Tired of being unable to stay in time with your jam buddies or band? Well my friend, it’s time to break out the metronome. Once you get the hand of it, using a metronome will transform both your sense of rhythm and your overall technique as a musician.
The only downside is that it’s so dang hard to figure out how to choose the best metronome. There’s a ton of different models available, and if you don’t already know what you’re looking for it can be almost impossible to know which is going to work best for you.
If you’ve ever had a hard time figuring out how to choose a metronome, you’ve come to the right place. This article will give you all the information that you need to make an informed decision, as well as give you five great recommendations to help aid you in your search.
- What Is A Metronome?
- How Should I Practice With A Metronome?
- How Did We Select Our Recommendations?
- Top 5 Metronomes
What Is A Metronome?
A metronome is a device that makes a noise at a set tempo, generally a click or beep. This allows you to practice time based exercises against a steady tempo.
Interestingly, the metronome is actually a pretty recent invention. Well, recent as far as music goes anyway. The metronome was patented in 1815 by Johann Maelzel, though it’s debated as to whether or not Maelzel pulled an Edison and stole the design from Dietrik Nikolaus Winkel.
The device was quickly adopted by professional musicians the world over. Ludwig van Beethoven was actually the first notable composer to start incorporating metronome markings (generally referred to as beats per minute) in his work, having started to do so in roughly 1817.
How Should I Practice With A Metronome?
The metronome is kind of a controversial device. Some musicians feel that using one will lead to playing that sound mechanical or boring, while others feel that it’s the only surefire way to help a musician develop a good sense of rhythm.
The thing is, they’re both right and they’re both wrong. A metronome is just a tool, and the results that you get from it are going to depend on how you use it. A metronome isn’t going to make your playing sound stale or uninspired if you use it correctly, and a metronome also isn’t going to automatically transform your playing if you’re not utilizing it in a productive way.
So how do you use a metronome the right way? Well, there’s some debate to that in all honesty. However, a good place to start is practicing scales and exercises in time with the metronome. When you get bored of doing it in quarter notes, try breaking into eighth notes or triplets. Also, make sure you start at a low tempo like 60 or 70 BPM.
When you’re starting out, you only want to use the metronome for boring or mechanical things. The reason for this is that it gives you an idea of how it feels to play more complicated rhythmic figures, without interfering with your ability to stay locked into group when you’re playing things that sound more musical. Because humans aren’t perfect, we do not play in anything that even resembles perfectly even time. A metronome is just to help train your brain to interact with a rhythmic center. This does translate into better performance when you go to play with a band, but you’re still going to have to get used playing with other musicians. And unfortunately, the only way to do this is through practice.
Metronomes are available online for free, but virtual metronomes aren’t really as good for you as a musician.
The reason for this is that a computer or phone is a distraction. It’s hard to be constructive when you’re phone is in front of you constantly. The same thing goes for the computer. There’s nothing wrong with either of those devices, they’ll just hinder your practice. A physical metronome is great because it helps you get into the zone. It’s just you, your guitar, and a little box that’s clicking at you.
How Did We Select Our Recommendations?
As always, our recommendations are meant to give all of you reading this a viable option. We know that in some cases more expensive products may be objectively better, but it doesn’t matter how good something is if a person just can’t afford it. So keep in mind that the best option for you may not always be the best option for your neighbor.
However, if you feel that there’s something that we missed that deserves to be included in this list feel free to let us know. We always love hearing from you guys, and we do take your suggestions to heart.
The Top 5 Metronomes
Still not sure where to start on your hunt for the best metronome? Take a look at the five products below! Happy shopping!
Korg TM50 Instrument Tuner and Metronome
Seiko SQ50-V Quartz Metronome
BOSS DB-90 Metronome
Cherub Metronome WSM-330