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How to use a metronome?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Cloud_Connected, Aug 25, 2007.


  1. Cloud_Connected

    Cloud_Connected

    Jan 31, 2006
    Sweden
    Is the point with a metronome to hit 4 notes between every beat.
    For example: Klick! 1 2 3 4 Klick! 1 2 3 4 Klick!
    Man how the hell can people keep doin that at 208.
     
  2. nastyn8c

    nastyn8c

    Feb 7, 2005
    Tampa, FL
    Metronomes do a click for every beat.
     
  3. 98dvl

    98dvl

    Jan 31, 2002
    USA
    There are all kinds of ways to use a metronome, be creative!

    1 click for every beat
    1 click for every 16th note (helps to feel the groove)
    1 click for beats 2 and 4 (play on the backbeat)
    1 click for just the 1st beat (keep your own time for the rest of the measure)
    etc.

    Our drummer shared a little trick that works if you have some sort of programmable metronome (like a drum machine?)...

    Set it up so it plays 1 click for every beat (or whatever you like) for a couple bars. Then, have it silent for 5 or 6 bars. Then, have it come in for a couple more bars. The idea is that when it comes back on, you should be right on time - so you have to keep your own time for those 5 or 6 bars. Maybe start with it silent for 1 bar, then work your way up for longer periods of time.
     
  4. DocBop

    DocBop

    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    There are fancy metronomes that can make different sounds for each subdivision of the time signature. It's up to you how you want to interpret the beeps of the metronome. Typically people do just think of each beep as a beat. So for 4/4 you think of each beep a 1, 2, 3, 4. That is a good way to start with a metronome and also start by clapping with the metronome, leave you bass in the stand. The mistake most make is when they clap with the metronome they try to listen to the beep. If you hear the beep your time is off. You want the sound of your clapping to make the beep disappear, then you are playing in time. It's like playing along with a CD. If you are playing the same line as the bass player on the CD if you hear the bass on the CD then you are out of time. Once you can clap time with the metronome then try playing a simple bass line with the metronome, the sound of the metronome should disappear when you are in time. Try playing some half-notes with the metronome, you should only hear every other beep. That is the basics, one beep equals one beat.

    As you get better and want to work on groove then use the metronome beeping on 2 and 4 of the measure. You don't need a special metronome you just cut the metronome speed in-half, and count so the beeps as 2 and 4. Yes, that take a bit of getting used to, but once you learn the trick it's not hard.

    For real fast tempos you like playing Bebop with tempos over 300, then just set metronome to beep on 1 and 3 or maybe just on 1.

    A lot of people think the metronome is a cold tool to use, but it all depends on how creative you think. I hear a metronome and feel the pulse and can hear great grooves and swinging, bass lines. You learn to jam with the metronome and play around with being on top or the beat or behind the beat. If you can groove to a metronome you can groove to anything even drummers with bad time. Bass players with good time get work no matter how simple or fancy they play.

    Drum machine are not for working on time they mask too much. Drum machines are good for other things, but for working on time you need to use a metronome.
     
  5. + 1 to the last post. Metronomes are are amazing tools for bass players. Great way to learn to groove and stay on the beat. I call mine "Honest John". No matter how wrong I think he is, he always tells the truth.
     
  6. 98dvl

    98dvl

    Jan 31, 2002
    USA
    However, you can still use a drum machine AS a metronome.

    I don't know what the fancier metronomes cost, but my Zoom RT-223 was about $100. I can program it to be a "drum player" or a metronome (with just a simple click or snare hit, whatever I seem fit).
     
  7. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Use it every way you can think of and don't lock into just one method...take EVERYONE'S advice and try it out. There have been lots of extremely heated, long and boring arguments about how to use the 'nome and the conclusion I've come to is that if you play with it with a clear mind every day and don't lean on it but rather let it just kinda be there to guide when you need it you you'll benefit. I tend to gravitate towards what feels uncomfortable....so if click on 1 & 3 felt great but click on 2 & 4 was uncomfortable I'd be working on 2 & 4.
     
