Keeping the tempo

DevonWelch

Member
Hey guys, I just realized after watching a few of my bands videos that we recorded and my tempo was a bit fast, well not HORRIBLY fast but, I mean definitely to fast for that song. When we're playing up there it does not feel like i'm going fast at all! it just feels natural and I get so into the song near the end with the solo and everything it just is soooo fast compared to the start of the song.

I really really want to have great timing and don't get me wrong my timing is not bad, it's actually decent, but there are certain songs that I just get so into.

What do you guys do to keep your timing moderate and right? I mean some natural techniques I don't want to get the metronome at the moment maybe in the future, but i'd prefer having good timing without it.

I know I have it in me to have good timing, because if I really focus on it or have a faint clicker in the background while jamming out I can keep on it without problems, it's only on certain really rocking songs that's I go out aha, it just takes a little focus really to keep on the tempo.

But are there any ways to practice to improve your timing overall? Thanks for your time.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
This may not be exactly what you want to hear but just bear with me.

The best way of developing natural timing is to use a metronome in practice. It may not seem like the 'natural' thing to do but great players use the metronome as a reference and are absolutely capable of humanising it. If you listen to a really great player, they will sound natural and entirely human even with a metronome. The only way to get that proficiency is to practice with one as much as possible.

As for speeding up in songs, it's actually not a problem. If you have the ability to do it at will and you are aware of it, you are in a much stronger position than if it were happening by accident. You have to remember that music is about communication and energy and if that means your intensity drives you to be faster, that's not an issue - as long as you can play in time when it's necessary to.
 

DevonWelch

Member
@BacteriumFendYoke: Haha, :) that was actually very help full, and yes I've been beating on a practice pad lately doing some doubles, or just straight out 16 notes with each hand to improve speed, I always do this with a metronome. I should use my e-kits metronome more, but I should note I jam to hundreds of songs, it's just fun, i'm not sure if this helps tempo.

@Flowingwave: i'll definitely check that out, don't have a ipod/iphone currently though..
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I really really want to have great timing and don't get me wrong my timing is not bad, it's actually decent, but there are certain songs that I just get so into.....
I totally used to do the same thing, get into it too much. The answer that worked for me is I had to not let myself get into it as much. It's like a brewmaster getting drunk on the beer and ruining the product. I had to keep my head and emotionally distance myself a bit from it. This had the effect of sounding like I was into it. It's backwards.

.......What do you guys do to keep your timing moderate and right? I mean some natural techniques I don't want to get the metronome at the moment maybe in the future, but i'd prefer having good timing without it.
You can have good timing without the met. That requires first working with the met lol. The quicker you break out the evil metro-gnome, the quicker your timing will improve. You need to pound into your head what steady meter sounds like. Only a metronome can do that flawlessly for you. If you are serious about drumming, ignoring the met is like postponing the inevitable.

I love metronome practice. It WILL even you out. After a month, if you don't say that working with the met was the best thing you've ever done for your playing, I'll eat my proverbial hat.
 

DevonWelch

Member
I love metronome practice. It WILL even you out. After a month, if you don't say that working with the met was the best thing you've ever done for your playing, I'll eat my proverbial hat.
Haha, I for SURE will practice with the met now, but what do you guys recommend practicing just like any groove, beat?

Anything in particular that is really good to practice to the met?

And as for just getting into the song, I feel it sounds better/more intense if you know what I mean,
It does lose some of it's feel and you notice it's rushing a bit though.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Mis-perception of tempo is a fairly common occurence. That is, tempos tend to be faster than we think they are as we're playing them. Not quite sure why that is, but most musicians are aware of it. If you're playing something and the tempo seems bright, it's usually too fast from the listener's pov.

There are two solutions. Either establish realistic tempos for the songs. note their BPM, and use a metronome to give you that tempo to for your countoffs (you don't need to play to the click, holding the tempo is your job anyway.) Or, 'play' the upcoming song in your head so that feels a little lazy, then count it off. That usually results in a more realistic, less-frantic tempo for the listener.

Bermuda
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
What do you guys do to keep your timing moderate and right? I mean some natural techniques I don't want to get the metronome at the moment maybe in the future, but i'd prefer having good timing without it.
The natural way to develop good timing is to play with a metronome indeed... Use it to develop your sense of timing as much as you can, the more you play with it, the better your inner clock will become, with and without a metronome.

But are there any ways to practice to improve your timing overall? Thanks for your time.
Play along some CD's of your fav music/bands/artists.

The more you play with a time reference, the better you'll become at time keeping.

