Well I have 3 parts to this post, the first is my problem with being able to keep my hand at a constant steady speed, going up and down, while strumming. is there anything i could do to help me with this?

Secondly, I realize a majority of people will say the resolution to my first problem is to play with a metronome. Unfortunately, the metronome I do have doesnt have very loud noises, I mean if im strumming i can barely hear the ticks. My other problem with the metronome is im not really too sure how they work. hopefully a kind soul on the UG forum could help me understand how the metronome works as well as possibly suggest an online metronome that would be loud enough for me to hear over my guitar.

Finally, I am interested to learn about time signatures, i believe they are called. like 4/4 and so on. I was hoping someone could suggest a site or book to better help me understand beats per measure and so on.

Well thank you for reading this and hopefully you will be able to help me.

A metronome is a good idea naturally but you can also strum along to songs that you enjoy. Find the tabs here on this site. If you have an iphone there's actually a 99 cent app called tempo which is a very good and flexible metronome application.

I find musictheory.net to be a good site as far as music theory goes. It will teach you all about beats and time signatures, etc.

Hope that helps!
My advice would be that you take a song that you would like to play and play the rhythm parts slowly until you can build up speed. The best thing you can do overall is practice.

As for your metronome question, I cannot say for sure, as I do not use them, but I do believe the 'tick' of the metronome is like the snare drum being struck in a song, or more simply put, represents the moment you would clap when clapping along to a song. I hope that made sense. As I said, I'm not sure if that's the best explanation for a metronome, let alone the right one.

And I learned to read sheet music and all about time signatures from http://www.pianonanny.com/ when I was learning piano, but as the previous poster said, http://www.musictheory.net/ offers a very good introduction to music theory.
It definitely helps if the metronome is louder, but you want your strums to be SO on top of the metornome's click that you don't actually hear it click because you two are hitting simultaneously.

You set the tempo and get it to start clicking. Follow the tempo with your hand and start off by playing on every click. Try to make it where you are so in sync with the metronome you can't even hear the clicks. After that you start alternating your strums. Play on the upbeats, or don't play on a certain beat, etc.

There are plenty of exercises that you can do with a good, steady metronome, but that is a good place to start.
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Quote by Seryaph
It definitely helps if the metronome is louder, but you want your strums to be SO on top of the metornome's click that you don't actually hear it click because you two are hitting simultaneously.

Well said.

I think it's worth it to get a good metronome, if yours doesn't cut it. I think mine was around 20$, and works nicely. Has a volume adjustment.

Also, you could try a headphone, if your 'nome has a jack for that.

On the computer front, there are tons of options. I often use Hydrogen, a drum machine program for Linux. There seems to be an experimental version for windows on it's site, but I expect it's likely to be buggy. Even a sequencer like Rosegarden works well, if you want (also Linux), as does GTick. But for Windows, free stuff is a bit harder to find.

I haven't tried any of these Windows programs, but a quick Google search picks up:




I offer no endorsement whatsoever for any of these, mind you. If it makes your computer explode, don't blame me...

You could probably set up basic drum tracks and clicks and whatnot with TuxGuitar. Overkill, but could work.

I'm sure there's tons of other ways, though many of them will cost you a lot more than a 20$ metronome.

As for your problem in general, I agree with what you basically already know. Metronome practice is the easiest and quickest way to being able to keep great time, in my opinion. I think it's the best foundation for developing great *rhythm*, which is a separate but related issue. So hope you can sort out your metronome difficulties.

And a little theory study will clear up plenty on time signatures, quarter notes, and all that stuff. Tons of it on the 'net. I think it's worth learning to read simple rhythms written in standard notation, as well. Don't need to be a wiz at it and play everything the first time you look at it. Just being able to muddle through some simple rhythms goes a long way.