#1
Hey guys!
Recently I have discovered that my timing isn't quite as good as I thought. This probably boils down to not having used a metronome as much as I would have needed. This doesn't mean, however, that I don't understand the importance of a metronome or haven't tried using one, but every time I do I get stuck in a rut after a couple of weeks, it just seems that instead of playing music (which I love) it feels more like something forced (which I hate) and music starts to lose it's appeal and I just stop picking up my guitar (even if I have a schedule I should be following). I have also tried drum machines and while they are a little bit better I still don't really like it.
Anyways, this time around I have started to play along to the actual song I'm trying to learn instead of using metronomes/drum machines. And if there's a part that's too fast or complicated for me I just download the tabs to TuxGuitar and slow down the tempo and put a "Repeat" mark around the tricky part. This seems a lot more fun so far, but I have noticed that people on the forums always point out the importance of a metronome so I wondered what the pros and cons of playing along to the song are compared to a metronome/drum machine?

Tl;dr: What are the pros and cons of playing along to an actual song compared to playing along to a metronome?

Thankful for answers
//Muffinz
You'll Never Walk Alone!
#3
Hi Muffinz,

Love the name btw! I feel the metronome is there to give you note for note timing. This is why people say to use it when your playing a scale. This way you get each note on time with all your fingers.

When your playing along to a song, you may get a whole phrases in time BUT each note might be slightly out. So there are two different ways of practicing here.

If you want to practice your phrasing then playing along to jam tracks or backing tracks is fine BUT if you want note for note iron clad technique then with scale practice a metronome is a must.

If you do find your getting bored of practicing check out this link - i've been recommending it to a few people who seem to like it.
#4
assuming you are in tune, playing along with a song, there are two exact same notes being played. depending on the mix of your guitar to the recording, it covers your mistakes. i dont practice what i preach, either, but i wish i woulda got into the routine of a metronome much sooner as well.
#5
Playing along to the song will help your rhythm, but (in my opinion) not as much as a metronome. With a metronome you learn to subdivide the beat which is a very useful thing to be able to do; if you just jam along to the song, you can hear the guitar part that you're trying to play (e.g. you can hear the lead guitar and you're playing the lead guitar line). This is much easier to follow because the guitarist on the record is essentially subdividing the beat for you and all you have to do is follow the guitarist, so in a situation where you're not copying someone else (e.g. in a band or playing along to a backing track) - your rhythm may suffer.
Another issue with playing along to the song is that the sound of the song can drown out your mistakes (ringing strings, poorly sounded notes), whereas the metronome won't.

Personally, I don't practise to a song: I play along to songs when I just want to play the song, but, when I'm practising, it's the metronome for me.

Bear in mind, when playing to a metronome, you don't necessarily have to do it a great deal. Even if you just practise along to a metronome in 5 minute bursts a few times a day and don't use the metronome the rest of the time, you'll see improvement.
Speed is a by-product of shut the fuck up.
#6
I've only recently started using a metronome, after having played to albums for years.
I use it to practice fast parts that I can't play right off.
My timing is pretty damn accurate, despite having never practiced it to a metronome before; I can easily play right on the click, divide the beat, etc.
(Also, just an FYI--when I play to albums, I turn my guitar up considerably louder than the album so I can hear what I'm playing and hear the mistakes.)
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#8
Should probably use it more often, if not always. But sometimes music is hard to count in 4's, 8's, 16th's and so on.
#9
I cant seem to get the hang of playing a song to a metronome. After I figure out the rythm parts to a song I like to try and play along to it. After a couple times thru It's easier to get the timing down as well as helping to pick out fill's and such.

I also like to use the drum track on my pedal to help with timing while improvising Blues. I don't use the metronome much. It's kinda boring, but I do understand it's place as a tool to help.
dngrsdave

Heavy Metal Thunder
#10
I hate practicing with metronomes so I use drum beats from EZ drummer. Whatever you play along with you need something that can regulate your timing and keep your playing solid. It's also a good tool for measuring progress so you can use it to see how fast you can go with a particular exercise and to discipline yourself not to go too fast too soon.

Playing with songs is still good though but for different reasons. Great for copying phrasing and tone but you need to be careful to focus on the sound coming out of YOUR amplifier and not from the song.
#11
Whatever works for you should be fine.

I'd play to the music for rhythm parts, but for solos I'd learn on a metronome honestly after you have the key and sound you want to use to put your own feel on it. If you play with the album, you tend to make your solos really rigid and mechanical instead of putting your juice into it.
#12
Quote by evilbiskits
Hi Muffinz,

Love the name btw! I feel the metronome is there to give you note for note timing. This is why people say to use it when your playing a scale. This way you get each note on time with all your fingers.

When your playing along to a song, you may get a whole phrases in time BUT each note might be slightly out. So there are two different ways of practicing here.

If you want to practice your phrasing then playing along to jam tracks or backing tracks is fine BUT if you want note for note iron clad technique then with scale practice a metronome is a must.

If you do find your getting bored of practicing check out this link - i've been recommending it to a few people who seem to like it.



'This page is unavailable'.

Damnit. Figures.... and I got excited about a FREE course that seemed pretty decent too.

As for the metronome, I've found that in 3 days of beginning to use it to monotonous exercises and scales, I've already had small improvements in technique when I go back to playing songs.
#14
that's to bad, your progress will be thwarted
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#15
Metronomes will help you subdivide and get your straight notes more in time.

The problem most musicians (especially modern guitarists because they don't use metronomes) have is not playing complex or off beat rhythms, it's keeping a straight crotchet beat going for a period of time. Practicing with a song is going to be good to an extent but it will hide your mistakes somewhat and the rhythm is going to be easier to follow than a metronome since the music will have a more definite groove instead of a plain click.
#16
The benefit of working with a metronome is that you need to "tune into" the beat of a machine
The precise beat it produce - does not response to your emotions etc.. so you have to "navigate by ears" while playing! Witch is usefull when you play with other musicians in a band situation...
Music is after all mainly about listening and tuning in -

I have made some metronome lessons on my youtube that might inspire you guys..

www.youtube.com/stringsofandersen