By Paul Kleff
Do you fear or even hate your metronome? Or worse, do you dislike it? Most beginning guitar players who have either never used a metronome or tried to practice with one in the wrong way fall into one of these categories.
Your metronome can (and should) become your friend. Learning to practice with your metronome in ways that are simple and improve your sense of rhythm and timing are key to your development as a guitar player. This lesson will show you how you can incorporate your metronome into your practice and improve your playing today.
What will metronome practice do for you? There are two key important benefits for beginner guitar players. 1. You will improve your timing and your ability to strum chords in an even rhythm, and 2. Your ability to play music in a band or with others will improve greatly. As your timing and rhythm improve, the sound of your guitar playing will get much better, too.
Guitar players are notorious for having poor rhythm. Why is this? When we first start playing the guitar, we are focused so much on the mechanics of fretting and picking the correct notes that we really can’t pay much attention to our timing and rhythm. The guitar is a difficult instrument for beginners. So it’s not really our fault that we don’t work on our rhythm and timing much as beginners.
Because we start our largely ignoring rhythm, we tend to continue like this as we advance. Guitar players spend most of their time playing guitar by themselves. Because of this, they speed up and slow down while playing songs without even noticing. Let’s take a look at some simple ways that you can use a metronome and start to improve your timing now.
The first drill to get used to practicing with a metronome is done without playing your guitar. Set the metronome speed to 80 beats per minute (denoted as BPM.) Simply tap your leg with your fret hand on each click of the metronome. It might seem overly simple, however, you want your taps to be right on the beat—not ahead of it or behind it. Keep this tapping going accurately for up to two minutes. Adjust the speed of the metronome clicks and try it faster or slower, as well. Make this tapping practice part of your guitar practice routine until it is easy for you to tap the rhythm along with the metronome.
For the second metronome practice method, pick up your guitar and fret a single chord—let’s use a G chord to begin. Strum the chord along to the metronome beat. You want to make certain that your strums are directly on the click. To check yourself, record yourself strumming along to the metronome and listen closely to the accuracy of the rhythm of your strums.
Keep your rhythm practice simple. The idea is to build rhythmic accuracy. And consistency. Invest your time into building this important skill—it will pay major dividends in your playing and build your musical foundation for the rest of your music career.
Learning to play the guitar can and should be fun. What you need are guitar lessons that will build your fundamental music and help you progress quickly on the guitar. Get the guitar help you need and learn with the best beginner guitar lessons online.