Welcome to part 2 of this 4-part series on Metronome Secrets for Guitar. Over the course of these articles I’ll be covering lots of different and interesting ways to use the metronome to improve your time-keeping, groove and technique. This will be a nice intro for those new to this tool, and a nice refresher with some creative new ideas for those who are already metroprone.
In this article, we’ll discuss changing the subdivisions that your click falls on.
In the video below, I’ve taken a simple rhythm guitar part and played it with the click on quarter notes at 120 bpm. Then I slow it down to half notes at 60bpm. Then again to whole notes at 30bpm. Throughout, I still play the same notes at the same speed but each time I half the metronome I’m taking away external reinforcement of the time. I’m forced to rely more heavily on my own sense of the pulse.
You’ll notice I also start feeling the click on different beats in the bar (all explained in the video) – this can be quite tricky, so stick with it!
I’ve hidden some modern RnB and gospel licks in the vid, so keep an ear out if you’re into that kind of thing 😉
Aside from being a great workout for your time, the ability to change where you feel the pulse is useful when dealing with unusually fast or slow songs.
I remember sitting with Giorgio and trying to play Donna Lee at full bebop tempo while tapping my foot on every quarter note – it produced a rather frantic performance! He had me tap my feet on the second and fourth beats and suddenly everything seemed much more spacious. The tempo hasn’t changed, but by feeling the pulse differently I was able to totally change how I interpreted the music! I’ve subsequently used this little ‘trick’ to help me in all sorts of situations, from pacey musical theatre numbers to fast funk tracks.
Experiment with this idea when you feel like a song is riding too fast for you.
For more Metronome Secrets for Guitar, check out part 3/4 soon!