Subdivisions of Time
When playing music, one skill that is very useful is to be able to smoothly transition between different divisions of time. This is good for our lead and our rhythm playing. We’ll start off with some simple examples and then use a short etude at the end to see how good your skills are!
What we are aiming to improve with these exercises:
• Ability to move between different divisions of time.
• Ability to play accurately for a sustained period of time – our consistency.
• Playing accurately to a metronome.
It should go without saying that all these exercises should be practiced to a click. Even if you think you are too advanced for some of the first exercises, give them a go. See if you can play them perfectly for 2 minutes straight.
Here we are just playing the open G string once per click.
This time are playing twice per click, nice and evenly.
Now we are mixing them up… pay attention to how this fits to the click.
Here, we are dealing with triplets, so we have three notes per click.
This one is pretty fun, here are moving between triplet quavers and semi quavers. Make sure you can keep this one tight to the click for two minutes straight before moving on.
Hey!! Did you skip ahead to this one? Go back and do the other exercises for 2 minutes straight first!! Here we are mixing up some scale sequences and an arpeggio (you can sweep the arpeggio if you are able to, but don’t worry if you can’t sweep, picking through it at lower speeds is fine). The first bar uses part of the mixolydian position going into a C major arpeggio, and the second bar uses part of the Aeolian position going into a D major arpeggio.
The scale sequences are in semi quavers and the arpeggios are triplet quavers. Memorise where the notes go first, and then get it in time to a click slowly, then start ramping up the speed.
If you want to test just how accurately you are really playing, you can do either of the following:
1. Video your self playing on your phone and then listen back. How tight are you with the click? You can also check how much movement your hands are making, and if you can cut out any unnecessary movement.
2. Record yourself in Logic/Reaper/Audacity etc. Then zoom in… and look at the waveform compared to the bar marker. Can you get the waveform any closer to the bar line? Give it a go, see how close you can get it!
If you want to learn more about the electric guitar and the modes, you can check out Sam’s free eBook, “The Ultimate Guide to the Modes of the Major, Harmonic Minor and Melodic Minor Scales” for free on his website.