This months' Guitar Player, when asked if there's anything he has his students at MI work on:
"I remind them that they have to constantly work on three things: their time, their phrasing, and their tone."
Good advice, Mr. Henderson, good advice... Printed that out and hung it on the wall of my studio. Very relevant for me.
One of my goals this year is to really work on my timing. I have to keep that foot tapping all the time. When playing faster runs I tend to just "play fast" but not in time, so the line ends a bit early or late, and I have to adjust part way through to make it it. It's not even. Something I'm aware of, but need to work on.
I also got lazy over the years, and depend too much on the kick and snare to keep time for me. I notice that whenever I sit down to play something out of the blue (like when trying a guitar a music shop, or when i just sit down grab the guitar and go), my timing is terribe unless I take a few seconds, tap out a tempo with my foot, feel the groove, and THEN start playing. If I do that first, everything sounds better. If I sit down and just start blurting out notes it's awful. Get that time first and the rest follows. I'll have to check back in in a few months...