Practicing with a metronome

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Lord Henry, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. OK, I think this thread belongs here but if it should go somewhere else then please feel free to move it.

    As I've mentioned before on these boards I made the change in direction to bass focused about four months ago. I've been putting in about an hour of practice a day and I was starting to feel that I was doing pretty well. Then today, the vocies of several ex-music teachers ringing in my ears, I decided to play with a metronome. The upshot being that I'm not as good as I thought I was. :crying:

    Two hours of back-to-basics pratice later and things are starting to come together.

    So, what I want to know from you lovely people is: How and when do you use a metronome? Is it ticking away whenever you play anything? Is it just there for warm-ups and scales? Is its last dull thud only to be heard from inside the bin?

    I'm trying to make the leap from passable to genuinely good bassist. Where does a metronome, with its steally tick of judgement, fit in?

    Cheers for all and any help. ;)
  2. Using a metronome changes everything! You are always convinced you sound really good, sans clicks... then the clicks start and you are amazed at how out of whack you really are. Another interesting thing is how that click, click, click sounds like IT is speeding up and slowing down...

    So, yes, use a metronome OR, and this is my preference, use a drum machine. Now if you are rehearsing upright bass for an orchestra I don't know if that would really work for you - it could... but I don't know. However, if you are rehearsing electric bass for jazz, pop, rock, metal, whathaveyou... a drum machine makes things a lot more 'real', it is more fun, and you won't slowly become hypmotized and start believing you are a chicken.
  3. paulodumb


    Jan 16, 2006
    ypsilanti, mi
    i can play with a drum machine much more easily than i can with a metronome. i think i read somewhere that when you're playing with a full beat, it helps move you along and forces you into the groove. i have no problem getting into a groove with a drum machine, but every time i turn my metronome on i'm a mess. i think that means i should play with it more.
  4. ToR-Tu-Ra


    Oct 15, 2005
    Mexico City
    I think the drum machine helps you listen to the internal division of each beat, hence it's easier to play with good timing. With the metronome you just have that single click. dunno what's better or worse, as long as you play in time, anything's good I guess :smug:
  5. Garry Goodman

    Garry Goodman

    Feb 26, 2003
    Validating your time with a metronome is a must. Playing every note- quarter notes,eigth note ,sixteenth note and eighth note triplet figures accurately depends on your ability to play "in the pocket".

    Playing to a click track and being able to interact with one is essential.
    It takes practice to learn to clap and play all rhythmic figures from 40-200 bpm on a metronome.Then you have to learn how to "feel" half,whole and notes sustained for any duration "in the pocket".

    No matter who you are and no matter how good you perceive your time to be,you are really guessing until you validate your time with an electronic metronome.Usin a drum machine gives you sound to mask your mistakes behind.

    This is a time consuming process,but you will wonder how you could consider yourself a musician before you did this. Other musicians will appreciate your ability to interact with them and create a groove.

    Once you do this, you will always be a welcome member of a rhythm section.
  6. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    i started out on a metronome, and it was great to develop my rythm. but now my internal rythm is pretty good and i use drum tracks that i got from my teacher.

    playing with a metronome is one thing, and playing along to a sampled drummer doing all sorts of weird triplet or sixteenth rythms is another.
  7. Good points! I am going to break out the click track right away!