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Old 01-06-2013, 06:19 PM   #1
StrykVladzimsky
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Trouble With Metronomes

I've been playing for about three years now, and I've never really had any issues that I couldn't solve with some advice from UG and lots of practice. One thing that's perpetually boggled my mind though is how to use a metronome.I can set it at 80-120bpm at 4th notes and do scales up and down on the click no problem, as long as I work my way up from the beginning. The problem I have is doubling that to 8th and 16th notes. I have absolutely no idea how fast to play. I'll either go too fast or too slow, and I won't know it. I just can't feel the rhythm.
I can play along to songs I've learnt and know how fast to play them, but when for example my guitar teachers taps his foot I'll have no idea how fast to play, and I doubt going up and down my scales in fourth notes is going to help.

Any ideas? I feel that it is really the only thing I have a severe problem with and it's quite frustrating, because all my other guitarist friends have no problem with it at all.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:27 PM   #2
Mephaphil
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Ok so by 4th notes you mean 1/4 notes? 1 note per click?

Okay. So keep the metronome the same. Play 2 clicks per beat once in time. Then double that. That's how I do it.

If you have trouble with that, set the metronome to 100 and play the 1/4 notes, then halve it to 50. Play 2 notes per click, you should be able to do that. When you're comfortable with that do 4 per click so you're on 16th notes. That way you have the rhythm. But try to concentrate on 8th notes.

When you can do that increase the metronome slowly by 5 and play 8th notes until you start to screw up, then go back by 5 . If you're cool with 8th notes at 100bpm see if you can do 16th notes at 60bpm then attempt to do the same method.

You should really speak to your guitar teacher about this, if he does nothing else he should make sure you have a basic understanding of rhythm, it might well be the most important thing he teaches you. Honestly, speak to him, you'll get it soon enough.

Why are you using a metronome?
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Last edited by Mephaphil : 01-06-2013 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:31 PM   #3
StrykVladzimsky
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Ah, alright. That makes sense. Why I'm using a metronome? I want to develop a better ear for timing and to know what to play when I start to jam with a drummer, as I feel it is my priniciple weakness to be unable to lock into a beat.

EDIT: I just read your bit about the teacher and he's hell bent on getting rhythm into me one way or another, so over Christmas break he told me to play to a metronome and learn Erotomania by Dream Theatre, and it's going well
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i keep asking my dad for wood. but he keeps getting annoyed (he's working on a house). and i'm too young to go outside.


Last edited by StrykVladzimsky : 01-06-2013 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:34 PM   #4
Zaphod_Beeblebr
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One thing that might help is setting the metronome much faster and counting every 2 or 4 beats or similar depending on what subdivision you're working on. So if you were working on trying to feel 16ths, set the metronome to something pretty fast and count on every fourth beat. Another thing you might want to do is play in this way and accent every beat as well as counting.

I don't know if this will actually work, I've not tried it but it's something that could work, I think basically what you need to do is keep the same sense of time but re-align where your brain thinks the beats fall.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:37 PM   #5
StrykVladzimsky
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That's an interesting idea, Zaph. I'll give it a go right away!
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:32 PM   #6
mutex77
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I've had the same problem in the past. Not always, but with some licks I just cant click into it. Esp if its a player that uses phrasing thats a little different than what im used to playing. Its not a matter of speed, I just cant get the rhythm right.

Like Zaphod suggested double the speed of the metronome so your playing quarters instead of 16ths, and accent the 1st beat. I also set the metronome up and for maybe 30 seconds I just listen to the metronome without playing. I dunno, syncing my chi or some crap. Then I play the riff to the metronome click in my head. If I cant play along to it in my head I definitely wont be able to play it on the guitar.

Speaking of "playing in your head", dont underestimate mental practice. I found when im struggling with something new if I visualize playing it a few times during the day when im away from my guitar (work etc) then when I try to play it on a guitar there's a huge improvement.

I use an android app called "metronome beats". It allows you to set the number of clicks per beat. Im sure there's others that do the same.
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:14 PM   #7
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A common technique used by a bazillion musicians starting out (and beyond) is "foot & phonics".

