Syncing with a metronome

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by kessell5, Sep 16, 2017.

  1. kessell5


    May 30, 2015
    So I've been playing for about 2-3 years, and I've been in a bit of a rut with trying to improve my technique, mostly refining my ability to play in time.

    Typically I will practice certain exercises with a metronome, and I notice that about half the time I will hit the note dead on (won't hear the click) while about the other half of the time I will be just slightly ahead or behind. I do notice how my notes will sound more even with better timing.

    Is this normal? Is this something that if I keep working at will just gradually improve over time? Any advice anyone can give would be appreciated.
  2. eJake


    May 22, 2011
    New Orleans
    You will definitely improve with time. Keep playing withe the metronome. we are not machines and will not be exact every single time. That being said, the met will give you good time which IMHO is the best compliment a bass player can get.
    kessell5 likes this.
  3. iammr2


    Jun 10, 2002
    It's normal. Keep working on it till you can hit the note dead on all the time. Then work on stay behind the note, then leading the note.
    kessell5 likes this.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    That's totally normal, and you'll improve. Here's a few tips (at least they work for me):

    Listen to the metronome for about 4 measures or so without playing. Also, tap your foot with the click.

    Don't rush, even being a little behind the click consistently is better than rushing. Ideally, being "in" the click is what you should aim for imo. Imagine the "tik", "tak" of the click on the timeline, and strum the string right on the letter "i" and "a".
    kessell5 likes this.
  5. kessell5


    May 30, 2015
    Appreciate the advice everyone. Glad to hear that its pretty normal. I'll keep plugging away.
    eJake likes this.
  6. I notice that when I try too hard to listen for the beat, I can go slightly out of sync. Instead I try to feel it instead if that makes sense.
    LarryBama, kessell5 and Richie Se7en like this.
  7. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Do different tempos, especially s-l-o-w ones. Spend 5 minutes playing quarter notes at 30 or 40bpm. It will be frustrating but it will immediately improve your ability to relax and go with the flow of the tempo. After that, 100bpm will be so easy....
  8. dpaul

    dpaul Supporting Member

    Jul 10, 2015
    Hamilton, NJ
    One thing about playing with a metronome, don't just play along and hope you're going to sync up. Listen to the metronome, concentrate more on the beat than on your playing, feel the pulse. Rhythm is thing you feel, not unlike dancing. Every time you pick up the bass, play along with the metronome, even with riffs or songs you know very well. You will start to learn to play along with the metronome, and you will FEEL where the tempo is internally.
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  9. BassUrges


    Mar 14, 2016
    Try clapping for a few minutes a day. Set the metronome slow (40 BPM, say) and to an unpitched sound (click or snare, not beep) and clap.

    That lets you focus on rhythm alone.

    Once you are good with that, you can play with time (be a little ahead/behind), subdivide, syncopate, and so on.

    If time is your problem, set the bass down for 5 minutes and just do time.
    kessell5 likes this.
  10. interp


    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    A great drummer I worked with early in my career, when I had a tendency to drag a bit sometimes, gave me a great tip: it is futile to use your head to feel time. Rhythm should be in your spine/body, not your head. The more I used that approach, the better things got. For that reason, I recommend clapping and dancing as a means to reinforce a steady sense of time.
    smeet, kessell5 and dpaul like this.
  11. image.jpeg
    For bass, muting would be a bitch.
    kessell5 likes this.
  12. I have started several answers to this post and deleted all but the following.

    Being able to play with a metronome is the first step, however, it's only the first step. We need to lock with the drums, the vocalist, the rhythm guitar and everyone else in the band. What this all boils down to is being able to feel the beat. Here is a little something on the beat:

    Have fun.
    kessell5 and Old Garage-Bander like this.
  13. I put the metronome clicks on 2 and 4.