Exercise 1: Set a metronome at 60 B.P.M. and play one note every beat.

First try to be exactly on the beat and after you feel where the pulse is, try to be just a little late.
Your note should be right after the click of the metronome.

Then try to vary the place of your note by being later and later, until you’ve almost reached the next click.

After you’ve done that try to go back to playing right after the original click.

Exercise 2: Play swing eights (see above) with alternate picking (up-down-up-down) and keep the first note right on the beat.

Try to vary the place of the A’s by playing it closer to the next click, which will feel like a 16th or funky feel.

After that try to play it earlier and make it feel like straight eights.

Exercise 3: Play one of the scales you know in a triplet feel and switch to swing eights somewhere in the middle.
Then switch back to the triplets.

Exercise 4: Play a simple solo on a blues chord progression tapping your foot on the 2 and 4.
This is where the swing is.

Feeling where the ‘afterbeat’ is crucial to making your music swing.
In swing blues the two and four is where a drummer will play his snare.

If you combine this afterbeat with a swing feel, you end up with a ‘shuffle feel’
This is where you have to tap your foot, especially at higher tempos.

In jazz type swing there will not be a clear ‘afterbeat’.
The drummer will keep the beat going by playing swing eights on his ride and using his hi-hat on the two and four.

But the key to swing timing is in your ears.
Listening to others who play in this style will teach you the right timing.

Listen to horn players and their laid back timing and slurring of notes.
Try to imitate that timing.
Guitar players like Duke Robillard, Kenny Burell and Barney Kessel are masters of this way of phrasing.

Go To Backing
Back