Put your metro on a BPM that is slow enough that you know you'll eventually be able to subdivide it.
Then tap your foot down and count out loud with each beat - "One", "Two", "Three", "Four", repeat until you get comfortable with the groove/feel of it.
Then, keep your foot tapping the same with each beat but every time your foot comes up, say "and" -
"One", "and", "Two", "and", "Three", "and", "Four", "and"

Those are eighth notes!

(Note: this is where the terms "Down-beat" and "Up-beat" come from)


Once you can hear this in your mind, some musicians simply stop tapping their foot but are still thinking it "out loud" in their mind, and/or eventually just "Feeling their internal clock",
and some musicians stop tapping their foot but you can see them using their body to "tap" (e.g. guitarists bend their knees, drummers are notorious for "gum chewing face" a la John Bonham)

Using this technique also allows you to hear what various eigth notes patterns sound like when you aren't playing eight of them.
"One","Two","Three","and", "Four"

You just heard 2 quarter notes, two eighth notes, and a quarter note

"One","and","Two","Three","and", "Four"

Two eighth notes, a quarter note, two eighth notes, and a quarter note

After you get familiar with the commonly occurring patterns and how they sound, they become MUCH easier to play without having to count the whole thing out. "Oh, I know an eight followed by a quarter note sounds like da-Dah." (and-Four)

The same is true of 16th notes, (except you don't get extra foot help here - it is still only ticking the eight notes up-down) but it's counted" "One-e-an-da", "Two-e-an-da", "Three-e-an-da","Four-e-an-da" (The foot is down on the the "One" up on the "an" with sub-divisions in between)

And lastly, for good measure, triplets (three notes per beat) are counted "One-an-da", "Two-an-da","Three-an-da","Four-an-da" (with not foot help cause 'there is no up beat'...it's a triplet)

Hope this helps!

Happy Jammin!

Last edited by InfiniStudent : 01-11-2013 at 11:20 PM.
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:50 PM   #8
mdc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InfiniStudent
"One","Two","Three","and", "Four"

You just heard 3 quarter notes, an eighth, and a quarter note

This one would be descrbed as:
Quarter, quarter, 8th, 8th, quarter (1 2 3 and 4)
Quote:
"One","and","Two","Three","and", "Four"

A quarter note, an eighth, a quarter note, a quarter note, an eighth, a quarter note

That would be described as:

8th, 8th, quarter, 8th, 8th, quarter (1 and 2 3 and 4)

Last edited by mdc : 01-11-2013 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:23 PM   #9
InfiniStudent
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdc
This one would be descrbed as:
Quarter, quarter, 8th, 8th, quarter (1 2 3 and 4)

That would be described as:

8th, 8th, quarter, 8th, 8th, quarter (1 and 2 3 and 4)

OOPS! I got so swept up in thinking about the down beats and how the upbeats are just "extra" notes (eighths) "squeezed in" that I described it wrong textually - that's what I get for letting my mind wander. LOL.

Thanks mdc!! (Edited and corrected)

Last edited by InfiniStudent : 01-11-2013 at 11:26 PM.
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Old 01-12-2013, 04:46 AM   #10
CarsonStevens
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StrykVladzimsky
Any ideas? I feel that it is really the only thing I have a severe problem with and it's quite frustrating, because all my other guitarist friends have no problem with it at all.


Just out of curiosity, what kind of metronome do you have?

I've found that they tend to fall into two categories; ones that pulse out 'whole' beats (quarter notes at the tempo you set) and ones that actually subdivide.

I have a lovely little $20 digital metronome from Korg that will beep differently depending on what kind of notes you're supposed to be playing, and it'll beep louder on the quarter notes. So if you have it set for eights, it'll be like, CLICK click CLICK click CLICK click and you can actually HEAR how to subdivide the beat.

If I'm reading you correctly, your metronome doesn't do that because you're trying to fill in the space between the beats to the proper type of notes in your head, and it's not working. Get a Korg digital and see if that helps any.
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