Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Broken metronome (it wont keep up!)

well i think i’m going backwards with my rhythm guitar playing!! i have progressed (i thought) with my right hand strum patterns, and i hav’nt used the metro much lately, so i thought i’d dust it off and prove to myself how far i have come!!.
i’m just completely off!! i can’t hold the beat much at all (got it at 66 bpm) not too bad with the basic “boom chick” but i’ve learned bass note walking, and G chord hammer ons etc, and my timing goes to pot when i try any of these.has anyone got any ideas on the best way to use the metro?

regards Ron honest now guys, how many of you use the metronome regulally (excuse my spelling :blush: i’m English i should know this stuff !!!)

It may be your rhythm isn’t so bad until you turn on the metronome. I know I had this problem when I first started working with a metronome. I’d focus so much on listening for the clicks, I’d lose the feel of my strumming. The metronome seemed like it just confused things. It does get easier with regular use, though.

I’d suggest going as slowly as necessary to stay with the metronome at first - even if it’s a lot slower than you can actually play. I’ve been working with a metronome for 30 minutes to an hour every day for a year or so, and it seems way less obtrusive now. I hardly even notice it’s on unless I’m having rhythmic problems.

I think regular use of a metronome is really valuable. I know it has bred a lot of confidence for me at jams. Before the metronome, my first instinct would be to blame myself if I got off rhythm at a jam; after the metronome, I realized it usually wasn’t me, and I’m a lot more assertive about my playing in those situations, now.

the majority of my practice is with a metronome.

I keep it at a very slow speed until I can play through without a mistake at least once or twice, when learning a piece, then crank it up a bit and start all over at the new speed until I can play through mistake free there, and so on.

If I get to where I feel a song I know better is getting sloppy I will put myself back to playing with the click again. It doesn’t replace playing with people, but it does help a lot I believe.

Tap your foot.

And base your rhythm playing on your foot-taps.

And then, just use the metronome as an occasional reference to make sure you’re tapping an even rhythm.

That way, you don’t train yourself to focus on the metronome. Rather, you train yourself to follow it like you’d follow other players in a rhythm section.

So, your primary focus is on your own playing; the metronome is just an aid.

Good points from everyone thus far, and they are super helpful.
I do use a metronome almost daily. I’ll add these hints that seem to help me…

  1. Play with it like you are grooving with a record. Try to get the feel of the song with the click. Hear the song in your head before you start playing. I hope that made sense.
  2. Once you get to grooving with it, turn the volume down on the metronome… you will only periodically hear it that way and I think it reinforces having a solid internal clock.
  3. Practice with the metronome clicking on variations. 1&3 only, 2&4 only, 1234, with 8th notes, etc.

I am typically pretty solid with the metronome, but when I haven’t used it for a while it takes me a day or two to get back to feeling it. The bad part is when I get off, I often can’t tell if I am fast or slow.

When all else fails, assume it’s equipment error and your metronome needs new batteries or to be wound.

As a drummer, I’ve spent many hours practicing with a metronome. I can’t tell you how many bass players and guitar players I’ve played with over the years that had a tempo problem that could be fixed by working with a metronome. Being the drummer, the speeding up/slowing down was always blamed on me until, like ldpayton said, I had the confidence to assert myself. It will eventually become second nature and you won’t feel like you’re trying to keep up with it, you’ll just listen for it once in a while to verify where you are. Keep at it!