21 - How To Use A Metronome

Guitar Lessons – How To Use A Metronome – Lesson 21

How to Use a Metronome

How To Use A MetronomeThe old saying “you’ve got to walk before you can run” certainly holds true when you want start out with guitar lessons. It’s very easy to see your favorite guitar hero rip off a blistering solo and then excitedly grab your guitar and try to shred a few hundred notes out at mach speed, only to be totally let down when it sounds like complete musical gibberish.
The thing that’s easy to forget when you see these shredders soloing all over the guitar neck is that they all had to start somewhere too! Chances are very good that they started exactly where you started and they could not play much of anything in the early days let alone solo like a mad man.
Whether you want to learn to play fast impressive guitar solos or simply want to be able to play cleanly with no mistakes in a nice, fluid manner, the very best way to make either of these happen is to learn how to use a metronome.
Metronomes come in a variety of shapes and styles but they all serve the same basic service which is to keep time. They’ll usually have a dial that allows you to select how many beats you want to it to tick at, as well as a speaker to hear the ticks and sometimes a light so you can see the beat ticking away.
In addition to handheld metronomes there are also software versions that you can install on your Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad etc or if you’re really old school like me, you can use a drum machine.
To use the metronome effectively, you’ve got to have a piece of music or a scale or run that you’re working on and play through it a few times with no metronome to get the notes under your fingers and try them out a few times. Next you’ll start the metronome at a moderately slow pace that allows you to comfortably play the exercise or scale with no mistakes.
When you’ve got the piece mastered at the starting tempo and you can play it backward and frontward with no mistakes, you can speed the metronome up a few BPM (beats per minute). Don’t be too anxious to move the speed up too soon. This is the building blocks of your lead guitar playing and the more seriously you take learning to play clean in the early days, the better guitarist you’ll become.