getting singer-songwriter to play in time


Well-Known Member
Apr 3, 2001
so i'm working with a very talented girl who needs help in the gtr-time dept.

what is the best way to coach someone for yr experience?

Aug 15, 2001
This is going to be a tough one. first, she must want to play in time.

If so, a click track would work, but most beginners claim that it "ruins their feel".

Totally false, but it takes some time to play on top of or behind the beat consistantly.

Another musician would be a help as would having her try to overdub a track to show how important keeping a semblence of correct time is to building a song.

Once the hurdle of determining that is cleared, then a drum machine or a percussion player to help her establish consistant rhythm patterns.


Try beating them (in time, of course) with a stick. Use a smaller stick for a girl, as they are more fragile. :D


Well-Known Member
Nov 13, 2001
Originally posted by adam_w1:
Damn you Standen, replying while I type. Great minds think alike !

Yep Julian does that and the new Cable modem just makes him quicker than ever.

On day he will fall asleep ..... and then we will miss him???

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Is it possible that it's nerves? I worked with a guitarist who's timing was impeccable until the dreaded 'record' button was hit and then his hands turned into pretzels. The bigger the studio the badder the timing. So maybe techniques to get her relaxed?
Sometimes it can be a way of getting more time and attention too.
Definitely needs to get sorted though and rigorous practice a la Standen technique are required.



We actually record every single artist to a click track. We use the PT internal click. If they can't get the timing right away, we burn them a copy of whatever scratch tracks we have, with the clik and let them take it home and practice. Next session is almost always right on.


Dec 3, 2001
Stand next to her with a pot and a wooden anyway..I second or third the her make love to a thats an idea...gotta go... :eek:


Now now -- all this click track stuff is a bit fascist.

If you can just play bass or percussion along with her -- a better sense of time will probably develop. People who play by themselves all the time have a screwed up sense of timing.

Having somebody that you like play along with you is much nicer than being sent home with a metronome and told to "eat your vegetables."

If she can't play along with someone else in time then it's just a lost cause. :D

A click track usually only works for artists who already have good time and studio experience. For
those who need time help I make midi drum tracks
with the right feel for what they're doing-sometimes I even program a bass track also depending on the style and needs of the track.
It's work but it pays off tremendously in the final product.

Ted Nightshade

Well-Known Member
Dec 9, 2001
Cluck Fick tracks. Or is that clack ^#$% tricks?
I learned long ago, two people constitute a groove. Very rare for a solo artist to really groove- I think like Ravi Shankar said, music is the space between two souls.
I guess I'm a ritardando for not tolerating click tracks- look what they did to Keith Moon! That's some weak drumming on "Baba O'Riley", especially for Keith Moon! So the guy was human!
Jam along on a scratch track, or if it's good keep it! Is it good?
Ted :p

Todd Farone

Jul 27, 2001
Apparently, they aren't making elementary and middle school band teachers as violent as they used to...I had a couple good ones back in the day!
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Well-Known Member
Mar 20, 2001
Little Rock, AR
Teach them to tap their foot then, for beginner guitar players its good to help them find a struming pattern that sotra works with the tapping foot in 4/4. Such as:

Down on beat 1
Down on beat 2
Up on the & of beat 2
Up on the & of beat 3
Down on beat 4
Up on the & of beat 4

Don't confuse them with counting yet, just help them find beat 1.
Make them a click track where beat 1 is accented. This is a very good exercise for beginner guitar players. "Every Rose has its Thorn" by Poision is perfect to learn to play and sing with this strumming pattern. Almost every single lyrical accent falls on a strum. In fact you will be amazed at how many vocal rhythms go perfectly with this struming pattern.

Ted Nightshade

Well-Known Member
Dec 9, 2001
Foot tapping! (drilled into me by high school band director)
Would you have made John Lee Hooker and Robert Johnson play "in time"? :eek: