Piggybacking on Joe Nerves Metronome Poll

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by eJake, Feb 8, 2018.

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  1. eJake

    eJake

    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    I was so utterly blown away by the response to @Joe Nerve survey. I'd like to hear from people who are either non metronome users or casual metronome users.

    First and foremost, do you record yourself practicing? Do you record and listen to your gigs? If so, when you find a problem spot, what is your method for fixing it?

    When you have to learn a fast lick, what is your method for picking it up and assigning a fingering? Also, how do you know that you've actually got it at the right tempo? If you're playing to a drum machine or a recording, do you record yourself and listen back?

    Though I do not doubt that many folks who don't play to click can have great time, do you think at the beginning, your time would have been stronger if you had practiced with a metronome? Either way, what non metronome factors led to you having good time?

    Along that same line are there any teachers out there who don't encourage the metronome? Why and what method do you encourage?

    My sense of time has always been a strong point in my playing. I had a great teacher who once told me that it's important to play on and off the click. Makes absolute sense to me but from my point of view, click is still absolutely necessary for me to learn stuff. For example: I play in a reggae/pop band where the leader wants all the standard Bob Marley tunes 50-75% faster than the record. How would one shed that without a click?

    My gut response is that the click does indeed provide people with a better sense of time than others (especially because it exposes errors so well) but Im interested in hearing from y'all.

    PS id love to see non click users with good time post videos of them playing something to a click just to prove that good time is good time.
     
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  2. twinjet

    twinjet Powered by GE90s; fueled with coffee. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    49
    No; rarely; shed the part how it ought to be played.

    Audacity is great for slowing down the tempo of music without altering pitch. I assign fingerings based on how the passage flows on the fretboard. When practicing a lick, I set the metronome to a very slow tempo and work up. I know what the right tempo is when--you got it--the metronome matches the original track rhythm.

    I do not play to a drum machine. If I'm playing along to a song, I can follow in time without issue.
    My sense of time has always been pretty good. When I was still in school, we got hammered with Korg metronomes plugged into a PA. I still hear the beeping today.

    Factors? Just playing with good drummers. Always being conscious of how time shifts and making a strong effort to resist slowing and speeding.

    Man, you ask a ton of questions. Probably. I don't know. If one is totally against metronomes, then I can't suggest another way to perfect your time.
    If you want to practice your music and alter anything about it, go with Audacity. You can speed it up/down by percentage and even save it.
     
  3. eJake

    eJake

    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    So you consider yourself a casual user but someone who has played a fair amount with the click? How often do you hear recordings of yourself in a live setting?
     
  4. twinjet

    twinjet Powered by GE90s; fueled with coffee. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    49
    Casual user might be a stretch, really. I only work with a metronome so I can nail a musical passage in consistent time when my focus is diverted to stuff like what I'm playing, where I'm fretting, what's coming up, what fingering I ought to use, etc. All that stuff is second-nature when I'm playing live.

    My internal time is pretty reliable, so I don't practice with one too often.

    I never hear recordings of myself live.
     
  5. I play jazz a lot.

    So I have two metronomes going at the same time but they're out of sync.
     
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  6. BassAndReeds

    BassAndReeds

    Oct 7, 2016
    Well, a few things:

    1) why do you care about other bass players time? Best case scenario, you are better than them cause you use a metronome, and you get all the gigs.

    2) unfortunately the original polls answers weren't really suitable for everyone in my opinion. The answer of Have Used One covers a lot of bases.

    I answered with "I have used one, and it helped". Which should be taken as a win for metronomes, and metronomes getting 85% positive votes.

    I mostly learn tunes with recordings now. I don't play etudes. I can slow down hard passages on my own and learn them no problem without a click. 24 years in the music business, most of that using a metronome, I don't really need it anymore. If I find my time gets off, I could use one, but that just doesn't really happen. I'm not playing hard music. I play covers.

