I'm Bahadir from Turkey. I'm a lead guitarist in a band and I have rhythmic problems, a lot. Trying to fix them, and this is the biggest one.

I can't enter my soloes which starts in 3th or 4th beats. I just can't feel the rhythm. For all the time I played, I just felt the music. Never try to count it like 1-2-3-4. Just felt the music, and somehow I knew the point I should enter. But this melody phrases which starts from a bit earlier than beginning of a measure, I can't. I just can't feel it. I will give 2 English and 2 Turkish song examples for this kind of songs.

What can I do about it? Do I have to count all the time? Or is there anything I can do to help me improve my groove feeling?

Maroon 5 - This Love

Athena - Kime Ne

Bruno Mars - Locked out of Heaven

Haluk Levent - Elfida

2 Answers 2


Your rhythmic problems most likely arise precisely because you haven't learned to count properly. I considered myself to have very good instinctive rhythm and thought I didn't need to count because my rhythm was already good. Unfortunately this turned out to be wrong. Good rhythm means that counting would be second nature but I found it to be very difficult at first.

The bad news is yes, you will have to learn how to count, as painful as that sounds. The good news is that once you learn to count and have it be second nature, even through mixed time signatures or polyrhythmic sections, your playing will be much better overall. Going slow to start with and perseverance will pay off. It won't take as long as you think, and the payoff will be worth the time investment.

  • I would like to improve myself, and I understand that it's a necessity for being more professional. But I can't concentrate anything else when I play guitar. I can't sing along, I can't speak and counting is the same. I can't count :(
    – Buffy
    Sep 27, 2018 at 18:29
  • @Buffy I can suggest two things. First, slow down the piece and repeat the hard spots as many times as you need to be able to hear it. Count while you are listening. Second, begin to play by singing your solo in time to the counting. The singing will be the count itself. e.g. "and 3 and 4....1, 2, and 3 and 4 and 1" etc. This will help
    – PJNoes
    Sep 28, 2018 at 18:00
  • @Buffy No need to have a guitar in your hands. Try counting as you walk with your feet as the pulse. For instance, you could count 'three and four and...' and start walking on the one.
    – PeterJ
    Oct 27, 2018 at 13:25

It's not hard to count and it's very useful, especially for irregular rhythms. Two things happen as you learn, first, it becomes second nature and you no longer think about it. Second, you get a feel for common rhythmic patterns. You can play new patterns by either reading the sheet music or lead sheet or by listening to a recording and figuring out how they rhythm works.

Counting is a basic necessity for a professional to get to the highest level. (It also helps when dancing.) It's not too hard; like anything else, it just takes practice.

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