Losing timing and beats when trying to count and tap my foot

Trying to keep track of my beat with tapping foot on what beat I am on. But I am getting lost then I lose timing .I start out at 4 4 timing all of a sudden I am doing only 3 beat per measure. What can I do to correct this ?


Count (1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4 etc) or Play with a metronome. Use one on your phone or pc

I will try the metronome but I think when I concentrate on cords and then different strumming patterns I lose it . I have been trying to play black but without playing the old faithful pattern and play less strumming pattern I loose the beat

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Back to going slower and practice whilst counting.

Dont play it quickly and incorrectly. That’ll just be din the bad habits.

What happens when you don’t try to keep track? What happens when you just go with the groove? Kind of like using the force or whatever comes naturally? It could be a disaster or somewhat freeing. You may find your own groove/sense of time or crash and burn into a plie of smoldering goo. I sometimes use my own sense of time and don’t worry too much about what stuffy old Mrs. Flowerhat music teacher thinks about it. It’s rock and roll y’all! :slight_smile:

Playing with a metronome and tapping your foot is probably your best bet here. The more you do it the better you’ll be. Maybe try a metronome and try out the disappearing metronome trick that just explains here: https://www.justinguitar.com/guitar-lessons/the-disappearing-metronome-trick-te-403

If you lost time when trying to play a specific pattern you could try focusing just on that pattern (mute the string - no chords) and play it with a metronome until it’s second nature. Then try it with one chord then switching chords.

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Aargh, thank you for posting that. I’m 100% with you there and it’s so frustrating so if okay, I’ll just tag along for the advice. Saves posting the same plead for help twice.

With the foot tapping, I know common sense says to use the opposite leg/foot to the one the guitar sits on but I struggle tapping my left foot. Just seems so instinctively unnatural. Is that ‘normal’ or an instinct I need to break?


Normal and an instinct you need to break. Do it until it feels natural. Very little about playing guitar is natural, it’s all learned.


I was watching Ren and the guys from The Big Push who were all doing it with the guitar leg and thought okay, if they can, I can but no….essentially because they’re brilliant. I’m not. Thank you. I’ll retrain the brain and keep it left leg only.


I have a really tough time with foot tapping. I do a fair amount of metronome work, but the single best thing I have done is playing along with a simple drum beat mp3. It helps to put me in the groove rather than concentrating so hard on metronome clicks.

Adding the foot tapping is/was a challenge for me as well. I first got comfortable playing in time with a metronome. Once that felt natural, I started adding the foot tapping to the metronome and playing.

Adding in the foot tapping is like adding another ball to your juggling act. You have to train your brain to handle the added complexity.

The long-term goal is to get your sense of timing so solid that your tapping foot will replace the metronome and be as consistent.

Time and practice! :slight_smile:

If foot tapping and count 1 2 3 4 is not working. Go back to basic and slow down. Try practicing on a slow steady 4 beats per bar progression say G D C G, try counting

G 2 3 4 D 2 3 4 C 2 3 4 G 2 3 4

That will focus the count but also enforce the chord changes. Write it down on paper. Say it out loud. If you 2 chords per bar say Am C count Am 2 C 4, Write it down on paper.
Do it slowly and repetitively while stamping you foot (not the one with the guitar on).
Keep on doing it until it becomes second nature.

Struggling with a song with a different progression. Wash rinse repeat, until you can stamp, count and play. The counting will go some way to singing and playing, as you will become used to vocalising will strumming and stomping.

When you can do all that naturally and have built a strong foundation of rock solid, in the pocket rhythm, then do what Clint says and go with the flow. But get the basics down first or you will never be in the pocket and your rhythm will suck. Great for playing on your own but your band mates will throw you some bad looks if you start going tonto. Simples.


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Metronome Beats has the option to configure various pieces of drum kit for the metronome. I am sure there are other apps that also do this.

Thanks to all the feed back on this topic. What a great community we have here with Justin’s site. The feedbacks will definitely help me with my timing. I am going to put in practice quite a few these things . Also this will help others that were struggling with me. Thanks to all and rock on


One more thought. If the foot tapping is a difficult additional ball to juggle, spend time just listening to the metronome (or music) and tap that foot. Tap it every time you can, tap it in the car, tap it in the bar, but make it automatic to tap along to music and metronome. Then it will add better.

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If you have the Justin Lessons & Songs app, there is an exercise section that has 22 strumming exercises.
There is a graphic of a guitar pick strumming the chords and it does have a metronome click to it. There isn’t a way to adjust the BPM that I see, however, it has helped me be more consistent with my strumming.

I had problems with rhythm for years, and a similar approach was what finally worked for me. Doing it away from your guitar forces you to focus on the key issue of creating a steady beat, without all that other stuff going on at the same time.

One additional tip. Practice your tapping with all four limbs - both feet, both hands - first individually, then in various combinations. This way, you train your brain to be rhythmic with your strumming and fretting hands as well.

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