Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by gizmobltd, Dec 13, 2007.

  1. gizmobltd

    gizmobltd Guest

    Jun 25, 2007
    Should I use one? Will it help me improve? I sometimes get lost in a song with the timing so thats why I think it might help but i am asking you guys(and girls).
  2. Metronome-yes-very good.

    A metronome will help you improve your time. I don't know why one wouldn't use it.
  3. To me, personal practice without a metronome is just about as close to wasted time as you can get. Sure, your fingers are moving on the neck and strings, but are you locked in? Are you permitting a little 'give' here and there? You really can't tell if you are only using your inner-metronome as a guide.

    I use mine when practicing technical exercises, like scales, slap and pop, arpeggios, etc...

    Set metronome at a low rate - < 100 BPM - start modal scales up and down the next, 1/4 notes - MUST nail each beat. Once nailed at that rate, up the BPM ~ 5 or 10 - do it again.

    The thing I like the best about using a metronome is that it provides you a very real metric to gauge whether or not you are improving.

    Take arpeggio exercises, for example. I start doing minor arpeggios at 100 bpm and can make it up and down the neck cleanly - no flubs... tick up to 110, ok... a flub or two... STAY at 110... OK now I have it at 110... up to 120 - No way... too fast... can't make it... drop to 115, better... not perfect, but better. Mark it. Today's max was 110.

    Tomorrow, start at 110 and do it all over again. Inevitably, I am able to surpass the previous days mark, so by the end of this day's session, my new mark is at 130. Over the course of 2 days, I have seen measurable improvement in that particular technical skill.

    Apply that same method to any technically challenging exercise you may have - a part in a piece of music, an exercise, a special lick or technique, and watch yourself get better. There's nothing like it!
  4. I'd also recommend going even slower. Starting at 70 or 60 BPM, then you'll really see how on or off you are. Playing slowly helps you understand how important the space between the notes are.
  5. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    A metronome if the most valuable tool other than your bass. It is the tool to help you develop the internal sense of time. First just use it without your bass just clap time, but the key is to make the click of the metronome disappear. If you hear the click you are out of time. Once you get good at that at slow and fast tempos. Start with quarter notes then do eighth note to get used to feeling up beats.

    Once you are comfortable with the metronome and have started to develop a feel for keep steady time. Now use your metronome with all your practice. There are other ways to use a metronome, but first get used to metronome. I would just turn on a metronome and leave it on for hours. I'd find myself just hears a steady click and to start thinking of grooves or I would sit and make up and sing bass lines.

    Also metronomes are for working on time, developing time. IMO drum machines are for working on styles, feels, or songs they aren't good for working on time.
  6. I think the OP knows what the answer to his/her question is.

    Did you expect people to reply that "NO, don't use a metronome, it will NOT help you!" ?!

    There's some good advice above, I'd say use it. The reality is that probably less than 50% of players actually do this - so you'll be that much ahead of them in the groove/time-keeping department when you do for a few weeks.

    Good luck.

  7. tww001


    Aug 13, 2003
    Telford, PA
    definitely! I do this all the time!
  8. Well, back in the day, when Jeff Berlin posted at TB, that might be the case. :p

    I highly recommend practicing with a metronome whenever possible. One of my biggest regrets as a musician is not practicing with one for most of my bass playing life. I was kicked out of at least a couple of bands and failed auditions for a couple in the 1980's and 1990's because my time was crap. As soon as I started practicing with one, my time improved dramatically.

    - Dave
  9. mbeall


    Jun 25, 2003
    Some notes on practicing with a metronome:

    Avoid using this as a gauge to see how fast you can play. In otherwords, make sure your practice routine is at a variety of tempos. The purpose is to become comfortable and solid when playing slow tempos or fast ones. I can't tell you how many drummers/bass players I have played with over the years that can pocket great when the tempo is between 90-120 but fall apart when the tempos are above or below that range......especially below.
    Also a method suggested over the years by many a great player is to start with the metronome giving you all the beats e.g. 1/8 notes and then move to 1/4, 1/2, and fidnally whole. Then it's up to you to concentrate on the time and the metronome becomes a way to test yourself to see if you are rushing or dragging. With drum machines this can be expanded to give you 1 beat every 4 bars. If you can groove to this at a wide range of tempos you will not be lacking for work.
    There are many other techniques and methods of this type out there and all of them have the goal of making you time solid which is what this is all about. The Metronome (in spite of what Jeff Belin says) is one of the best investments you can make, especially if you ever decide to do recording. Protools and other platforms demand that you play with a click to make the editing easy. I've seen thousands of dollars wasted in studios because people could not hang with a click.

  10. I'll post a metronome tip.

    If practicing jazz or swing, make sure the metronome is clicking on beat 2 and beat 4. Beats one and three should be silent (in between the clicks on 2 and 4). This way the click of your metronome acts as the drummers high-hat. You will swing much better this way, rather than practicing 4 clicks to a bar (in 4/4time, ofcourse).

    I remember when my first jazz instructor taught me this method. It would take me like 30 seconds every time I started or stopped to get set and my head wrapped around hearing and counting 1 as a non-click.

    give it a try
  11. mbeall and PocketGroove82 - thanks! It helps to be reminded of those things!
  12. mbeall


    Jun 25, 2003
    Thanks, and regarding your previous post, I didn't mean to suggest that a metronome should not be used to work lines/scales/etc... up to speed, although rereading it, it does sound that way. I do this a lot especially for the harder stuff. I'm doing it right now for that transcription of Boogie On Reagae Woman in last months bass player. That s**t is tough at tempo.
    It's just that I seen a lot of people that only use the metronome for this purpose eating up thier practice time with working on playing faster and faster and never focusing on being able to just pocket, across a range of tempos, which is a skill that seems to get bass players called and called back more than the ability to play really fast runs.
  13. Valerus


    Aug 4, 2005
    I really need to resume the use of this thing. It works wonders.
  14. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Lynn Seaton offers some insight in this thread-

    I think it is best to be comfortable with both 1 and 3, 2 and 4, just 4, the and of 2, etc. You should be able to feel the pulse regardless of what beats the metronome is on. The 2 and 4 just reminds people of the high-hat. You can still hear how the 2 and 4 is accented if you set the metronome to a different set of beats.

    Too many musicians rely on a metronome to keep the time for them when they practice. They don't develop independent time, so they end up riding on someone else's coattails as far as time is concerned. When using a metronome, I think it is imperative to make sure you're keeping and feeling the pulse. This is why folks recommend setting metronomes to whole notes. It forces players to subdivide and, essentially, keep their own time.