/ a couple of guys like this. I'd say you'd save yourself a lot of frustration and just find someone who can stay in time. If he's receptive to constructive criticism, you could just politely point out his problem and maybe ask him to practice w/ a metronome on his own time.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
DrumeatDrum had good advise, it was only the first rehearsal. Just play it cool for now, see how it unfolds.
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
you could try slowing down the tempo. your guitarist might find it easier to stay in time if the music is slower.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Sounds like a bad situation.

On the other hand, you mentioned it's your 1st time all playing together. Perhaps he was just nervous. Some times it takes a few rehearsals for things to gel. He might get better with a few more rehearsals.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Zoot, great story about the kit ha ha, sorry, but it's classic pay your dues BS.
About the guitarist situation, tough one. As the drummer, you really can't be adjusting for the guitar player. You have to be rock solid and let him screw it up, so he can learn how much time he has to fit all his notes in. It would be great if he was open minded enough to be able to accept help on his time from you, but guitarists have a way of getting their panties in a twist when a drummer tries to "correct" them. So it depends on the kind of person he is. Lock with the bass, and let the guitarist adapt, it's really the only way. Hopefully the guy is open to suggestions, but don't count on it. Try and feel him out before offering any tips, if he doesn't seem like the heeding type, it's probably a waste of time and will strain that relationship.
 
So with that, I need to know if it's worth working with him to get him in time, or if he is a lost cause? What are some suggestions to keep guitarists in time and making sure that if the measure calls for 4 beats, that he is not running eighth, quarter, or sometimes full beats over and being late on the count. I will need to do a better job of learning each 'part' of the song so I can stop him when it happens and break it down into pieces and work on just a few measures at a time, but any advice you have to help keep him in time would be greatly appreciated.
It depends on how comfortable you are with yourself. You can learn a lot from playing with people worse than you, but you can learn a lot more with people better than you. If you feel you have a good sense of time, dynamics, and listening, I would recommend looking for better players.
Other musicians LOVE drummers who will lay back and listen. A few years ago when I started playing with people, I had terrible chops. I pretty much just played different phrasings of really simple fills and simple beats with 8th notes on the hi-hat. I ended up playing with guys WAY better than me because it's apparently really difficult to find a drummer who is concerned with playing what fits and preserving the groove. I learned more than those guys than I have from any teacher, book, or video.
On the other hand, if you're not comfortable looking for guys above your level, as awful as this sounds, you may want to use your current band as a stepping stone. Play with them until you feel at home in a band setting and then look for something new since it sounds like they aren't going anywhere.

If you can't/don't want to find a new band, work with your guitar player and let him know what mistakes he is making. You can gauge his dedication to the band from how much effort he puts into correcting his mistakes. If he doesn't try to fix his mistakes, it may be time to look for a new lead player.
 

ZootELoops

Senior Member
Normally I would agree, but in my area, it seems finding other like-minded musicians is a difficult task. I have continuously posted on craigslist and searched the forums for people. As it is, these guys cant commit to a regular practice session and live almost an hour away from me.

I just want to play with people, so half of me is not worried if he needs more help/practice, but the other half of me agrees with you in that I need to find people that are at least equal if not better than me. I know I will learn and grow just playing with people in general and I'm not trying to go out and gig, but just have fun and jam at this point.
 

rmandelbaum

Platinum Member
My take in it is this, if you are at the point where you can keep decent time, and it sounds like you are. You need to find players at the same level or better then yourself.
 

ZootELoops

Senior Member
I had my first group practice yesterday.. boy, was it an experience. Let me tell you about it and then I can get to my question.

So we rented space in a recording studio here in VA. It cost us $30/hr for 3 hours. I called the owner a day in advance to ask what he had in the way of drums and he told me that they were in great shape - all I needed to bring was my cymbals, a drum key, a high-hat clutch and sticks - the rest would be provided.

So, I packed what I thought I needed, plus my bass pedal, throne and a mini fan. I got to the space and was absolutely shocked at what I saw. First, it was absolutely disgusting, so much that I have seen roadside bathrooms that were cleaner. I was afraid to touch anything let alone set my bag on the ground. It was skeezy! Calling it a $#!t-hole would have been a compliment. The rugs were stained and looked like they hadnt been vacuumed in over 20 years. The amps & equipment was torn and damaged. The room smelled of mold, mildew and urine. The drums (if you could call them that), were broken with heads that were easily 5 years old. On top of that, the cymbal stands didnt have top nuts and my clutch didnt fit the hi-hat stand. To make a long story short, I basically played on the rim/ping ride to keep tempo and the snare and bass only. Needless to say, it made for an interesting experience. I kept thinking to myself that I would have been better off beating on a 5 gallon bucket and a milk crate! It was so sad it was funny and I pretty much laughed through the entire practice. Fortunately for me, any expectations as far as my performance was concerned was out the window, so I could just sit back and have fun.

So meeting the guys was also interesting. The bass player seemed to be pretty good and we jived pretty well, but the guitarist was more worried about squeezing in each and every note exactly as he learned it from the CD, rather than staying in time. I found myself having to adjust my beat to accommodate for his 'extended' riffs, with no regard for beats per measure. We were all over the place and there would be times where the bass player and I would be playing in sync and he would be off doing his own thing. He said it had to do with being nervous, but I think he was just trying to be too perfect and couldnt keep up at normal tempo.

So with that, I need to know if it's worth working with him to get him in time, or if he is a lost cause? What are some suggestions to keep guitarists in time and making sure that if the measure calls for 4 beats, that he is not running eighth, quarter, or sometimes full beats over and being late on the count. I will need to do a better job of learning each 'part' of the song so I can stop him when it happens and break it down into pieces and work on just a few measures at a time, but any advice you have to help keep him in time would be greatly appreciated.
 
Top