In this article, I would like to talk about the subject of tempo. Indeed, some musicians do not necessarily integrate this work in their routine whereas there are simple methods to reinforce its internal clock. The exercises can be done with the instrument, but also without! Before you start, let's start by reminding you of some basics:
The tempo expresses the speed and the time that passes in a piece. On the guitar, to play a cover for example, you must respect the tempo established by the composer. A tempo is never chosen at random and allows us to establish an atmosphere in the song. For example, tracks with a low tempo are often called "ballads" and convey very different emotions than another track with a high tempo.
It is therefore important to respect the tempo of a piece in order to best reproduce the emotions that the composer wished to convey. We often tend to think that the work of the tempo is reserved for the drummers, but it is not so.
Remember to work on your guitar riffs with a metronome and make sure you feel the beat!
So we understood that it is important to have a good tempo but concretely, how do we work with it?
The way people feel about tempo and the passage of time varies greatly. It is a relatively abstract concept and sometimes students ask how to work on how we feel about tempo.
First of all, practice with the metronome! I can't repeat it enough, but it's essential because the day you join a band, it will be easier for you to have a good cohesion with the drummer, the bass player and the other musicians. By ensuring a good solid rhythmic guitar playing in a band or at an audition, you will be sure to score points!
One way I like to work is to set my metronome to a very low tempo (25/30 Bpm or less) and try to count my beats out loud or sing a melody I make up at the time. The goal is to fall very precisely on the tempo dictated by the metronome. With practice and repetition, you will see that this practice will considerably improve your perception of the passing time (tempo) and creates a discipline. I sometimes see musicians get a little confused when they have to respect two bars of silence before starting again in unison on the first beat of the repeat. With this exercise you will be very solid and in absolute cohesion with the drummer and the other musicians!
Finally, try to set aside a small part of your sessions to work on this aspect of the music. This is very important, as it will save you time when composing in a group or studio session. Remember that playing fast and solid is more interesting than playing fast without respecting the given tempo!