Developing Groove

By: Brad Jones - Posted: 2009-01-09

So, let's get specific about developing groove. The first thing you need in order to groove is good time. How to develop good time? Some would say you either have it or you don't, but I believe good time can be developed. Your sense of time will become more refined the more you play and the better musicians you play with.

I am a big advocate of practicing with a metronome, but not while learning new material. I practice playing 1/2 note, 1/4 note, 1/8th note and even 16th note scales with my metronome set anywhere between 82 and 160 BPM. Typically I will start with the lower speeds and work my way up faster. For a good exercise, try setting your metronome for constant 1/4 note beats at 90 BPM and play a C-major scale in whole notes, being particularly stringent about hitting the next downbeat on the one. Then play 1/2 notes with all 4 beats of the bar on one note, then move onto 1/4 notes (again, all 4 beats on one note), 1/8 notes, and 16th notes. speed the metronome up 2 clicks and repeat. Work your way all the way up to 160, and then drop it all the way back down to 90 and play a whole note scale again. Be especially mindful of the down beat and with 1/8th note and 16th notes, give it a pulse, emphasize the strong beats (typically 1 and 3), and try to maintain a steady rhythm.

This exercise can be mixed up by playing a dotted 1/4 - 1/8th note pattern, triplet pattern, swung pattern, etc... as well as playing major and minor scales, arpeggios, modes, etc... all the way up and back down the neck. This holds a dual purpose of making you more familiar with your fretboard.

This should keep you busy for a while. Until next time...

Keep in down low and make it grooooove.

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