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Watch the Timing & Phrasing online guitar lesson by Gary Hoey from Blues Rock Reactor

Many years ago, when I was a young musician, one of my dreams was to go to the Berklee College of Music. However, being one of six kids, for whatever reason I wasn't able to go. But my mom told me to go down to the college and hang out to go see if I can learn something. So I went to go hang out, and I ran into a guy that had graduated in the bookstore, and I asked him "You must know a lot of stuff, would you teach me if I came to your house on Saturdays?" And he said yes, and I ended up taking private lessons from him.

At that point I had been playing for years completely by ear, I didn't really have any idea what I was doing. I wanted to know how Jeff Beck knew what to play, and how guitar players knew what scale to use, and over what chords they were playing - I wanted to understand music more. As I started to understand the language of music, or theory if you will, I could communicate better with other musicians. So, what I'd like to do here is talk about a few of the things that relate to the language of music, specifically looking at timing and phrasing.

The reason I bring this up is because every musician has their own ideas in their head about what they want to hear and what they want to express, and what stops us is that we don't have the tools or understand how to get there. So now, we'll look at an exercise to start unlocking the ideas in your head, coming from an understanding of rhythm, timing, and being in control of your phrasing. Understanding these things will help you to start enjoying the things you are doing.

Let's go through a quick breakdown of all the rhythms to practice, different ways to break them up, and some applications for working them into your playing.