What Does Jeff Berlin Have Against Metronomes?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by jasper383, Jul 27, 2006.

  1. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    Yeah. This is a serious test for your internal clock. :ninja:

  2. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Excellent point!

    Jeff is saying good time is important, but it's better for your internal sense of time to practice without using the metronome as a crutch... in the real world, perfect time usually doesn't exist. Likewise, he says it's important to be able to tune your instrument using a reference note rather than an electronic tuner.

    Jeff gets a lot of heat because he expresses his opinions so strongly: he makes it sound like his way is the only way. I don't know that this is his intention... I hope it isn't, because there is no single "correct" or "best" path to becoming a great musician. But Jeff has proven that his way is one way of getting there, so he's certainly entitled to express it... and no one should close his mind to what Jeff says even if Jeff seems to be closed-minded himself.
  3. s.m.80808


    May 5, 2006
    That's right. People speed up and slow down all the time. You have to be able to lock to other people who are not perfect like a metronome.

    I agree that metronomes are a good way to chart progress and use them a lot for that too.

    I also agree with the reference note bit. I am surprised at how many people can't tune by ear.

    Even when I have a tuner, I only tune one string to pitch and then tune the rest by ear using it as a reference note.
  4. Studied at Playerschool under Jeff. Not only is he the best teacher I ever had, but he can evaluate your strenghs and weaknesses correctly in a heartbeat and put you on a path to improve greatly. He's a no-nonsense/common sense teacher which means, regardless of your level or ability, the music comes first.

    You will most likely read where Jeff does bash metronomes, slapping, perfect pitch, etc. He had a fit when he saw me tuning up using an electronic tuner rather than my ear. What comes off in print as Jeff bashing these items is really meant, IMHO, to be a cry for all of us to master the basics first and learn to play. Don't worry about those other things. Jeff is such a great teacher and commands such respect that he doesn't need to even comment on the metronome, slapping.. issues. Just teach music and believe me, people will listen.

    If you ever run into him somewhere, ask him if he's the guy who does that song....you know the one that goes da daaa dada duh. He'll know what you mean.
    31HZ likes this.
  5. Charles_A


    May 25, 2006
    Jeff Berlin bashes metronomes in one issue of BP, Steve Swallow swears by them in the same magazine a few issues earlier.

    I guess you are probably okay either way. Personally, I am going with Steve Swallow.
  6. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    A metronome is a great that that can be used in soooo many different ways. As for me and my house, it shall be used.

  7. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    I always had a suspicion he may have gotten one tangled in his moustache.
  8. snowdan


    Feb 27, 2006
    i spent hundreds of hours with a metronome when i was younger. (like 10 years ago)

    in fact i have yet to come across a drummer who has a more consistent timing than me. :meh:

    i don't use a metronome often now, but i feel that i stil benefit from the rigerous building of an internal clock that i did b ack in the days. however, i cannot say how much of that is practice and how much is talent.

    what i found particulary useful is to record oneself along with a drum or metronome track. listening to that will often reveal things you'd rather not want to know in the first place, but it'll help in th long run.

    berlin is a column writer. that is why he makes controversial statements about things that can be seen either way.
  9. That's the funniest thing I've read on here in a while. :)
  10. spindizzy


    Apr 12, 2004
    Funny but I thought learning to maintain a solid time center was a basic for any instrument. I hope that Mr. Berlin is mearly emphasizing that some non-metronome play is important to expansion of creative ideas and learning independence from externally produced time rather than becoming completely useless when you play without or with a drummer who has poor time. I would not recommend eliminating a time keeping device from your practice routine though as I find that to be an extremely poor recommendation. I am quite sure that it is a matter that if Jeff were to discuss it you might find the comments discussed here were probably lacking enough context to understand what he might have been really saying. If he is as good a teacher as many here have indicated I find it hard to believe that his concerns about metronome use include an outright ban. If so, and I don't care how well he plays, he would be a poor teacher IMHO.
  11. fr0me0


    Dec 7, 2004
    Winnipeg Canada
    I can see what he's say I only play with a click after I've learned something and am bringing it up to speed. When I"m trying to learn something I really don't need that click bearing down on me even if it is only at 60bpm :p
  12. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Neither have I...
    ...and I've never used one (metronome).
  13. Monomer


    Jul 22, 2005
    I had a chance to talk to Jeff when he headlined my school's jazz festival.

    The basic reasoning behind it is that the human body has it's own natural rythem, and metronomes were only used to come up with the proper tempo (in BPM) when composing a peice.

    As he said, "Do you think people playing indian music (think Sitar) sub-dividing a 4/4 time upto 28 times ever needed to use a metronome?"

    Use it as a learning tool - I use mine to speed up chromatic scales and such, but thats it.
  14. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    i repeat .







    practice with a metronome.

    his point is.

    why practice something , with a metronome ,
    if you cant play it yet .
    31HZ likes this.
  15. west*coast*bass

    west*coast*bass Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Agoura Hills, CA

    He fears that his huge moustache will get caught in the mechanism and the metronome will flop back and forth against his man boobs.
  16. snowdan


    Feb 27, 2006

    ...nor would i swear that it's the metronome that built my timing. it didn't hurt. that's for shure.
  17. m.oreilly


    Jul 5, 2006
    Ukiah, CA
    lol...(it could happen though ;) )
  18. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification

    Then how do you know you've got great time?
  19. s.m.80808


    May 5, 2006
    Indian musicians may not use metronomes, but they do use tabla and tampura machines for reference for practice and performance.

    Here are some examples:
  20. spindizzy


    Apr 12, 2004
    Yeesh! It's a tool kids. Use it when it is appropriate and don't when it is not. Time is a fixed property of the greater continuium. Either you have or you don't. How you get it is irrelevent.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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