Timing/tempo help?

Hiya ladies and gents,

I play in a 90s-rock cover band. When we're playing live, our bass player often says we're playing the songs too fast. (I can tell when we're playing the songs too slow, but I guess I have trouble knowing when we're playing too fast.)

Our guitar player starts many of the songs, and our bass player thinks he's almost always going too fast.

So my question is ... do any of you ever "delegate" the role of timekeeper to someone else in your band? I'm kinda reluctant to, because as the drummer, I feel like I'm supposed to be the best timekeeper in the band, but clearly I'm not :/

I was thinking of bringing it up in our next rehearsal that maybe we all look to the bass player more, or even that he count us in ...

Thoughts/suggestions/rude comments? ;)

Liebe zeit

Silver Member
Take a metronome to practice. If there's any doubts, get the phones on, turn on the met and play to a click and tell em, "That's the tempo", assuming you're all agreed on the right tempo, which you should be given that it's covers you're doing

Anthony Amodeo

a good idea would be to put the met in the cans at rehearsal and on the songs the guitar player starts, just give him a light stick click or hi hat to pace him in.

if it feels good you could use it live.

the thing about playing in front of people is that our adrenaline kicks in and tempo clarity disappears

I remember watching live videos from shows where I thought we played the tempos fine and realizing that we were flying

I started playing to a click live

sometimes I would look down at the met while playing live thinking it was on a way slower setting than it was supposed to be on because it felt like we were dragging tail.

but it was dead on and my adrenaline had me feeling like it was too slow

try the met. it never lies


Platinum Member
Look on the bright side. Your bass player may not be a better timekeeper than you, he may just have trouble keeping up at higher tempos :)


Platinum Member
Physiological factors (adrenaline, fatigue, alcohol) will alter anyone's sense of time, so there's rarely a way to determine whose time is "right". Additionally, different musicians will feel more comfortable at different tempos, depending on their role in the song and their approach to the the instrument. At some point you should acknowledge, as a group, that there is some disagreement on tempo. Offer to use a metronome (get one with a visual display so it's not making noise that can bleed into the mics), and practice counting off the tunes in rehearsal, and then take it to the stage.

If you can play to a metronome, with the band, all the way through the songs, you should do it! It will be good training for your sense of time, and improve your band's groove! Most songs you'll want to play slightly faster than the original recording, but don't go overboard.


"Uncle Larry"
Record your gigs and listen to the recordings together as a band. That would be a great starting point. Don't force your will, just see how it plays out, maybe the guitarist will hear for himself and self correct. But def have a discussion and come to an agreement over tempo. Tempo is a very critical aspect of songs. The wrong tempo can ruin a song.
Hi all -- thanks a bunch!

My hope is that Fuo is right about my situation ;)

BUT I've already floated the metronome idea past a couple of my bandmates and they're game, so that's cool.

AND we have some videos of a recent gig that we can all listen to together ...

I'll let you all know how it goes.



I practice with a metronome almost daily and find if I miss it for a few weeks my tempo and timing really suffer. I've been through a situation similar to yours recently with a rhythm guitar player. He practices way too fast, just to learn changes, but feels that when rehearsal comes he'll just naturally play the tune at the correct tempo. I can feel him pulling us and can even see his foot tapping just a hair faster and faster as we get through a tune. I've been the tempo nazi by having us play with bpm's that we all agree on. It's been a really tough process, as there are egos involved (yes, musicians with egos, whoda thunk?), but as Gvdadrummasum said, the met doesn't lie. Sadly, there are players that believe the only instrument that contributes to tempo inconsistency is the drummer. I tried running a click track while we played, but it makes everyone crazy. They just can't stay with it. At least now, we use the met as a count-in tool.