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!
Welcome to part one 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.
…go and buy one! It doesn’t matter if it’s an old wooden one or a fancy new electronic one, they all do the same job. You can download free metronome apps for most smart phones, or download free metronome programs for your computer. There is literally no excuse for not owning a metronome!
I am constantly losing and re-finding my metronomes, so I’ve ended up accumulating ton of different ones. Here are my favourites:
- For general use, the Korg MA -30.
- On my HTC, I use Gabriel Simoes’ ‘Mobile Metronome’.
- On my macbook, I use Ron Fleckner’s excellent free metronome program. It looks like this…
No Guitar? No problem!
Clap in time with the metronome. When you lock just right, your hand-claps will drown out the click and the metronome will sound like it’s disappeared. If you deviate from the pulse, you’ll hear the click ‘poke out’ either side of your hand clap.
While you do this (and while you do any metronome exercise) make sure to tap your foot in time with the click. You can tap on every beat, just on the 2 &4, or even just on the 1…but make sure you keep that foot going. It’ll develop into a constant, physical connection with the pulse – your own built in metronome – something that comes in handy in a lot of situations you might not expect (any kind of playing, sight-reading, transcription etc…).
The metronome is a fantastic tool for improving your speed and technical facility on the guitar. I like to take a lick, start it really slow and gradually increase the metronome speed until it’s stretching the limits of my technique. Over time, I’ll be able to play it faster and faster…It’s important to start slow to develop relaxed control and good muscle memory.
For more Robbie Mcintosh, check out http://www.robbiemcintosh.com/.