It's pretty difficult to know what speed you're driving a car without a speedometer, it gives you that reference in relation to the speed limit, but after a while, town driving at 30mph becomes natural, you don't even glance at the speedo, but when you do you're doing the right speed, it's what the metronome will do to your timing.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Playing anything to a met will help you. I'd say just pick whatever you want to play, and just see if you can do it. If you don't do it perfectly the first time, well there's your starting place. It's a taskmaster that metronome.

Believe it or not, for at least 6 months, my metronome practice consisted of the very simplest thing I could think of:

Setting the met to 40 BPM and doing one hit per click, alternating hands, attempting to "bury" the click. On a real snare drum. At your kit, preferably. For at least one hour straight. That's the important part. Sometimes it took me 30 minutes just to clear my head. Then the last 30 minutes were amazing. Something happens when you do something that repetitive, that slow, for that long. It has to be experienced to be understood.

You have no idea how much this improved my timing, off the charts. It morphed into a meditation exercise where I would focus on the sound of the sympathetic reverberation of the rest of my kit. I would also stare and "defocus" at the dirt pattern on my coated snare drum head and in my meditation, images would emerge from the randomness. It's a very Zen type of exercise that I really liked. I would sometimes go for 2 hours straight. I would alternate between counting 16ths, to eighths, to not counting anything and just feeling where my hit should land. That was the coolest part, no counting.

But practice anything you want to the metronome. Make it fun for yourself. It's the best thing you will ever do for your playing, (besides recording your gigs) guaranteed.
 

Funk

Member
hey hey, the same thing happens to me, its the adrenaline playing tricks on ya! its not too big of a deal to play a tune a little faster than rehearsed, as long as you keep steady and aren't constantly loosing the time.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
What Larry said about "burying" the click also goes for playing along with songs. It's really easy to follow along and let an existing beat lead you. As with metronome practice, when you can't hear the original parts (or at least the snare hits) then you are anticipating the groove and are with it, rather than following a fraction of a second behind.
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
one important thing to add about metronome practice

play WITH the metronome ......not TO the metronome

remember that just because you are playing with a met in your ears does not mean you sound good

it is very easy to sound absolutely horrible and like you are chasing the met then letting it catch up....then chasing and letting it catch up....

so again...play WITH it ...not TO it

a metronome is as dangerous as it is helpful if you let it be ....lots of musicians start to rely on it and are afraid of trusting their inner clock without it after time

use it to train your inner clock by playing a few measures with it on ...then a few with it off and see if you hit the "1" when it re enters

if you can get to 4 measures on 4 measures off and back on the "1" repeatedly you are doing wonders for your inner clock

it's tough to not let adrenaline affect your meter.....but with practice it becomes easier

there are great metronome apps that allow you to do this.

also this site is helpful for that type of practice
http://bestdrumtrainer.com/tt/
 

JasperGTR

Senior Member
Good stuff here.

I spoke with my guitarist (who likes things a little faster - he's one of those guys:"No, it wasn't too slow..., in fact, could you speed it up?"), and asked him for patience with me during practice, and to allow me to play slightly slower, because at live performances, it will all equal out. He didn't seem thrilled, but after our first show together, he understood.
 
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wy yung

Guest
All of the above + learn to count subdivisions with the metronome. If you match your breathing to a tempo while counting smaller subdivisions in your head while maintaing consistent stick heights, that will all help.

Drumming. It's not just about hitting things. ;-)
 

PDL

Senior Member
There is a lot to be said for playing on your own. That is, get the hours in at the rehearsal studios on your own behind the kit - 'no band'. Get to know how your kits sounds, how the dymanics of everything works. Play different tempos, use a met until you get you inner clock solid. Work on different tempos and get to know how they feel, so if someone says 60bpm, 100bpm or 150 bpm you can play them.
 

Davo-London

Gold Member
One technique is to use the heel of your LF to tap the beat and stick to it. This will take a while to become natural but when you get used to it it's great for keeping time in fills and generally staying at one tempo for the song.

I'm not sure playing along with music really helps for this issue. Whilst it's great fun I think it's easy to get lazy and it gives a false impression that you can keep tempo, when reality is er ... sometimes different. Well it is for me.

The new App LiveBPM is a great help too.

Davo
 

Wavelength

Platinum Member
One aspect worth mentioning is to develop your ear for different time feels of your band mates. See if you can figure out who's playing consistently a bit ahead of the beat and who's a bit behind the beat. Being aware of other band members' time feels will make your timing more solid since you're less akin to start following the ones who are a bit ahead or behind your own time feel.

Realising this was one of the biggest factors in my development of (at least half decently) solid time. I used to wonder why every single song we played used to speed up like crazy. Then I started really zoning in on the other guys' time feels, and I noticed they were all rushing. Taking that into account and staying stubbornly behind their beat solved all problems.
 
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