I've said it befor but I know there have been a lot of new signups since.


RickBlacker
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RickBlacker
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07/16/2013 3:12 am
Folks who are just starting out.. If you take no other advice from me, take this... always Always ALWAYS practice with a metronome. I've been playing guitar now off and on for about 4~5 years... I never used a metronome and I am dearly paying the price now.

I've had to hire a guitar instructor to help me out, help get my rhythms into check. Oh sure, I'll play something for someone and they will like, I get compliments and what not, but that's not playing with a drummer. One of my best friends who I've know since high school (class of 85) is a drummer and all but refuses to play with me because I screw up his tempo.. He totally dogs me and rightfully so.

Get in the habit because it's your guitar playing best friend.
[U]Ricks Current Mystery Video[/U] - Updated Monday March/02/2015
# 1
Slipin Lizard
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Slipin Lizard
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07/16/2013 6:22 am
I agree, but with perhaps a modification/clarification: you don't need to have the metronome on all the time. For instance, if you're a beginner trying to learn how to change between two new chords, first, start off by knowing the two different chord shapes. Next, play one cleanly, switch to the next, and play (strum) only when you know you are fretting correctly. How much time it takes to switch from one chord to the next is not important in the beginning. The mental connection between knowing you've placed your fingers correctly with your left hand and then giving your right hand permission to go ahead strum is what you are trying to develop.

All too often I see beginners, even teachers teaching beginners, put the priority on the timing first... they strum in time, switching from one chord to the next regardless of whether they are fretting properly.... thinking that with enough time and practice, they will "work out the kinks". What is really happening is a conflict in your head where the feedback from your left hand says "ahhhh! I don't have this fretted properly, I'm not ready!" and yet you tell yourself "go ahead and strum anyways, because you need to STAY IN TIME!". You're essentially telling yourself that bad fretting is ok. Yes, with enough effort and practice you can get the chords sounding cleanly, but its far faster to first practice the chord changes first without the metronome, focusing on just playing the chords cleanly, and making the transitions smooth. Once you have that down, add the metronome at a slow tempo and practice changing chords in time.

The other is learning riffs, scale sequencing, arpeggios, hammer-ons etc. Again, turning the metronome off and just getting the mechanics down, then getting the "feel" of the riff or whatever can be really helpful. When you feel like you've got it, then put the metronome on and practice in time.

The bulk of practice should be done with a metronome. If you are going to run through all five patterns of a major scale for example, you should be doing that to a metronome. When you're jamming, coming up with riff ideas, that should also be done to a metronome. If you're one of those guys that says "I hate practicing to a metronome, it just throws me off" then you know you're in trouble.
# 2
matonanjin
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matonanjin
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07/16/2013 1:43 pm
Slipin Lizard, glad you modified this. "... always Always ALWAYS practice with a metronome." is going to give newbies the impression you should always practice with a metronome.

Guitars: 2014 PRS Santana, 2013 PRS Paul's, 2009 PRS Hollowbody I, 1972 Gibson ES-325, 2012 Fender American Standard Stratocaster,  2020 Fender Telecaster, 2001 PRS Santana SE,  2021 Martin M-36, 2021 Martin 000-15M, Seagull S6 Classic, 2012 Yamaha Pacifica  Amps: Fender Blues Junior III, Boss Eband JS-10,  Line 6 POD HD500X, Quilter Microblock 45 w/homemade 12" cab.

# 3
RickBlacker
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RickBlacker
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07/16/2013 2:51 pm
Slipin Lizard

Agreed, my words were a bit harsh with the "ALWAYS", I should have taken the time to clarify that. There are times where using a metronome is not going to help as you pointed out in your examples. I agree.

Having said that, I would suggest not letting the pursuit of mechanical perfection prevent someone from using a metronome. Find a balance and find it quick. If not, it becomes way to easy to find that comfort zone where you never use one. I know this from first hand experience and it sucks.

If you're simply practicing scales, whip out that metro, you've created the basis for a great riff, whip out that metro, you're practicing arpeggios, whip out that metro. I will take back the 3 "always" statements and relent to just 1.5 "always statements. ;)

Go off and have fun noodling around, but don't be lazy like I was for many years. It will come back and bite you in the butt some day.
[U]Ricks Current Mystery Video[/U] - Updated Monday March/02/2015
# 4
Slipin Lizard
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Slipin Lizard
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07/16/2013 5:24 pm
Originally Posted by: RickBlacker
If you're simply practicing scales, whip out that metro, you've created the basis for a great riff, whip out that metro, you're practicing arpeggios, whip out that metro. I will take back the 3 "always" statements and relent to just 1.5 "always statements. ;)


Yep, you got it. That's what I meant. So if you're new & reading this, what we're saying is its ok to "practice" without the metronome when you're just trying to figure out where to put your fingers, or how that fingerpicking pattern goes, etc... but the metronome should be right there in front of you, and the moment you feel you've got the basic mechanics worked out, you should turn it on and practice along with it.

Other tips are:

-make sure the tempo is slow enough so you don't make mistakes. If you're making a lot of mistakes, and losing time with the metronome, slow the tempo down.

-look into practicing with a "beat box"... something that has drums and bass you can play along with. Its makes practicing more fun, and with a bass sound in there, you can hear how different scales sound when played along with the bass line. Its like 2 for 1 practicing... you're training your ear as well as your hands. I use a BOSS DR880, but there are cheaper options out there like KORG's Pandora.
# 5
RickBlacker
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RickBlacker
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07/17/2013 3:23 am
Originally Posted by: Slipin Lizard
-make sure the tempo is slow enough so you don't make mistakes. If you're making a lot of mistakes, and losing time with the metronome, slow the tempo down.[/quote]
Heavy dose of YUP!

[QUOTE=Slipin Lizard] I use a BOSS DR880

Same unit I have. Very cool little tool to have.
[U]Ricks Current Mystery Video[/U] - Updated Monday March/02/2015
# 6
john of MT
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john of MT
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07/17/2013 3:41 pm
It too took me much too long to start practicing with a metronome when I returned to guitar after my decades long break. Beyond the great help building scale speed I was pleasantly surprised with the improvement in chord changes/progressions that it brought about. For me, it seemed to build a more natural, 'don't think about it' chord change ability.

When a junior-high kid practicing guitar I never used a metronome even though we had a beautiful antique one from my grandparents. I would have done much better back then if I had used it. Wish I had it now...
"It takes a lot of devotion and work, or maybe I should say play, because if you love it, that's what it amounts to. I haven't found any shortcuts, and I've been looking for a long time."
-- Chet Atkins
# 7
The Duke of New York
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The Duke of New York
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07/17/2013 7:13 pm
I like to practice with backing tracks of drums, bass and keyboards as opposed to a metronome. (when their available). Then it should be a metronome.
# 8
JeffS65
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JeffS65
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07/17/2013 11:04 pm
I made Rick's mistake too...One you can keep a rhythm, metronome it. I didn't and it made it harder to groove with a drummer. Eventually you get it but it is a killer.

So, newbies.....I think you get the point of the thread by now ;)
# 9
matonanjin
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matonanjin
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07/19/2013 3:26 pm
Originally Posted by: john of MT

When a junior-high kid practicing guitar I never used a metronome even though we had a beautiful antique one from my grandparents. I would have done much better back then if I had used it. Wish I had it now...


Welcome to another episode of "If I only knew then what I know now"! ;-(

Guitars: 2014 PRS Santana, 2013 PRS Paul's, 2009 PRS Hollowbody I, 1972 Gibson ES-325, 2012 Fender American Standard Stratocaster,  2020 Fender Telecaster, 2001 PRS Santana SE,  2021 Martin M-36, 2021 Martin 000-15M, Seagull S6 Classic, 2012 Yamaha Pacifica  Amps: Fender Blues Junior III, Boss Eband JS-10,  Line 6 POD HD500X, Quilter Microblock 45 w/homemade 12" cab.

# 10

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