  8. notdavey

    notdavey

    Nov 2, 2006
    Seattle WA
    An interesting comment on metronome use from bass great Mr. Jeff Berlin:

    Practicing with a metronome defeats the whole purpose of practicing because practicing is a fact finding event, not a performance event. When you play, you are supposed to play in time. When you practice, you are supposed to be learning new material or re-establishing contact with older studies. Reading new music should never, ever be done with a metronome because the click becomes the priority, not the music. Good time comes from the experience of playing your instrument on a regular basis and having a familiarity with your style. Every great musician knows this. If you ever listen to the smoking big bands from the 1930's and 1940' s, ask yourself how 15 guys played as one without ever dragging the time, always sitting dead on the quarter note and swinging the music like it was a living entity. Those bands played some of the hottest music in history and you can't tell me that a metronome EVER gave those musicians the sense of time that they put out in those bands. Their sense of time came from inside, and most players today don't know this or even how to find that internal place to draw from.

    Gary Burton used a metronome as a teenager because he felt that his solos rushed too much. But, he was already a master player who wanted to deal with a specific element of his developing skills. Today, guys emphasize metronomes as the WAY to get good time. Bad mistake! The more you play, the better your time will become. Automatically!

    James Jamerson, Jerry Jemmott, Rocco Prestia, Jaco Pastorius, Larry Graham, Stanley Clarke. They never used a metronome to give them what they all had, which is killer time. How do the advocates of metronomes explain that some of the greatest bass, drum, guitar, keyboard, string and horn players in music history didn't use metronomes and still have perfect time? As I said earlier, some musicians don't like to think because this question should shake up every musician who reads it.

    My final word on this: a metronome is a tool. Use it as such!

    (Complete article here: http://www.mikevisceglia.com/aug2002.html)
     
  9. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Does TB and the bass community in general really need to go here again?
     
  10. DocBop

    DocBop

    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I say your making a lot of asumptions about what others did. Jeff Berlin typically goes the oppside direction on most topics. I would bet Jeff had the metronome clicking away in his cello playing days. There are some who are born with a natural sense of time same as some have perfect pitch. But most need to work on their time at some point and the metronome is the tool to do that. Also with so many shows these days using pre-recorded backing tracks you better be able to work with tracks done with a click. Studio work like film is all with a click, and with the way projects are done piece by piece you better be comfortable working with a click. People not used to working with a click can get screw up if not used to it.

    So your generalized statement is a real dis-service to young musicians. A metronome is a practice tool that musicians need to learn to work with so it becomes natural to play with as playing with other musicians.
     
  11. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    OH DEAR GAWD! WHY?
    WHY, OH WHYYYYY CAN'T WE HAVE A DISCUSSION ABOUT METRONOMES WITHOUT THE JEFF BERLIN THING?
     
  12. notdavey

    notdavey

    Nov 2, 2006
    Seattle WA
    Sorry I wasn't aware of the past controversy regarding Jeff Berlin's comments on Metronomes.

    Didn't mean to piss anyone off. It is someone's opinion however. I didn't feel I was making a "dis-service to young musicians" since all I did was post a quote from interview with Jeff Berlin. Also playing with other musicians will make it natural to play with other musicians. Anyway....I'd delete my comment but that would defeat the purpose of a forum that allows and open discussions and different opinions and answers to someone's questions.
     
  13. Lost Drummer

    Lost Drummer

    Aug 27, 2007
    Nashville TN
    remember kids, metronomes don't make you mechanical... listening to techno from a young age does
     
  14. kaih

    kaih

    Aug 9, 2007
    Ironic comming from someone named Lost drummer

    Thats right, I went there.

    Edit:

    As a sidenote, I use ableton live when practicing alot. It gives me a metronome, drum samplers if i feel the need to play with that, every time signature known to man, and I can also load up songs i want to practice, warp them and set the tempo lower without affecting pitch if its too fast for me initially.
    It works.
     
