Today I played guitar to a backing track, it is the song Drive by Incubus. When I listen to it something sounds strange, but I cannot tell. Might it be out of time?

Here is a link to my recording, but especially this intermediate part sound strange when I play the bass note of the guitar, it sound as it comes to late, but then the rest fits again.

So do I just imagine something, or is there an issue with the timing somehow??

I am no musical expert and far from being a real musician, but I try to improve myself and listen critically to my recording, so it would be a great help to figure out if there is something wrong with my playing. Thank you!


It's because the chord changes sometimes happens on the first beat of a measure, and sometimes on the second eighth of the 4th beat.

So if you're counting along you'd count "One and two and three and four and". So the chord change happens on the "and" after four, and not on the one. Pay close attention and count along with the song and see if you can notice this.

  • Okay, I guess I noticed. The A-chord in the intermediate part, where it changes between C and A, comes a little bit early (on the and before). But am I doing this wrong in my recording? I guess yes but I am not 100% sure??
    – StefanH
    Mar 6 '17 at 0:34
  • Yeah, it's mostly noticeable in the measure before the first chorus. The chord switch happens on the off-beat of the fourth beat and you play it on the first best. That's why it sounds off timing or late to you as you describe it.
    – koeno100
    Mar 6 '17 at 7:08
  • Thanks, guess I am noticing. Strange that I did not noticed anything as I was playing, but just when listening afterwards... but just to make it clear. We are talking about the C-A part before the chorus (the chorus goes "Whatever tomorrow [...]", and the C-A-part with "Its driven me before [...]") which is again on the progression Em-Em-C-A?
    – StefanH
    Mar 6 '17 at 14:23

The rhythm is being 'pushed' half a beat earlier than it normally is. Instead of changing chord at the very beginning of the bar, it's coming in half a beat before. You can do this by playing the new chord on the upstrum that normally gets played there, or change it to a downstrum, which messes up the rhythmic pattern of the strumming arm.

It's a very common rhythm change, often with vocals; the Beatles featured it in a lot of songs, and it's almost expected in pop music - try singing some songs without the push, and they sound bland.

  • But this is not used on every chord change? The Em and C in the main riff start on the one, and the 2nd Em and the A in this riff slightly before. For the Pre-Chorus part, the C chord starts on one, and the A-chords the way you describe it, right?
    – StefanH
    Mar 6 '17 at 14:34
  • It's not on every change,no. Your homework is to listen very carefully to determine exactly which changes it does occur on. That's a far better way to understand it than have it all on a plate!!
    – Tim
    Mar 6 '17 at 14:51
  • Surely, I guess I have it. Main-Riff: 1st Em and C on one, then 2nd Em and A 'pushed', in prechorus: C on one, A 'pushed'. Okay, now I hand in my homework! When do I get my corrected and annotated sheet back? :)
    – StefanH
    Mar 6 '17 at 14:56
  • The 'verse' - 1st part of song - is on one, most of 'chorus' - next part - is pushed. If that's what you came up with, 10/10 !
    – Tim
    Mar 6 '17 at 15:37

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