Rhythm and tempo

So here’s my issue. I’m working on a song, Dead Flowers by the Stones. It’s a fairly easy 3 chord song.

When I use a backing track and play along with the song all is good.

Once I play solo I loose the rhythm. It still sounds ok but it’s not the same.

I would appreciate any thoughts and guidance.

Hi Roch, a pretty common challenge I think and will be, for want of a better way to describe it, about building your own inner rhythm / metronome.

Speaking of which…if you’re good with the rhythm with the backing track, have you tried it just using a metronome or click track at the BPM of the original? That I’d suggest as your first step, it’s taking one of the training wheels (the backing track) off and still forcing you to think of the rest of the band you’re used to hearing in the backing track for chord changes and song structure.

Roch, there are quite a number of people in the Community who have learned and shared recordings of this song.
If I recall correctly, a common way to strum (perhaps the correct way - Rolling Stones afficionados can step in here) is using Old Faithful: https://www.justinguitar.com/guitar-lessons/missing-down-strums-the-pattern-st1-14


Is it possible you are still focussing on getting your grips right and in a timely fashion?
While being focused of that, the first thing you lose is sense of timing.

the more you can auto-pilot changing chords, the more you can be occupied with the feedbackloop of playing, listening, feeling if the tempo is right, playing, listening etc…


Thanks for the good advice. I know I haven’t articulated this properly but I think developing the internal rhythm is where I need to focus.

The three chords are D A and G and I can do the chord progression in my sleep so it’s not that there’s too much concentration on that area that’s throwing me off.

I’ll keep working on it and report back. I can keep a steady rhythm but there’s just something missing. I have to figure out Keith’s secret recipe :blush:

Be careful when following some of Keef’s recipe, some have died trying :rofl: OK, that’s not a laughing matter.

Seriously, sounds like you just need to keep practicing your strumming patterns and playing the song. Maybe mix up playing with the BT and then playing solo. Keith spent hours and hours and hours playing (as did all the legends). Keep at it and one day I imagine it will come together in a moment and you’llo wonder what made it so hard to achieve.


Thanks David, I believe you’re right. (On all accounts!). I just have to keep playing with the BT and then solo until it comes together.

As someone said with Sweet Virginia, it seems simple, but it’s not.

Gives me all that much more appreciation for what the greats do!

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Practice tapping your foot while you play with the backing track. Eventually, your tapping foot will work like a metronome, keeping you in time when the backing track isn’t there.


Excellent suggestion! That’s next on my “to do” list.

I keep putting it off because I’m concentrating on playing and I’ve gotten lax about tapping my foot and using a metronome. Great suggestion!