  15. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    Do a TB search on the topic of metronomes and you'll find it's been beaten to death..........then resurrected and beaten even deader.................and then propped up and beaten some more............then tied to a '57 Caddy and dragged around the block a few times................then dressed up in a new velvet leisure suit and beaten beyond belief............and then......... well, you get the picture?

    He said this stuff quite a while ago, it's very inflammatory and goes against most people's experience so of course it got "discussed". There isn't anything anyone could possibly say on the subject of Jeff Berlin and metronomes that hasn't already been said.
     
  16. chicagodoubler

    chicagodoubler Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    My personal fav for metronomes-

    click on "et" of triplet. Makes you reallllly feel a shuffle. Try it and see if you can survive the gauntlet.


    Agreed with the above post about using software. Garage band is one of the best and cheapest (free) practice tool out there, and if you have a mac, it's just sitting in your applications folder waiting on you. Try using apple loops instead of a straight metronome.


    BTW, people have been hating on Jeff Berlin for 20 years, and he just keeps making antagonistic comments like the one above, seemingly for attention and little else. Who the hell would call himself a music educator and tell people not to use a metronome?!!!!!

    I'm convinced that without his little comments, we would have forgotten about him entirely years ago.
     
  17. DocBop

    DocBop

    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Jeff is a strange character. When I was in GIT ages ago he was a BIT instructor so I heard some of his rap. Then I became friends later with Jeff students and other teachers who worked with him. They say what is strange about Jeff is he will never tell a anyone the whole answer. They say tt's like he feels if he says everything then the you could be another Jeff Berlin. Most old pros will tell you everything because they know without a lot of practice and gigging its just words. You don't see Jeff talking about it, but according to one of the teacher I know who worked with Jeff they said Jeff was a child prodigy cello player. So you know Jeff did all the things he tells other not to. It's like some old pro's they forget the stuff they went through in their early days just assume they always just knew it.

    When every you hear stuff the big names and legends say you have weigh their answers. Some are just telling you what they think or do. Some are pullin' you leg. Some feel they worked hard for the answer and so should you. Some plain don't remember. Some are self taught and their terminlogy is different. Plus everyone looks at stuff different as this forums points out.
     
  18. lowerclef

    lowerclef

    Nov 10, 2003
    That's hearsay. Unless you were there, you don't know what he did or didn't do.
     
  19. HaVIC5

    HaVIC5

    Aug 22, 2003
    Brooklyn, NYC
    I see what Jeff is saying though. He's basically just deemphasizing the importance of a metronome, saying that it should be used as for improving timing on a passage already mastered - a specific tool for a specific purpose, not an all-encompassing method to all forms of playing.
     
  20. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    AAAAAAAAAAARRRRGGG, NOOOOOOOOOOOO, PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!
    STOP TRYING TO "INTERPRET" SOMETHING OF VALUE INTO WHAT'S PLAIN HORSE SHYTE. HE'S NOT DE-EMPHISIZING ANYTHING! HE MEANS EXACTLY WHAT HE SAYS....THAT PRACTICING WITH A METRONOME IS OF NO VALUE.
    PERIOD.
    HE'S CONFIRMED THIS IN PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE TO TB MEMBERS AND IN DIRECT REPLIES TO THE QUESTION HERE AT TB. SEARCH THE THREADS, IT'S ALL THERE.

    IF YOU CAN FIND ANOTHER PLAYER OF HIS STATURE THAT ALSO SAYS DON'T USE A METRONOME THAT WOULD BE INTERESTING. YOU WON'T. WHAT BERLIN THINKS OR WHAT ANYONE THINKS ABOUT WHAT HE THINKS IS SO OVER DISCUSSED THAT THERE ISN'T POSSIBLY ANY NEW LIGHT TO BE SHED ON IT. IF YOU REALLY FEEL THE NEED TO MAKE YOUR OWN LITTLE JOURNEY OF SELF DISCOVERY TO WHETHER OR NOT A METRONOME IS OF VALUE OR WILL ACTUALLY HARM YOUR PLAYING SEARCH SOME OF THE OLD THREADS INSTEAD OF RE-RE-RE-HASHING THEM.
    thank you
     

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