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Metronome on 1+3 or 2+4?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by dex68, Sep 22, 2005.

  1. dex68

    dex68 Guest

    May 5, 2005
    I'm sure this has been covered here many times over, but here goes:
    I've always practiced anything with a swing-feel with the metronome beating 2 and 4, but I have met musicians for whom I have great respect who say they always practice with 1 + 3. Seems wrong to me, but it sure is alot easier when working on quick tempos. With 2 + 4, when it gets up towards 300 (150 on the metronome), it can be tough to stay with it.

  2. Use the setting that's more difficult for you.
  3. I would have to say go with 2 and 4. Just because if you are playing jazz those are the typical emphasized beats and you get a better feeling for a two feel. I agree with Bruce in that you need to be able to really play with either way but I would think that if you are practicing your time it would be easier to deal with the 2 and 4 that you are gonna feel playing in a real situation.
  4. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
  5. bass_means_LOW


    Apr 12, 2004
    Las Vegas
    If I use the metronome, (which is seldom), on 1 only, or maybe on 1 every two bars.
    This seems to strenghten time by not using the metronome as a crutch.
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
  7. Both. No time spent practicing with a 'nome is wrong.
    As far as it being a crutch, personally I don't think so. Use it as a reference, as a means to develop your "inner clock". You have to ingrain your sense of time so that you only deviate from it on purpose.
  8. jazzbassnerd


    Aug 26, 2002
    I used to be a 1 and 3 person. But after I started doing 2 and 4, I feel my ability to hook up with drummers has gotten better, especially in music where we are playing very "float-y" or "free" with the time (somewhat like Bill Evan's "Sunday Night at ...." but not exactly).

    I think as a bass player 2 and 4 really locks in the "right" (that's not a good word to use) feeling.

    That being said, if I ever tap my foot (which is very rare when I'm playing but that's a different discussion), I tap on one and three because I feel that tapping on two and four gets very uncomfortable as the tempos get higher, and that it gives me a more frantic feeling than if I tap one and three. Again, I rarely ever tap my foot, and it is always sub-conscience if I do.
  9. scott reed

    scott reed Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2002
    I like putting the metronome on the afterbeats
    (1+, 2+. etc).
    Try playing the afterbeats with the metromome
    on 1/3, 2/4.
    How about the click on the and of 2 every two measures?

    It sometimes gets boring out here in the sticks...
    For amusement purposes only...
  10. Libersolis


    Sep 9, 2004
    Austin, TX
    I have started putting the metronome on just "2" or just "4" When practicing faster tempos. Definately helped this past week at my normal Friday gig.
  11. Hal Galper in 'Forwad Motion' reckons hte adult way of playing is on 1 and 3. Why? Because these are the strong beats you resolve to hsarmonic tones on. Emphasizing up-beats is a skill to be mastered and being able to play on 2 and 4 will soon let you know if you can do this.

    I don't think either helps much in the long run, but I can't agree with the no metronome approach - it just depends what you do with it - one beat per bar - one off beat per bar - a different beat in every bar (by doing 4 over 5) or jsut playing off beats. The combinations are endless - there is no limit tohow far you can challenge yourself if you think about it.

    However, i'm no teacher or great player - perhaps Chris will expand more.
  12. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I think you nailed it with the above. The important thing about practicing with a 'nome is that you are playing time against an objective frame of reference. This is the only way I know of to practice playing behind, directly on, or on top of the beat; further, if you record yourself doing this, many of your time inconsistencies will be easy to identify objectively on playback. Many times I catch things this way that I didn't even realize I was doing - the mirror doesn't lie.
  13. Chuck_Hill


    Sep 19, 2005
    Portland, OR
    When I was in college, my jazz band director suggested that I tap my foot on beats 2 & 4, rather than on 1 or on all 4 beats. This helped me in developing my swing feel and getting rid of my classical background hinderances when starting my jazz playing.
  14. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Kristen Korb mentioned in a masterclass (if memory serves) to put it on the 1 and 3.
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think this is a big plus point for 2 and 4 - if you're practicing with an aim to play with drummers, then the hi-hat will almost always be on 2 and 4 (unless it's a particular rhythm) - so if you're looking to play Jazz with drummers then 2 and 4 is closest to what you're going to get in most swing tunes.

    Of course if you're aiming to play other types of music then you need to practice other things and as people have said, it can't hurt!! :)
  16. Ben Rose

    Ben Rose

    Jan 12, 2004
    +1 I do this as well, usually on "4".
  17. Scot


    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    Me too. That really whips your time in to shape, especially when you play tempos that require you to go below 40bpm on your metronome. It's good to have one that goes below 40 bpm for this.