6 August 2008

How to Choose a Metronome For Guitar Practice

In this recent post you learned how a metronome can help you develop your guitar playing. But what kind of a metronome is most useful to you as a guitar player? Let's take a look at some essential features to look out for when choosing a metronome to use with your guitar.

Volume

Many metronomes designed for use with loud instruments like trumpets, drums, or pianos make an incredibly loud click. But the guitar is a relatively quiet instrument, unless amplified heavily. So you should look out for a metronome with adjustable volume.

You'll find this essential for those late night practice sessions with the wife or kids in the next room. Of course, for the practice room with your friends you can crank up the metronome for everybody to hear.

Earphone jack

Another good solution to avoid waking up the kids is to use an earphone. If you already play on electric guitar with headphones you can use the jack to mix the metronome with your guitar. Simply plug it into the secondary input of your amp, if it has one. If it doesn't you can use a small mixer, or simply two earphones, one ear for the guitar, the other for the metronome.

Of course, the volume control is even more important if you plan to use your metronome through an earphone.

Tuner

Do you use an electronic guitar tuner? You might like to have a combined metronome and tuner device. There are some good models available, notably from Korg and Boss. This is a nice way to have one less gadget and its batteries to carry around in your guitar case.

Rhythm Patterns

A couple of metronome models can play you more than just clicks. You can get a little rhythm patterns from such a metronome with cymbals, snare drums and other sound effects.

Besides being a little more funky, the rhythms help you feel a little more like you're playing with a band, rather than a machine. They can also help you keep track of where you are; it takes a bit of practice and counting to keep your place in the bar with just clicks to go by. Here are some models with rhythm pattern features of varying sophistication.

Korg MA-30

Korg KDM-2

Korg Beatlab

Boss DB-30 Dr Beat

Boss DB-60

Conclusion

You might like the look of one of those old fashioned pendulum metronomes, but you'll get a lot more satisfying guitar practice out of one with the features above. Choose wisely and you'll save yourself money in the long run. May the beat be with you.

Learn more about how a metronome can improve your playing.
How To Play Guitar In Time
Guitarists, Do You Make These Metronome Mistakes?

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