Chronic Dragging.

Okay, I have an issue that I chronically drag and hang out behind the beat. Anyone else with this problem and how you dealt with it?


I have found that when I drag, it is because I am more concerned with what I am playing; not the music. Obviously that isn't as easy as it sounds but once you get the hang of it, dragging or rushing will be almost none existent. NOW... that doesn't mean that a metronome is useless. It is one of the best things to use, but as for general stability in timing, listening to the MUSIC and not YOURSELF will make a huge difference.

Just to clarify... when I say don't listen to what your playing, I don't mean "put it on autopilot" as many people say. One should always be aware of their playing, but the music itself is much more important. You might be surprised what you come up with while genuinely listening to the other players. I find that it allows me to play beyond what I "think" I can play.


there is a fine line between losing focus by over-concentrating and losing focus by over-relaxing.
This, to me, is one of the arts of playing in a band - training your brain to stay in the correct mindset for a whole set - not too relaxed and not too serious.


Platinum Member
Okay, I have an issue that I chronically drag and hang out behind the beat. Anyone else with this problem and how you dealt with it?
Yes, I had this problem for longer than I care to admit! Started playing along to the metronome at every rehearsal, every gig, in both cover and original bands. After 6 months, I noticed much improvement, after a year I noticed better "groove" and "feel", and after 2 years, I am now always the guy with the best "internal clock" onstage. I can feel others dragging and rushing, and choose to go with them, or to plow through their slop.

Metronome practice is always good, but seek out creative and challenging ways to play with it. Here's some ideas to get you started.

1. Practice "rushing" with the metronome, where you play just ahead of the click, doing your best to keep that distance as consistent as possible. Then practice "dragging", where you play just behind the click. For the first month don't play any fills, just simple grooves.

2. Practice making the click something other than the "1". Play 16th notes with the hands, and make the click fall on the "e", then the "and", then the "ah". This is way harder than it sounds!

3. Benny Greb demonstrates making the click fall on the last note of the triplet ("one-trip-LET-two-trip-LET-three-trip-LET-four-trip-LET"), while playing the jazz ride cymbal pattern and other swinging grooves. Again, WAY harder than it sounds!

4. I find that students (and myself) then to drag or rush when they are switching subdivisions. For example, when playing a regular rock beat, then a fill with triplets, and then a half-time groove, most will waver quite a bit. So practice switching subdivisions every measure while the click is rolling. With a RLRL sticking, play a measure of 8ths, then tirplets, then 16ths, then back to triplets, then back to 8ths, and so on. Keep the quarter note pulse with the bass drum or hi-hat foot or both. Try it again starting with 16ths, then triplet 16ths, then 32nd notes, back to triplet 16ths, and then back to 16th notes, and so on. Down the line, you can work on odd groupings, like quintuplets and septuplets.

A nice benefit to this kind of practice is that when another player counts off the tempo, I'm able to latch on right away and not let go. But sometimes the player's count-off will be a bit fast, and I get "the look", and so I slow it down a touch. It's very nice to have that control, and it's interesting how so many players are in a rush or are dragging themselves.

Of course I waver a bit now and then, but it's way more subtle than it used to be. :)


Pioneer Member
Metronome!!! Its not gonna lie to you. And learn what it feels like to be on top of the beat and on the back of the beat. Listen to your favorite drummers and try and figure out what part of the beat they are on and why they are playing that way. But always have a check pattern in the form of your metronome. Learn how to play with a natural feel with a click, think of it as a great bass player with perfect time. Also, think in small subdivisions. Be hearing the smallest not values you can and itll keep you in time.


Platinum Member
Broken record...get a metronome.

Play around with several different tempos. Practice at extremely slow tempos too; 30-50bpm. You will become very aware of note placement once you get comfortable with it, which will improve your timing at any tempo.