The Metronome - A Confession

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by danqi, Mar 8, 2005.

  1. danqi


    May 21, 2001
    Some of this may seem obvious, but it wasn't for me.

    I used to hate my metronome. It used to be a symbol for frustration and boredom. Now I love it. Why?

    I used to hate it because:

    I didn't know how to use it. It may sound foolish, but I actually used to look at a line and try to consciously break it down in terms of how to play it. I would say "this note has to be on the 2, this has to be on the 4, this one has to last for half a beat..." and then I would turn on the metronome and try to consciously pay attention to each note and if it is at the right place. Of course, this only works with very simple lines at very slow speeds. Otherwise it is just too much for the brain to keep up with. This was a foolish approach, but I didn't know any better.

    Now I do it like this:

    I first learn all the notes and the rhythm of the line by playing along with the (slowed down) CD till I got it down roughly. THEN I turn to the metronome, turn it on, play my line the way I memorized it, and match it to the beat of the metronome without thinking to much about it, but usually with moving my head or a foot along with the beat. I feel when I got the timing right and don't pay attention to which notes are actually where. Sometimes it still takes a little time to find the right speed, but it's not too big of a problem when starting quite slow. Then I just try to hold the tempo.

    How I learned how to do it this way:

    1.) Playing with a drummer for the first time. I recently joined my first band. The I learned to listen to the beat instead of the melody as orientation. Before that, when I played with CDs, I would usually listen to the bass line I was trying to copy or the guitar melody as orientation. Now I more often than not just need the Drum track. You would think that listening to the drummer should be an obvious ability of any bassist, but when you have never been in a band, it can happen that you don't really notice your lack of it and don't even think about it.

    2.) Forcing myself to practice with a metronome. I had trouble with a line and my guitar player urged me to practice with a metronome. So I just forced myself to get used to it, starting slowly.

    Why I love it now:

    It gives me a kick to play something and lock with the metronome. Keeping the time like that just feels good.
    Also, I take songs or lines I know since years, play them with the metronome just for fun, and see my playing improve.
  2. That's a very interesting story

    I'm just starting on bass and I don't have a metronome yet.

    What is that German Hi-Fi store in your signature for? Do you work there, own it? It looks cool.
  3. Nadav


    Nov 13, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    Good for you, man.
    :eyebrow: I need to start using my metronome more.
  4. danqi


    May 21, 2001
    It's my parents actually. Wanna buy some Hifi? :bassist: :)