Hi guys

So I've decided that my timings is truely horrendous so decided to start using a metronome whilst practising. How's the best way of going about this? Should I literally use it for everything I practice? Or have specific part of practice for using metronome E.g. when practising scales. So far I started just doing chromatics one note per beat up to the max tempo, (should I restart with 2 notes, then move to 3 etc?) before playing a few songs to try and keep rhythm.

Advice would be appreciated!
You can use a metronome for a ton of different stuff in your practice routine. I don't think you should use it for everything, free-tempo practice has its place as well, especially if you work on things you haven't memorized quite yet. The metronome is however a great tool to use in terms of pushing yourself, practice timing/songs/concepts with and have a point of reference of were you currently are with your playing.

When practicing scales and technical exercises you can do it a ton of different ways, depending on were you are comfortable. You can do it as you said, playing one note per click, that would be playing quarter notes. You can then play 2 notes per click (eight notes), three notes (triplets), four notes (sixteenths) etc. This can be good for developing your technique over time. I often choose areas i have problem with in my playing (and these are very specific problems, like having problems with inside picking, or having problems with skipping strings etc) and make several exercises to address these problems. Then i start practicing them slowly without a metronome to get them memorized, and after a few days i will start with the metronome and i will use that as a reference of my progress. When i start out i might only be comfortable at 60bpm, my goal might be 120, it will take me a lot of time to get there depending on the material but the metronome will tell me were i currently stand. The metronome doesn't lie to you, it tells you were you currently are in regards to these things.

You can also use the metronome for more work on your time feel in different ways. For example using each click as beat 2 & 4 of a measure, trying to hold your time evenly over 1 & 3 that is not audible with the metronome. You can then do the reverse, play using the metronome as beat 1 & 3. Then you can use the metronome as individual beats, each click being beat 1, 2, 3 or 4. You can also use it to develop a good sense of time when switching between subdivisions, setting it so each click represents a normal 4/4 measure (1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4 etc) and playing quarter notes one measure, going to eight notes, going to triplets, to sixteenths and backwards back to quarter notes.

Of course you can also practice songs along with it, this will highlight how well you know the song because there will only be the metronome and you, no other instruments.

Really, there are hundreds of ways to use a metronome. It is a really good tool to build up technique, timing and accuracy. Just don't become a slave to the metronome, too many people chase the bpm make it their primary goal to play something at a ridiculous tempo when they could spend their time working on more musical practice. But if you want to improve the metronome is a great tool, it is a very honest tool, and it will tell you if you are doing something wrong. Using a metronome and recording yourself is two of the best things you can do.
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If your timing is truly bad you must get comfortable with your sub-divisions. I have found that students who don`t know, understand or can`t play their sub-divisions are the ones that really suck at rhythm.

Here is a link to an article I created here on Ultimate Guitar that will help:


Try using a metronome with the above but also try it with a basic drum beat.

Do you or can you tap your foot when you play?
Do you or can you tap the beat or at least the basic pulse when chilling to music?

Playing to a metronome is very useful but it`s not the be all and end all. Being able to do the above will really help.

You need to live and breathe rhythm. Basically get moving, shaking and tapping in time to any music you listen to - it all helps. You don`t need a guitar handy to be working on your rhythm skills.

I also found jamming along and improvising riffs and melodies over a basic 4/4 drum beat really helped me understand rhythm and improve it quickly and while having fun - bonus!
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Quote by RSGuitarTuition
If your timing is truly bad you must get comfortable with your sub-divisions. I have found that students who don`t know, understand or can`t play their sub-divisions are the ones that really suck at rhythm.

I've found the same with my students- many people lack an understanding of being in time in the first place. Without a good sense of time, and understanding of subdivisions, all other instructions about using a metronome are pretty useless.

I've recently done a video about this topic that might be helpful:

I was in the same boat about 2 years ago. My playing wasn't awful but my lack of rhythm ruined it. I now use a metronome for every exercise I do and every song I learn. I agree with the others, learn how to subdivide and use time signatures. Example. I practice the Chromatic scale at quarters, 8ths, triples, and 16ths notes (in 4/4 quarter is one beat). I'd also suggest starting slow, like 50 BPM and building from there (like add 2 BPM per day or two days...). starting slow can suck though, but well worth it IMO for clean on time playing. IMO learning to play on time is very rewarding
I will reply fully when I get a chance but I can tap along in time with songs etc. But when playing on my own, keeping the tempo correct the entire time is where I go wrong. I go faster or slower than I should be, sometimes on purpose if its a bit boring but obviously that's not good practice in the long run.