If you’ve been following along, then it’s no secret that I think you need to work on your time & feel.
If you can’t play in time, you can’t play guitar.
But I’m worried that you think that your time is fine (or at least good enough) and what you’re really looking for are some tips, tricks, licks, tabs and other shiny objects.
Let me introduce you to a wonderfully nerdy tidbit from the world of psychology called the Dunning-Kreuger Effect. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:
The Dunning-Kreuger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes. (emphasis mine)
In other words, you aren’t nearly as good at guitar as you think you are.
Don’t believe me? I invite you to perform this simple test:
Pull out your guitar & metronome.
(You don’t have a metronome? You fail.)
Set the metronome to 80 bpm.
Play one note (or chord) directly on top of each click.
Not that hard, right?
Now set it to 40 bpm––the same tempo with half the clicks.
Play exactly what you played before.
Still got it ok?
Now set it to 20 bpm––still the same tempo, but one-quarter the clicks.
Still think your time is good enough?
If you actually pull out your guitar and do this exercise, you’ll find out real quick just how hard it is to stay perfectly in time. And this is just an exercise––it’s even tougher with actual music. Tough but vitally important.
Humans are bad at perceiving time.
It takes some serious effort to get your time together, but it’s worth it.
What’s more, everything else that you work on before you get your time together is worthless.
[photo is my two main guitars at an uber-fancy dude ranch in Wyoming]