This thread is about one of the most essential tools to a guitarist after his guitar, and that tool is the metronome. It is a simple piece of equipment, but it causes most confusion the first time you use it. How do you use this tool? Well Im about to answer that.

The metronome can set the number of beats per minute. The normal standard is to use crotchet beats as this is easiest. So if your metronome is set to 60 crotchet beats per minute, each beat of the metronome goes at one second intervals. So, how do you use it. Well that depends on the note values you are going to use. You have semibreves, minims, crotchets, quavers, semiquaver, demisemiquavers, and hemidemisemiquavers. So you have this little thing that beeps every second, denoting 60 crotchet beats per minute. How do you play all those note values? Like so:

Set your metronome to 60 BPM. To play semibreves, hit any note and hold it for 4 clicks of the metronome. To play minims, hit any note and hold it for two clicks of the metronome. A crotchet is played on every beat. Easy… Well here is the C Major scale in tab form. Under it, I will write out how to play the semi breve, minim and crotchet beats.

``````
E1-------------------------------|
B2-------------------------------|
G3-------------------------------|
D4----------------------7-9-10---|
A5-------------7-8-10------------|
E6-8-10-12-----------------------|
``````

To count that in semibreves, count for beats, then assign each beat 1 2 3 4. On the first beat play fret 8 on E6 and sustain it counting 1 2 3 4 on every crotchet beat. When you reach 1 again, play 10 on E6. So on every 5th beat you play the next semibreve.

To count in minims, keep the same assignment of numbers to the beat but hold it the note for two clicks. So beat 1 hold it until beat two. On beat three, play fret 10 on E6. so it essential goes 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 instead of 1 2 3 4.

To count crotchets, you play them on every beat. Simple as that.

Now we have smaller divisions to consider. How do you count a quaver. Well to every crotchet beat there are two quavers. So between two crotchet beats of the metronome you need to play two notes. You play on the beat, the middle of the beat and the next quaver starts on the next crotchet beat. It is counted 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and To make the counting clear, accent the new crotchet beat when playing the quavers.

Then you have triplet quavers to consider. These are played with three equal length notes played between two crotchet beats. The first one is played on the first crotchet beat, the next one is played 1/3 past the beat, the last is played 2/3 into the beat to allow the next triplet to start on the next crotchet beat. It is counted 1 and a 2 and a 3 and a 4 and a, since timine 1/3 and 2/3 exactly isnt strictly possible.

Next come semiquavers. These are a division of four beats to played equally between two crotchet beats of the metronome. They are counted 1 and and a 2 and and a 3 and and a 4 and and a.

These are simple divisions between the beats. You can get 5, 6 and 7 semiquavers between a crotchet beat as well as 8 demisemiquavers. This is where the simple "1 and and a 2 and and a 3 and and a 4 and and a", method starts to break down. The method I use is to find a word with syllabals that match the divisions. For 5 semiquavers, I use inconspicuous. The syllabals are in-con-spic-u-ous. For a division of 6 semiquavers I use the word in-con-spic-u-ous-ly. For 7 semiquavers I use the word an-ti-dis-es-tab-lish-ment. All these gorupings are called 5:4 6:4 7:4 groupings. This means that in the time of 4 notes of equal value, 5 notes are played, 6 notes are played or 7 notes are played.

To count demisemiquavers I use the word un-con-stit-u-tion-al-it-y.

Again you can get 9 10 11 12 13 14 or 15 semidemiquavers to be played in the time of 8 but since I dont really use those I dont have a counting method for that, however in this case it would be 9:8, 10:8 11:8 and so on to denote the number of demisemiquavers per beat.

However saying that, if you have 12:8 semiquavers, you need to play 12 semiquavers in the time of 8. Since 8 semiquavers span two beats, how do you count this? Well it could easily be written 6:4 so use that method, but if you have ambigous ones like 7:8 you use a seven syllable word to span three beats of the metronome since you play 7 in the time of 8 semiquavers. To do this use an-ti-dis-es-tab-lish-ment over three crotchet where the next set of 7:8 starts on the 3rd crotchet beat. This is used also for 9:8 semiquavers, 10:8 and so on where you find words that match the number of subdivisions of your beat.

Thats how to use a metronome in the basic sense. Now to move on to how to actually get started on it.

Question: How do I know what speed to use?

Answer: Set the metronome to a speed that is comfortable to play at, that means no tension in any part of you and no chasing the beat. Chasing the beat is where you cannont keep up with the beat and you are off it slightly.

Question: How do I know when to move up and how much by?

Answer: Its different for everyone. You move up when you can play at your set speed consistantly and you find it no trouble. Move up by 4 - 10 BPM each time you are comfortable.

When I practice scales or sweeps or any other techniques, I start on 120 and move up every so often, by 4 BPM a time until I hit 144 then move up by 6 until I hit my current speed of 172 BPM. Start at a crazy slow speed and gradually build it up until you reach your limit and try going over that each time until you can play at that speed.

Question: I cant play X note value at X speed, what should I do?

Question: My metronome goes up to 208 BPM and I can play X note value at that speed. How do I get faster?

Answer: Set the metronome to half that value (104 BPM) and double note value X. So if you are playing semiquavers at 208 BPM, you will need to play demisemiquavers at 104 BPM for example.

Question: Should I use my metronome all the time?

Answer: When you first learn something, spend the time working on the fingering
without the metronome until you can do it easily and relaxed. Then start on the timing. [Answer provided by edg]

Conclusion.

Using a metronome is an important part of any musicians practice regime. It helps you keep time and is an essential tool in building chops.

I wrote this because I havent found anything good on explaining how to use one. I know its a bit basic, but I covered some questions that are commonly occuring in this forum. If I have missed any question/answer please feel free to add. Also, crit welcome because there maybe some mistakes.

EDIT:

Hurlyz asked for a conversion table

Semi breve: Whole note
Minim: Half note
Crotchet: Quater note
Quaver: 8th note
Semiquaver: 16th note
Demisemiquaver: 32nd note
Hemidemisemiquaver: 64th note.
Sat in a lab, curing diseases. They actually LET me play with chemicals!
Last edited by Guitardude19 at Apr 2, 2007,
Did you mean for this to go in the UG Contribution forum as a lesson?
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Quote by VR2005
Did you mean for this to go in the UG Contribution forum as a lesson?

I thought it best go here since people come to musician talk to ask questions relating to it.
Sat in a lab, curing diseases. They actually LET me play with chemicals!
Alright that's cool, I was just asking in case.
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hmmm you may post a "convert table" for people who don't like the hemidemisemiquavers

maybe you can say it's also named a 32th or 64th or etc. (I have no idea what it is but it's so long to write... and I prefer numbers! )
Note: Sorry if my grammar and/or vocabulary isn't very good, English is my 2nd language!

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i say we make this a sticky
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To count that in semibreves, count for beats, then assign each beat 1 2 3 4. On the first beat play fret 8 on E6 and sustain it counting 1 2 3 4 on every crotchet beat. When you reach 1 again, play 10 on E6. So on every 5th beat you play the next minim.

Do you mean "semibreve"? Because wouldn't you count the minim every second beat, or am I just counting wrong?

You should ask to have this put into the MT sticky.
Quote by kirbyrocknroll
Do you mean "semibreve"? Because wouldn't you count the minim every second beat, or am I just counting wrong?

You should ask to have this put into the MT sticky.

Semibreve. Thanks for spotting that!
Sat in a lab, curing diseases. They actually LET me play with chemicals!
I guess it could work pretty well as a sticky, if not it could possibly go under the MT FAQ sticky as a useful article. So as not to have too many stickies.

EDIT: Probably should have read Kirbs post more thoroughly -_-
Love ya man.
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Come listen to Zeppelin256 and I jam over some jazz tunes! Unit 7
That's good. Especially covering the "unusual" note timings which are actually
not so unusual and used all the time.

For the "Should I use a metronome all the time?" question... There's a definite NO
situation. When you first learn something, spend the time working on the fingering
w/o the metronome until you can do it easily and relaxed. Then start on the timing.
Quote by edg
That's good. Especially covering the "unusual" note timings which are actually
not so unusual and used all the time.

For the "Should I use a metronome all the time?" question... There's a definite NO
situation. When you first learn something, spend the time working on the fingering
w/o the metronome until you can do it easily and relaxed. Then start on the timing.

Thanks for pointing that out, I ll edit that now since yours makes a lot of sense.
Sat in a lab, curing diseases. They actually LET me play with chemicals!
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ANNDDDD, this has in fact been added to the MT FAQ sticky.

EDIT: Damn
Co-Founder of the Jazz Guitarist Community. PM me or Zeppelin256 to join.

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