Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Metronome Suggestions

Just starting and I’m thinking timing discipline is critical, so what’s the best metronome to use with a banjo? I’ve read one with a headphone jack is good but other than that, what does everyone else use?

TablEdit requires the computer…
Smartphone will drain battery…
I’m leaning towards a stand alone dial type like the Matrix MR-800.

Appreciate everyone’s thoughts. Thanks!

I won’t be much help, but in the rare case where I’ve wanted a metronome I’ve just used google’s. Even better, though, have been Ben’s backing tracks… especially those he’s made at 3 different tempos. Not only does it help with timing, it gives me the feel of playing with someone else.

I load up those tracks on my phone and then play them to a Bluetooth speaker.

Let us know what metronome you decide on. Curious to see your review.

Yeah, I’m curious what you choose as well, @Bob. I use the Google metronome through my studio speakers.

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I have a delta lab digital thingy I bought for not much many moons ago. It is good because it is loud and easily configurable. What I find interesting is that I was given an older, mechanical (like a clock) wind up metronome and I think it is more helpful in a way because it is quieter and at slower tempos a bit uneven. This forces me to listen attentively. It probably wouldn’t be what most would recommend, but it works for me.

Plus, I now have an excuse when my timing is bad on slower songs.


Hey Bob

I used to use a wooden pyramid wind up metronome but the last five years or so I have been using TablEdit with a continuous drum click and a set of headphones. I found this really helps me focus on reading the tab and playing at the same time. I tend to feel the click rather than listening for it. With TablEdit you can adjust the speed to a rate your comfortable with and increase speed as you gain confidence and proficiency.

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I have an older Matrix MR 500. It works fine, is adjustable from 40 to 208 BPM. It also has a light, a mute switch and a headphone jack. And it’s fairly cheap!

The problem for me is, I have a very hard time following any metronome. It’s not as easy as some would think. If you or anyone else has this same problem, what I would suggest is downloading rhythm tracks or using a drum machine. The latter may not be best for bluegrass or banjo but it may be worth a try. It makes a world of difference (for me at least).
The drum machine or rhythm tracks prove to be much more melodic and interesting and it’s a little more like being in an actual band situation. The problem however, is that it’s not as convenient as a simple metronome.

I like what Mike said about the mechanical metronome and that the uneven tempo forces him to listen more attentively. I can see how this would be good ear training.

Anyway, it’s just a thought and may or may not work for you. You could also use Ben’s rhythm tracks at the end of his lessons depending on which songs you are trying to learn.

Hmmmm, all this has got me thinking… I wonder if anyone has created a mandolin “chop” app that you could use for timing exercises?!


Hey! yeah tho ive tried its really hard. how do Ben count at the same time he plays. impossible task.
Tried that alternating thumb pinch with metronome. it works just becouse i know how it should sound. if
i take anything other it fails.

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In my case, counting while playing is a result of thousands of hours counting and playing through difficult piano pieces. It still trips my brain up sometimes.

I have a “Cardacia Pocket Watch” metronome in mint condition… It comes with a small Bakelite stand
to place on your piano. It has the original two gift boxes and instruction sheet. If you have
any questions you can call direct 94-9776 New York! This was made before the seven number telephone
system kicked.It makes no noise and you can see the needle swing back and forth from about
two feet away.Until ya’ get your timing down, where you just need a quick look see, get
a LOUD speaker modal! Most come with a flashing light which can cause a hiss’fit Start as soon as
you can stand it, even just to get your rolls slowly in time.You will eventually hear about playing “Bluegrass” time, just atop or "leaning forward’ on the beat.You have to know where the beat is to top it. The above online Metro’s are free and probably don’t wind down.{The Cardacia is available from me for $550.00 Western Union Only} Just jokein’ Ben…

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I called, but there was no answer… :rofl:

Well, I would use just a PC based one but I do play some piano as well. I’ve picked this Wittner MT-70 for the features and reviews; this is the best price online (Amazon wanted 50% more!):

This close to Christmas I refrain from buying myself things, I just put it on my “list” so hopefully I’ll be able to review it then!


I’ve had one of these like forever. Used it almost daily for many years.

simple, loud enough for banjo or fiddle, and great battery life…just not sure they still make them…

Here’s a review I found on some current models

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