    Not everyone has other's musical aspirations. Most of us I think are just hobbyists. So don't sweat it. Do what you need to do to be who you want to be. And don't worry about anyone else.
     
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I haven't used a metronome in a couple decades or more. I don't find it useful at all.

    I play along with songs I'm learning. If I get to a hard part, I listen to it a couple of times without playing. Then I stop the song and figure out the line. No need for a metronome.

    I have not had timing issues since I was a beginner.

    I really can't understand why so many people are baffled that many of us don't need a metronome. We just don't! :D
     
  8. eJake

    eJake

    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    I am curious how others have learned. I also wonder whether or not folks actually know they have good time without using a metronome or recording themselves.

    Respectfully, It's for sure baffling how rhythm section cats wouldn't use every tool in the box to be tight. This whole "we don't need it" IMHO sets a bad example for beginners. I'm not trying to say that it's the only way but again, in my opinion, it's the best way.
     
    Bassbeater likes this.
  9. BassAndReeds

    BassAndReeds

    Oct 7, 2016
    Talkbass is not here to take the place of a private teacher. It is not here to make someone a better player. It is not here to give the correct advice on how to be a better player. It is not here to teach, period.

    Talkbass is a chat forum. That is it. And here we always tell beginners to get private instruction. That Talkbass should be used very minimally for beginning bassists, and they should rely on their private teachers for guidance and technique instruction.

    So, again, when we answer a poll, you can assume it's just what we do as people, for ourselves. Most of us are hobbyists. We have jobs outside of music. Many of us may not even get paid to play music. We should not be taken as musical scholars or experts. And we are not here to try to set examples for people. We are here cause we like to talk about the bass. But that doesn't mean we are right.

    If you need instruction, get a knowledgeable private instructor that will work with you in person. Don't come to Talkbass for advice.

    Talkbass opinions are like armpits...
     
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  10. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Look at it like this. I fish with a guy at Cape Lookout all the time. You know what he DOESN'T need? Weather radios, compasses, depth finders or any number of other tools everyone else who salt water fishes thinks you "need" to safely navigate through the Cape and catch fish. He grew up 6 nautical miles from the lighthouse. He can SMELL his way aroumd those waters. He has in his head ten backup plans for a day of fishing. If this kind of fish isn't biting on that kind of tackle he knows another spot where you can catch another kind of fish in a minute flat.

    Last time we were out, a storm came over the horizon. Every other boat (and there were dozens) headed in. We were literally the only boat in the Cape. I asked him why we weren't heading in.

    He said "The storm won't come over here. It will head right over there and tear up Beaufort and head in toward Morehead and stay to our South and East."

    He was right. We fished all day with "narry a drop" of rain.

    I have played bass for 30+ years. I was the house bass player for an open mic night for a decade. You almost can't throw me a curveball I can't hit when it comes to bass. I have navigated through musical storms, technical difficulties, trainwrecks, horrible drummers, drunk singers and anything else you can think of. If I go the rest of my life and never use another click track or metronome I could still improve my playing daily through practice and education. And I can lock in with any decent drummer.

    I don't have the fastest fingers on Earth. But I know two things about my skills. I have a great ear (guided by experience) and great timing.


    So what is "baffling" to me is the assumption that because YOU need a certain tool, EVERYONE needs that same tool. ;)
     
    pjbassist likes this.
  11. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Eugene
    A decade ago, probably more, I was amazed at the timing variations. I was working for a neo-RnB artist and doing his album tracks. Great drummer btw in that band, who used a click track. We identified the passages where the band tended to rush and payed attention. That’s it.

    I can use use a drum machine and metronome, don’t generally.

    In the grand scheme of things absolutes are rare. Flex up a bit, maybe
     
  12. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    "First and foremost, do you record yourself practicing? Do you record and listen to your gigs? If so, when you find a problem spot, what is your method for fixing it?"

    I never record practice. I record myself recording songs with other people. Doing that for 20+ years is plenty of scrutiny.

