# Don’t Have a Guitar but Have a Clock?

If you don’t have a guitar handy, but time to kill and are near a ticking clock, then here are 10 timing and rhythm exercises.

The basis behind this timing working out:

A clock ticks 60 times a minute, once per second in fact. This is the same as setting your metronome to 60 BPM.

You can (at best) make a little noise either clapping or clicking your fingers.

Let’s get down to business!

**Timing Exercise #1: Simple – Quartet notes**

### Time length: 5 minutes

Start off by clapping (or clicking your fingers) once per click – Each clap is a quarter note. Try this for 5 minutes (that’s 300 claps!), make sure you get it in time with each click and that each clap is even and last the same length.

**Timing Exercise #****2: Double – Eighth notes**

### Time length: 5 minutes

Now let’s try 8^{th} notes. So that is two claps per tick. Again make each clap count, make it even and just as good as the last! Try 8^{th} notes for 5 minutes.

**Timing Exercise #****3: Division – Sixteenth notes**

### Time length: 5 minutes

How are we doing? Good I hope! Next up is 16^{th} or 4 claps per tick. At this point you should be able to feel the timing. Continue clapping 16^{th} for 5 minutes.

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**Timing Exercise #****4: Mix #1 – Quartet and Eighth notes**

### Time length: 5 minutes

Let’s mix things up a little. How about trying to clap, two bars of ¼ notes followed by two bars of 8^{th} notes, then repeat. You’ll be doubling then halving ever two bars! You might need to concentrate a little harder on this as it can be tricky. Again 5 minutes for this one!

**Timing Exercise #****5: Mix #2 – Eighth and Sixteenth notes**

### Time length: 5 minutes

Now try, 2 bars of 8^{th} notes, then 2 bars of 16^{th} notes, keep repeating this for 5 minutes.

**Timing Exercise #****6: Hard Mix – Quarter, Eighth and Sixteenth notes**

### Time length: 3 minutes

Getting harder now, let’s have a go at this: 2 bars of 1/4 notes, 2 bars of 8^{th} notes, 2 bars of 16^{th} notes, 2 bars of 1/8^{th} notes, keep repeating this pattern until you’ve been doing it for 5 minutes.

**Timing Exercise #****7: Harder Mix – Quarter, Eighth and Sixteenth notes**

### Time length: 2 minutes

Instead of two bars, let’s try the above just with single bars. Hard! Give it a go!

**Timing Exercise #****8: Triplets**

### Time length: 5 minutes

Triplets are just three notes in the space of two. If we try to play 8^{th} note triples over the tick, we will play three notes per tick. Make each clap even, equal and just as good as the last one. Give it a go for 5 minutes!

**Timing Exercise #****9: Shuffle**

### Time length: 5 minutes

Got the 8^{th} note triplets happening? Try to not play the second one. You’ll be clapping a blues shuffle. Sound good huh? I do hope so!

**Timing Exercise #****10: Advanced – Try if you dare!**

### Time length: 2 minutes

This is really advanced – even I took a bit of time to get this together!

The first tick is now beat 2; the follow tick is beat 4. You need to find and feel where beat one and three are. Tough – right?! You bet!

Start by counting out loud, until you get the feel right and you’re not making a huge amount of mistakes.

Then try the rhythm presented in exercises 1 to 9. It will get harder and harder, but you will find going back to exercise 1 and doing over 4 ticks, rather than two will be much easier and your timing will improve greatly.

**Improve your timing today**

By trying all of these exercises out you will see your timing improve. This is a great way to practice without a guitar that will benefit you’re playing in a noticeable way. It’s worth trying this as often as possible – even if you can only complete one or two of the exercises out. Just a simple way to use dead time!

I came up with this in bed the other day; I woke up to hear my clock ticking and was struck by how I could use this common devise to improve my timing!

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