Metronome Basics

author: sparta09 date: 06/29/2010 category: for beginners
rating: 7.4 / votes: 8 
I've seen two lessons on using a metronome, one of which had many questions about how to actually use the metronome. Therefore, this is for those who were a little confused. Chapter 1 - Where to get the metronome You can find a metronome by going to your favorite search engine and typing in online metronome; you can find a metronome app for the ipod or iphone, or you can buy them from your favorite music store. They're all a little different; some won't even have half the features I'll talk about, some may have more. Chapter 2 - What you're seeing on the metronome and how to apply it. As I said, there were many questions on how to use a metronome Do I pluck per click? What kind of strumming is for this? And I'm sure there might be more that people didn't want to ask. First, you must identify the type of metronome you have, and as you read this, focus in on the sections that matter to you and your metronome. You can always come back and read this for more details later.
E--5-----5---7------5--7--5
B-----3----------3------------
G-----------------------------
D------------------------------
A-------------------------------
E-------------------------------
We're going to refer to this for all discussions on the metronome. If your metronome has the options make sure it's set to 4/4, and make sure your metronome has 60 BPM set. This means, you're playing one note on your guitar every second. Start the metronome, and just strum the note per click. What you're playing is quarter notes with 60 BPM. Your Beats per Minute is your tempo, that's how fast the song is. Now, don't bother playing with the guitar, just increase your metronome to 90 BPM, you see it goes faster. This is much like when you're listening to a song, you're tapping your foot to the beat, and all this is saying is that you tapped your foot 90 times in one minute. Chapter 3 - 8th notes and 16th notes If you're a beginner you're probably not up to this point yet, but you will need to know this at some point. When you read or hear about people saying 8th or 16th notes, what that means is how many notes per beat. This is a quarter note beat [1 2 3 4] The rate that you say these numbers depends on the BPM. Now let's mix 8th notes into this. However, the beat is still a 4 beat phrase. Therefore, this is 4 beats per note, or quarter note. [1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & ] Now you see here, the & symbol is used for my 8th notes. You would pluck or strum to both the 1 and the & if you were to say them aloud. But let's put our metronome at 4/4 with 60 BPM, to play 8th notes, look back at the TAB I made. Now, before you were hitting each note every time you heard the click; this time we're going to play a note on the click, then a note between the clicks, then the next note on the click.
E--5-----5---7------5--7--5
B-----3----------3------------
G-----------------------------
D------------------------------
A-------------------------------
E-------------------------------

Your metronome ->Click   &  Click  &   Click   &   Click  &
You ->             5     3     5   7     3     5     7    5...
There is still 4 beats in the measure, but our notes per beat changes to 8. When you first played this, your metronome took 2 full measures to play this (1234, 1234) but with 8th notes, it takes one.. (1234) since we're also playing a note between the beats. Now, at this setting your metronome isn't making a sound for the &, some metronomes won't, some will. For now, you just have to make the & sound in your head and do it yourself. Now 16th notes are pretty much the same concept, use the same exact tab as above. This time our pattern is.. 1 e & a 2 e & a 3 e & a 4 e & a You can see that we have 3 notes between each beat.. Use our metronome with the same settings and see what we do.
Your metronome -> Click e & a Click e & a Click e & a Click e & a

You    ->          5    3 5 7    3   575    3    573     5   753
With the 16th notes, we went through the song twice in one measure. Now, I doubt many beginners were able to actually do this with there metronome. However, it gives you the sense of what 16th notes are. You'll work your way up to it! Chapter 4: Options on a metronome Many metronomes out there, all with different features. I like the metronome on my ipod, its called tempo, but it's also probably one of the more complex ones I've used. Some, especially online metronomes will only have a BPM since, there usually just preset to a 4/4 and the BPM can vary. With the exercises above, you should already be set to use these types. If you have a more complex one, I'll try to go over some of the features for you. 1. BPM - BPM, on an Analog metronome (old skool, has a little pin that goes left to right, is wound up..) there's usually a sort of level you can lower. The lower you push that down, the faster the tempo. On other metronomes, you'll just have a dial, simple to use. Some might just have slide, or a button to use. The main thing that can confuse people is that sometimes BPM isn't on there metronome. In this case, look for Tempo Musical notation: Some metronomes have the music notes on them. I can't figure out how to show the notes, but our most basic note is a backwards b it'll just have the bottom b part colored in. If you see this and it's alone, this is a quarter note If you see two backward b with a line connecting them, that's 8th notes, and 4 backward b with a line connecting them is 16th notes. With these types of metronomes, you're going to hear different click sounds. Let's express this as 1, 2,3,4 = CLICK, and our & = click..
Your metronome -> CLICK click CLICK click CLICK click CLICK click 

You ->              5     3     5     7     3    5       7    5
In this example we're using 8th notes again, you can see that the lighter sounding clicks is just your metronome making the & sound you had to do in your head from before. It'll do the same for the 16th notes too. Your metronome may make lighter clicks for the 234 section and the louder click for the 1 in your 4/4 meter. If that's the case you'll hear the lighter clicks between each note, and on the 2 3 4 beats, each metronome can be a little different. 3. My metronome has some funny Italian names on it This is honestly way beyond my knowledge here as to the why. Certain BPM ranges have different funny Italian names. You for now, can ignore this if you have it and just use the BPM. Chapter 5: Some quick tips When you first use a metronome, there are some few basic tips you can do to help yourself. 1. When you first begin using a metronome, if you're using an acoustic palm mute, if you're using an electric make sure your amp is turned down so you can hear the metronome. While your guitar is palm muted, you can use whatever exercise you please and just practice it with the beat. Plucking the notes to the BPM while the acoustic is palm muted or sound turned way down allows you hear and focus on the beat. 2. Still having some troubles keeping the beat eh? Try this, use your foot to tap to every beat. If you're using 8th or 16th notes you can even tap, it for every note, even the ones between the 1 2 3 4 (though your foot might get real tired) 4. Use a metronome for everything. It's useful when you get into a band, it's useful to use as a speed-measuring tool, and it's useful for everything. Chapter THE END I hope this helped people understand a metronome a bit more. I hope that with this knowledge you can begin using a metronome! There are plenty of metronomes out there, and a lot more to learn about metronomes, however, this should help you get you on your way! Signing out, Sparta09
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