    Personally I hate the sound of a click. I can play to one just fine, but they're annoying. I would much rather record to either a scratch track or drums. If there's a click I mute it when recording my parts except as a count-in.

    "When you have to learn a fast lick, what is your method for picking it up and assigning a fingering? Also, how do you know that you've actually got it at the right tempo? If you're playing to a drum machine or a recording, do you record yourself and listen back?"

    I listen and repeat at full speed. It isn't that difficult an ability to cultivate. I've never needed to slow things down from day one of learning when I was 10 years old. Probably because I didn't have the technology to do so. If a song was too fast for my skill level I would learn a slower song and then work my way up to the faster one.

    On more difficult passages sometime I'll stop the playback and figure out the notes to play, then do it. If you can't hum a few bars of a song to figure out how to play it you don't know the song well enough.

    To know if it's right I listen as I'm playing and adjust. You have to be able to do that to be a competent musician. How else would you ever play with other people? That's all about instantaneous microadjustment of time.

    "For example: I play in a reggae/pop band where the leader wants all the standard Bob Marley tunes 50-75% faster than the record. How would one shed that without a click?"

    You just have to know the songs and be able to play them. You also have to know yourself and what your capabilities are in terms of how fast something can be played.

    None of this is to say that time references aren't important, and that being able to play to a click isn't a valuable skill. It just isn't the end-all of time. Being able to lock in with other humans is the goal.
     
  13. eJake

    eJake

    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    Thanks for the responses.

    I think my man @Basstards really hit it on the head for me. Though I do think talk bass is a good resource. It's probably really confusing for beginners no matter what.

    @twofingers I see your point and know many musicians who grew up in music families who have no need for a click.

    @lz4005 well said. The goal is def to lock in with other players, not a machine.
     
    pjbassist, lz4005 and Basstards like this.
  14. J_Bass

    J_Bass Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2008
    Porto, Portugal
    I don't use a metronome, and I don't even have one.

    If I am practicing or playing alone, I set my time and don't worry much about it.

    If I am playing to a drum machine or to a song, I follow them, no problem.

    Never used a metronome unless it is to know the speed of a song.


    I really don't think there is an absolute answer to this. It's a tool, probably many musicians find it useful and get better playing with it, and some other folks just don't need or want to use them. No problem.
     
    pjbassist, Old P Bass Guy and lz4005 like this.
  15. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    Exactly.

    Time is a weird thing. In a lot of ways you either have it or you don't. Whether or not they've ever picked up an instrument there are people who can't clap on-beat and those who can. It has more to do with listening and internalizing than anything else.
     
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  16. tedious1

    tedious1

    Feb 14, 2014
    +1, in studio, once I start playing, I want the click gone.
     
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  17. J_Bass

    J_Bass Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2008
    Porto, Portugal
    Yes.

    That's funny because I was going to quote Jaco, but gave up because he triggers a lot of different reactions around here.

    But in one interview he says exactly that, talking about drummers.

    He says, "you either got time or you don't, you can't learn it."

    I suppose you can get better, but I believe that, for the most part, it's an innate hability.
     
  18. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    You can get out of your own way, improve technique, improve theoretical understanding, get rid of bad habits, etc, but the subtleties of time are a lot like understanding sarcasm and irony in conversations as an adult. You either do or you don't on an instinctive level.
     
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  19. rtav

    rtav Millionaire Stuntman, Half-Jackalope Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    I use a metronome because it helps. I use it to set initial tempo bpm while practicing so that as I learn something I can accelerate the tempo until I have it nailed faster than normal, making normal tempo a walk in the park.

    I got the idea from other musicians, but especially John Petrucci (slacker...lulz) who said practicing with a metronome is his number 1 secret to being a better musician (John Petrucci: my top 3 practice tips | MusicRadar)

    But what does he know, anyways.

    lulz.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
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  20. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    It's interesting that most people who swear by metronomes can't comprehend how someone would go without one, while people who don't use them fully understand how they can be a useful tool for others.
     
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