Thanks for your reply.
I'm looking at getting your book to help my rhythm. But I'm not sure because it might be too advanced for me. I struggle with the basics of rhythm but am strangely drawn to fast syncopated music in the genre I play (flamenco).
I just have trouble knowing where I am in the rhythm when things get syncopated and fast, so when I play something syncopated and strongly accented I'm not sure that I’m hitting the syncopation accurately. Weirdly, I can feel when the syncopation is out but have no idea where I am in the rhythm, it's all over the place. I've been playing for many years but seem to be stuck at this point. I've talked to good players and some don't count at all and have awesome rhythm and then I've seen people on the net say you need to count at least in the beginning. This problem is not just when I’m playing guitar, if I try to clap straight rhythm over music that has some syncopation my clapping goes out of time.
Here's a specific example of the sort of thing that I have trouble playing tightly;
Imagine 2 subdivisions within a beat (1+, 2+). If I need to hit a chord on the off beats for say 3 or 4 beats at a fast tempo around 200bpm. If I play it slow I can count the subdivisions and play it fine but when I speed it up I'm lost. It's like I can count it but not feel it accurately, obviously when fast counting subdivisions is not easy and probably not a good thing.
One thing I’m guilty of is not using the metronome enough when I practice. Maybe I just need to use it, work with the metronome a lot more. Again I know musicians that have never worked with the metronome and have good rhythm - very annoying!
Hope all that makes sense, and you have some good suggestions to help me.
(New South Wales, Australia)
You mentioned having problems with eighth note upbeats, so I’d recommend that you work on eighth note permutations.
You should practice with the metronome. Not only that, but you need to keep counting as well. If you can’t do it fast yet, that only means that you haven’t practiced it enough at a slower speed. There's always going to be people that will learn some concepts faster than you can. You will be able to learn some other concepts faster than them.
This does not mean that I am against practicing without the metronome. I’ve actually talked in favor of practicing without it on this post...
I am just saying that it doesn't matter what other people need/don't need to use in order to learn a concept. The only thing that matters is what you need to learn it. If it doesn't come easy, then it is time to sit down and try to figure things out slowly with a metronome.
Below this post, you will find two pages worth of eighth note and eighth note rest permutations to use as a guide. You can find them at the end of this post as a PDF file. It is now up to you to write every possible eighth note & eighth note rest permutation inside of a 4/4 bar. Remember to include permutations using ties, dotted notes, accents, etc.
After this step is done, write out all of these permutations for every meter you are interested in playing. If you don’t feel like writing them out, you could also get a copy of: