Tips for working on new beginner play-along song


Sometimes playing slow is actually harder and yes I know that sounds counter intuitive but it is something that is frequently said.

So I would imagine you have the chord sequence down now ? Or could at least jot them down, so you could crib them away from the song app ? If so, ditch the app for a bit and play against a metronome, starting at 75 to get the old familiar feel. Get the song feeling comfortable and then bump it just 2 bpm. Wash rinse repeat until you get to the song’s original tempo but take your time.



PS to my old forum pals, is the a first use of “Wash Rinse Repeat” do I get a badge ?


Can’t say for sure, Toby, mebbe. But have a badge anyway if it’ll make you happy :grin:


As @TheMadman_tobyjenner says playing at a lower tempo can be more difficult to maintain. That’s a good suggestion to play with a metronome at a low bpm and gradually increase the bpm. That’s exactly what I do when learning a strumming pattern. Once you’re able to play the strumming pattern along with the metronome at any tempo, if you’ve got Justin’s Time Trainer, you could also then practice the strumming patterns using beat drops and bar drops.

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One question @Heatherxx, have you tried doing OMC with the same chord changes as you are struggling with in the song (you’ll need to do the reverse change eventually, so it won’t hurt you to embed it now)?

If not then that, may well be worth a go.

Very much this (as well)! Practice in context is extremely valuable and is an excellent way to ‘bed-in’ technique.

(Edit: to make clear what follows is an alternative to @TheMadman_tobyjenner’s suggestion)

If you are already doing the changes in your OMC practice, then you might also want to consider using a metronome while doing OMC to check and even tune the speed of your changes [this will also take OMC up a level of difficulty (maybe even two levels!)].

When using a metronome during OMC, it will become obvious really quickly whether your changes are really happening between the beats or if you are adjusting your strumming tempo to get the change to ‘fit’ (if you want to try this, then the song is 86 BPM, so start slower than this, and work up to it just a couple of BPM at a time).

As this is more challenging, then to start, you might want to try just changing each four strums, rather than on every strum (as in ‘normal’ OMC). When you want to increase the tempo, add 2 or 3 BPM (this sounds small, but will feel way different!).

[For an even greater level of challenge, then you can also look at reducing the number of strums between changes (e.g. change each two strums, and if you can do that, on each strum), this is a much more advanced variation though]

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Just to be clear, if you are playing the song at 75 bpm, I was suggesting playing the song against the metronome and gradually increasing to speed, ie keeping the song in context. Doing OMCs with a metronome is a great exercise but it does not always translate to a whole song, sometimes you just need build it up slow. :sunglasses:

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I have never slowed down and practiced any song by strumming rhythm. I’d rather make some mistakes or imperfections than play with an awkward feeling of tempo.

Attention seeking :joy::joy::joy:


Sorry, yes, on a re-read it’s not clear that I was suggesting an alternative! Completely agree that ‘practice in context’ is often a good way to go. My (badly made) point is that sometimes it is also worth doing some additional drills, to check the underlying technique.

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Don’t forget to just practice the strumming pattern. Mute the strings with your fretting hand and strum to the metronome, slowly increasing.

You want to get the strumming pattern so ingrained that it is not what you think about while playing.


Reading this again and I am not an app user, is that the norm ? A 10% jump in tempo ? Because in my experience practicing scales and expecting to be ok with that kind of leap, is next to impossible. Maybe 5% but 10% Noooo. Recommendations I got here years ago was baby steps 2-3% maybe 5% max. Guess it might be different when strumming but I would have thought 5% increments would be more manageable. But like I say not an app user. My 0.02 Euros :sunglasses:

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The app adjusts in 10% and only slows to 50%. So 50%, 60%, etc.

I agree it would be helpful to have a finer scale. The jumps are difficult.


I’d practice it slower as Tony has suggested. As Tony has said try NOT using the App…you’ll probably find you play it a rhythm/tempo that feels comfortable but that is slightly faster than you are playing against app.

Remember people you don’t want to be playing songs against the App forever! at some point you want to break free and play them on your own. If you’ve memorised the chord sequence there is nothing stopping you doing that.


Lots of solid advice here!

I didn’t realize this was a common struggle…good to know!

Makes good sense. The main chord progression is Em-C-D-G. I’ve been using a metronome for my OMC practice and gradually increasing speed since I saw it suggested in a thread here, and it’s really made a huge difference, but I hadn’t thought to practice the progression with a metronome and gradually increase the speed. I’ve just been practicing 2 chords back and forth.

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Thanks for pointing out the importance of practicing the strumming pattern separately from play with the fretting hand. It looks like I have taken that for granted!

VERY good point! And important for me to remember. Thank you!

In a nutshell, I gather from all comments together that a better course for me to learn a new song is to practice tricky chord progressions with a metronome and gradually increase the speed, and to separately practice strumming patterns, then marry them together when they each feel smooth and confident and up to the desired tempo.

Thanks for all the advice! I think this will really help a lot :blush:

I’ve done a very quick scroll to check if the following info has been shared, can’t see it.

I find this app very helpful, you can program it to increase or slow speed in increments, plus a heap of other useful functions.

Justin’s Time Trainer app … excellent


I will check that out, sounds pretty useful :blush:


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Adopt deep voice-over voice …

Previously on 'The Community …


Heather it certainly works and I still use that approach if I am struggling with a new song at tempo. Once I understand the progression, I’ll drop the backing track to say 80% and start there and work up. Not just rhythm as well, when I was learning the lead intro to White Rabbit I literally dropped it by half, so I could painstakingly tease the notes out and get the right feel. Slowly slowly catchy monkey. :sunglasses:

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Agreed Maggie I use this all the time. It’s a good app.

29 days is a long time ago, especially over Xmas and New Year and you can’t count the last one as it was a copy and paste.

I missed your one, sorry. :cry:

No badge then :frowning_face: