Author: Kathy Unruh
To some of you, the thought of using a metronome may conjure up old memories of past piano lessons. If the experience was an unpleasant one you may have developed some negetive ideas as a result. Perhaps I can help to dispel any misconceptions you might have by explaining how a metronome can be used to benefit your guitar playing.
For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, a metronome is an instrument that is used for clicking off exact intervals of time within a given piece of music. The tempo can be adjusted to suit any relative speed that is suggested for a particular composition or exercise. They come in a variety of types and sizes too. Everything from a large wind-up, pendulum swinging metronome to a small, pocket-size digital one with lights that blink on each beat, are available.
As a guitar player, one of your highest priorities should be learning how to count time correctly. A metronome can work wonders in helping you to develop a more consistent rhythmic feel. It can be used to practice simple exercises (such as scales or licks) or help you to master a more complicated piece of guitar music, whether it be classical, jazz, rock or whatever.
When using a metronome, set the click on the quarter beat (or down beat) of the music. This will make it much easier for you to count the time. In other words, when using a 4/4 rhythm(regardless if you're playing quarter notes, eighth notes, sixteenth notes, etc.) set the click to sound four beats per measure.
It's usually easier to begin learning a new song by setting the tempo at a slower speed than may be indicated on the piece of music you're playing. This is especially important if you have never used a metronome before because it will seem a little weird at first! Setting a slower tempo will give you time to map out the fingering on the guitar and get used to recognizing the down beat. Be patient with yourself. With a little persistance and practice you will begin to notice a definite improvement in your overall performance. It's just a matter of time :)
If you need further help with understanding notes and rhythm, please see my free guitar lesson titled:
The Importance of Rhythm
Kathy Unruh is a singer/songwriter and webmaster of ABC Learn Guitar. She has been writing songs and providing guitar lessons to students of all ages for over 20 years. For free guitar lessons, plus tips and resources on songwriting, recording and creating a music career, please visit: http://www.abclearnguitar.com
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