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Weird thing I noticed about metronomes

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by stratovani, May 20, 2012.


  1. It's actually about me. I was just practicing the bass line to Tom Petty's The Waiting, and to me it sounded and played a lot better at 120 bpm instead of 60 bpm. At 60 I was making mistakes all over the place, and my time was terrible, yet at 120 I nailed it and my time was right on the money! Why is that? :confused:
     
  2. Chris K

    Chris K

    May 3, 2009
    Gorinchem,The Netherlands
    Partner: Otentic Guitars
    Generally a speed between about 80 and 140 can be easily followed by the musical brain. I experienced that many times myself. so in many cases slow paces can best be doubled and fast paces can be devided, f.e 200 will work better using 100 half time.
     
  3. rickdog

    rickdog Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2010
    When this happens to me, I take it as a sign I haven't really internalized the time of the song yet.

    I'll usually start with the metronome at a tempo that gives me a rhythm I can't miss, learn the song well that way, then cut it back to half time. Depending on the feel of the song, I might even play so that half time beat is on the backbeat (on 2 and 4 instead of 1 and 3). That way I have to feel the rhythm and tempo myself. Rather than following the metronome, the metronome tells me whether I'm keeping good time.
     
  4. Jazzkuma

    Jazzkuma

    Sep 12, 2008
    There are a number of reasons for this. If you learned the baseline at its original tempo (or faster) and never learned it at the slow tempo.
    You are so used to this baseline and listen to it a lot, so another slower tempo might sound awkward to your ears at first. This means that you can "groove" on that same tempo but lowering will change the way you hear that "groove".
    And of course playing slower is more difficult because you have much more space between each beat, so time keeping starts to get more challenging the slower you go.
    I actually feel playing slow ballads is way harder than playing uptempo stuff.

    I would suggest that if you want to play it slower do it but instead of having the metronome hit quarter notes have it hit 8th notes so you get a better subdivision.
     
  5. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    Québec
    More subdivisions make it easier for you to play to the click. With more pratice you are going to get more confortable with the click.
     
  6. punkjazzben

    punkjazzben

    Jun 26, 2008
    Australia
    When I was getting my B.Mus, setting your metronome to half-time and using the 2 and 4 is what we were told to do all the time when practicing with a click. So that's what I'd do with scales, arpeggios, walking, and melodies. My timing and groove improved so much just with that little practice technique. It's also great for playing swung 8ths, as it gives you room to move within the beat and feels more natural than a click on 1 and 3.
     
  7. JehuJava

    JehuJava Bass Frequency Technician

    Oct 15, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    +1
    More reference clicks to keep you on point.
     
  8. emor

    emor

    May 16, 2004
    kcmo
  9. Rockman

    Rockman

    Mar 2, 2006
    And once you get good at that put it on one down beat per measure. And once that doesn't phase you put it on a random subdivision. If you can still play in time with a single click on the and of 2 your timing is probably solid.
     
  10. punkjazzben

    punkjazzben

    Jun 26, 2008
    Australia
    +1

    When I want a challenge I pull out the Bach cello suites, set the click on 1 and 1 only, and try to get to the next bar at the right time.
     
  11. Randyt

    Randyt RAAPT Custom Wood Productions

    Jul 21, 2010
    Barrie, Canada
    I agree 100%

    ...my prof used to set metronome to ridiculously slow cadence..drove me nuts..but it made me a better musician..."he used to say to us all the time...if you cant play it slow...what makes you think you can play it fast?...music is easy when its slow...right?"..then he would laugh with this evil grin.!!...LOL
     
  12. FretlessMainly

    FretlessMainly

    Nov 17, 2010
    Do you mean that you are playing the song at two different tempos or that you are playing it with a metronome click every other beat as opposed to every beat?

    I'm assuming it's the latter, and as others have posted, the more clicks you hear, the less your brain has to evenly parse out the intervals between clicks. As your trouble with 60 bpm has shown you, you should strive to become better at slower metronome settings. This will greatly improve your musicianship.

    Try to nail it at 60 bpm then drop the setting to 30 bpm.
     

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