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Bluegrass Forum Jammer
Posts: 155
Reply with quote  #1 
I've had  the subject of metronome on my mind the past couple of weeks.  I belong to several bluegrass related facebook groups and this topic came up again the other day.   A guy posted a video of himself playing a fast tune on his guitar, I believe it was Big Mon, along with a metronome click.  It sounded more like a knock on wood type sound to me.  He was not in time with the metronome and a few replies pointed this out.  I could tell it also.    

Then last Friday night I went out to supper with a group of my pickin' buddies to just hang out and visit, no picking.  We got to talking music, of course.  One younger guy who is an awesome banjo picker, and who had a brief professional career several years ago, but now plays in a regional band, mentioned that he hadn't picked his banjo for several months.  He said when he has a gig coming up he will sit and pick with the metronome for a week or so to get back in the groove.  So hearing this got me more curious about practicing with the metronome.  I have a lot of respect for his talent and ability and his perspective on banjo playing.  

Anyhow, I have never owned a metronome or used one for practicing.  I always played along with recordings to stay in shape.  I just figured if I could keep up with the pros on the records I'd be good to go.   Not saying I can play up to pro standards but just be able to keep time with them is what I'm saying.

So last Saturday afternoon I downloaded a metronome app on my phone, because I thought I had to try it.  I know some of ya are already familiar with all of this, but it was a new experience for me, after playing for over 40 years. 

I connected my phone to my stereo so I could hear it well.  I tuned up the banjo and set it for like 120 BPM and started in.  Well that knock, knock, knock, made absolutely no sense to me.  I couldn't get in sync with it.  So I tried vamping along which was easier but it seemed slow.  I found different settings on the app for different sounds; beeps, clicks etc.  It can be set to go KNOCK-click-click-click-KNOCK-click-click-click, or KNOCK-click-KNOCK-click or other variations.   This helped some, but it was still difficult for me to stay in sync consistently.  

So now I'm thinking, I can't play in time.  :NoWay:  I'm just horrible at keeping time.  :(  I knew better though because I could stay in time with recordings.  Then I discovered the drum sound settings on the app.  I set it for a bass kick and a snare, (I think) hit.  So in 4/4 time it sounds like BOOM-chuck-BOOM-chuck-etc.  Now I was cooking with Crisco!  :excited:

I could play along with that no problem.  I could just jump right in on the beat or play lead in notes and have at it.  :banjo:  It was fun actually.  I ran through several songs, fast and slow ones and even tried out the 3/4 time on a few songs.  So I got cocky to see how fast I could go and keep up.  I laid into Train 45 at 300 and I was good so I got up to 340 and that was just too fast for me.  :NoWay:  I did ok at 320 but I could not sustain it.

Do any of you use a metronome?  What are your experiences with the metronome?

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Junior Topic Picker
Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #2 
Just like you, I don’t care much for the click sounds either. I can play along with them but not what I prefer. It also seems to me that there’s something unique about practicing with the metronome vs. cds, in my case usually the Boxcars. My metronome is a dB-90 that I bought used and luckily it has several drum sounds along with many options and settings. I use it often , but not often enough!
Have a great day
Larry b
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