Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Metronome

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by los3r, Jan 9, 2002.


  1. los3r

    los3r Guest

    Jan 1, 2002
    USA, Kentucky
    I keep hearing about a metronome, i saw one in the musicians friend but i still have no idea what they are.. Should i get one and what exactly are they?.and when i get one what do i do with it?.
     
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    HOSER,

    A metronome is an electronic device which you set to "tick" out a steady pulse (that you specify in beats per minute) so that you can practice playing in time with some objective standard. The idea is that if you practice with one (and they are relentless) when you are by yourself, you will develop a strong sense of time which will help you in playing with others. I own three, and rarely practice without one. Best $20 you'll ever spend as a musician.

    What part of Kentucky? Anywhere near Louisville?
     
  3. What exactly was Jeff Berlin's reasoning with the whole "metronomes are useless" thing? The only thing I remember him saying about it was "come to my clinics and I'll prove it to you."
     
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Man, that's a good question.
     
  5. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I don't ever think jeff said that metronomes were useless. Not to defend the guy, but he often gets taken out of context. I think what he said was that a metronome won't help you play in time if you don't know the music. He did go on to say that once something is under your fingers, you'll find your time is better than you think.

    But as far as developing time feel goes, I don't think a better article could be written than the one Ed Friedland wrote for Bass Player's "Improve your Groove" issue. (Still the best issue of that magazine by far.) The Article was entitled "The Metronome as a Guru".
     
  6. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk

    Apr 14, 2001
    Pennsylvania
    We've bee doind much recording latley. The studio guy had us on a click track. The guitarist just couln't stay with it. It drove the drummer nuts. You can really see ho the guitarist in our group pushes the music. His moving the tempo around gives a great feel.

    I have used a metronome to help training myself. I don't know why it helped, except that it kept me from rushing on the parts that I had worked out and mussing around on the rougher stuff.
     
  7. Murf

    Murf

    Mar 28, 2001
    Ireland
    Funny thing is I never used a metronome but the first band I was in (at the tender age of 13) used drum machines extensively live so I was used to playing to that for a few years until we got a drummer and I gotta admit I found it a piece of cake locking in with the drummer thanks to playing with the machine for so long.

    A funny thing I found when I started doing session work professionaly was that when recording to a click track I often found it necessary to actually play slightly AHEAD of the beat in order to lock down the groove (especially on pop/dance tracks where most of the instrumentation was done on a sequencer).
     
  8. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I used to use a metronome a fair amount, but to be honest I don't like them anymore.

    Why? Maybe it's just because the one I have is a piece of junk, but it sounds really dead and lifeless (y'know, tick-tick-tick-tick). It's kinda tricky to play lines with a lot of feel to them to a dead, boring, robotic beat like that.

    For really challenging lines, it can be an excellent tool (just so you can be sure you're on)... but I think I've been a lot better off by learning to keep a steady count in my head.
     
  9. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I think you missed my point, Ed. What I was trying to get across was that yes, the metronome is a good practice tool, if what you are trying to practice is your timing. Still, isn't it more useful to learn to count in your head? When you're up on stage, there isn't going to be a metronome, is there?

    When I said that I found the metronome's beat dead and lifeless, I meant that in terms of inspiration to come up with bass lines. Much of the time, one gets that inspiration from other band members, and I fail to see how that qualifies as "leaning on them". You have to admit that the metronome's tick isn't very inspiring!

    Actually I play in a duo - just me and a guitarist - so there isn't usually a whole lot to "lean on" in terms of time.

    So, to clarify: The metronome is fine enough if you're trying to practice something specific, but if you're just noodling or practicing improv, I don't find it to be so useful.

    Also, you seem to be assuming that those who don't use metronomes can't be solid players. C'mon, that isn't fair.
     
  10. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Hm, the factor you forget is muscle memory. Being able to count in your head per se isn't going to help you with <b>playing bass</b> in time.
    Learn to play with the metronome, and if you got it down you'll have it internalised. You become your own metronome.
     
  11. Yogi Bear

    Yogi Bear Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2000
    I've got an old metronome that I still use on occasion, but ever since I purchased a drum machine the metronome has seen less and less use. To me the drum machine is just an advancement from the metronome, kind of like comparing an abacus to a calculator. But I do feel that it is a great start to get a good feel for time.
     
  12. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    :p I like JMX's signature! It's so true!

    When you're counting in your head, does that not count as an "internalized" metronome (assuming you're doing it properly)?

    Granted it doesn't translate into muscle memory unless you practice playing and counting - same as is required with a metronome.

    I don't really want to start a big debate over this. All I'm saying is that it's worked out for me. And, for the record, I DO use a metronome - just not all the time.

    BTW Ed - I suggest using the slightly more humorous name TRASHJAZZ next time;)
     
  13. mikemulcahy

    mikemulcahy

    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss

    RAZZLE JAZZLE

    I dont think it translates to muscle memory at all. Muscle memory is an illusion created by repetative motion. Muscle cant have memory, it has no cognitive thought process. However, mental conditioning throught repetative motion can lend one to perform tasks consistantly. The 'nome conditions the musical brain, not any muscle.


    Mike
     
  14. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    On a side note, last night my teacher shared a drill he does with another friend.

    You have to have a drum machine for this, (but essentially, it will just be acting as a metronome).

    He sets a certain tempo with a metronome. Something slow, say 50 bpm. The clicks represent half notes, the 1 and the 3. The program the drum machine to play a beat on the 1 and the 3, then he programs two empty bars on the drum machine to follow. Then they press play, and play along. The first bar sets the tempo, then you have two bars with no support, then when you come back to that first bar, you can see how far off you got in the space of just two bars.
     
  15. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    You`re right of course Doc, but muscle memory is a term people know, so I chose it so I didn't have to explain it in a large post - yes I'm lazy :p
     
  16. mikemulcahy

    mikemulcahy

    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    I know you and the more "seasoned" folks here know that. The point I want to make is that when using the nome as a practice tool, the concentration is on the brain coordinating with the hands in response to the tempo.


    Mike:D :D :D
     
  17. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    SPLASHPADS - hee hee hee.

    You're definitely a talented guy, DEAD AQUA.
     
  18. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    FLUSH SPAZ,

    Man, you don't know the half of it until you've hear BAD FUNGUS play. The man is one Baaaad muthaSHUTYOMOUF!!!

    I hope you've got a good sense of humor, because you've got what looks like traces of quicksand on your sneakers. Have a nice swim! :)


    Yours,

    DURRL FROM IPANEMA
     
  19. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Chris - I wasn't meaning to insult BREAD FUGUE in any way at all. I was referring to his oft-used methods of altering people's names, which I really do find quite funny!

    Heck, I would never rip on anyone's playing ability, especially not when the person in question is clearly a very experienced player.
     
  20. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    (mutters to self....)

    BREAD FUGUE....Bread Fugue....gotta hand it to the new guy....he's got potential.....


    (end mutter)


    (...ahem...)



    RASH NADS,

    No problem. I never worry about anyone insulting RED DOUCHESPRAY...time has proven that he doesn't need much help in taking care of himself. I just thought that - since you were new and all - you might want to know that you were walking dangerously close to the edge of the TB quicksand pit (just in case you hadn't noticed it yet).

    See ya 'round.

    P!$$ FISHJELLO