Every month, Guitar Techniques attempts to answer guitarists' playing posers and technical teasers with expert and practical advice. Here's one about playing 'late'…
Can you offer any tips on how to learn to play 'late', ie just behind the beat?
GT: This is all to do with learning to play with feel in general. What we advise students to do is to us me an example of what they mean from a CD. Once we find a good specimen, we either transcribe it or find them a transcription and go through it with them inch by inch.
Once the student has got the basic notes down, we encourage them to play along with the CD until their version matches the recorded one exactly.
It also helps if they sing the part, too, as many melody lines or solos tend to follow our very human sense of phrasing which stems from breath patterns. This way, they can 'feel' what's going on, rather than trying to determine it from the printed page.
We'd recommend that you come up with a few examples of 'late' playing from your own music collection and then begin to track down some transcriptions and follow the procedure outlined above. You'll soon begin to understand what's happening this way.