I am practicing Rock You Like a Hurricane by Scorpions for a long time, but I mess up on the timing in one or the other place. In that song, the snare comes at 3rd beat (or 7th if you count 8). And the chorus rhythm is not on the beat. What is the best way to practice such songs? How to keep count and not mess up on the guitar rhythm when listening to drums? (PS I don't have timing problems on 4/4 rhytms where the rhythm falls on beat, it only happens with off beat songs like even Highway to Hell when I play along with other friends)

  • 2
    Counting and practice, they really are key. Even count out loud when practicing so you know you'll hit on the 3rd beat.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 6:02
  • @DrMayhem count on 1st or the 3rd beat?
    – gopi1410
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 6:09
  • Or do I count 1 to 4 each bar?
    – gopi1410
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 6:15
  • Also the strum comes in between beats too twice, in the & between 3rd and 4th beat. I get confused there
    – gopi1410
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 6:20
  • 3
    I'm a bass player - can't give you enough technical detail to post answer, but in my role I'm continually faced with such problems. For example, take a listen to the opening of BB King's The Thrill is Gone - how and when the bass comes in... At any rate, the best way for me is to listen to the part that I need to play and figure out how that guy is counting in his head relative to the drummer - count off that part within its own context The part your interested in will have it's own time relative to the drums. That means the drummer's 3 might be your 1 etc.
    – Stinkfoot
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 11:03

2 Answers 2


I tell you a few ways how I, as a drummer, would approach this.

a.) You can practice the rhythm you play to a metronome. The best way is to slow it down and start at a languid tempo where it is easy for you to process (really slow :D I can't stress this point). Playing it up to speed will get easier once it is internalized.

b.) If you do not like the metronome approach, tap quarter notes with your foot and practice your rhythm to it, this will tighten up your internal clock.

c.) You could also use an online drum machine, get the beat played there in it (seems to be quite simple), and practice to that. Also, start slow.

d.) Sing the song and play your rhythmic pattern in the air. I usually do this to get jazz tunes down. I sing the main pattern and snap 2 and 4 with my fingers, and a similar approach could work for you. I usually do this on my commute.

e.) Do basic rhythmic practice, take a metronome and try playing on the beats, the off beats- just basic patterns, this will strengthen your time and will help you develop the skills for the song :)

I hope one or more of those approaches appeal to you.


There's an app called rhythm trainer, I used it to train my rhythm. You can find other similar apps, choose the ones you like and practice everyday. App developers have gamificated rhythm training very well, they have made such kind of training addictive. Have fun with them and become a rhythmic master!

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