Is the metronome my best friend?

Hi Everyone,

Maybe a very silly question but …

I started learning guitar in June 23. So I’m a beginner. I’m consolidating what I learnt in grade 1, practicing strumming patterns, keeping in time, playing along to songs and trying to memorise some simple songs. In one of Justin’s classes (either in a module of grade 1 or in the SOS strumming part 1) there’s a lesson entitled “Your friend the metronome” where Justin explains about how important it is to use a metronome to learn to strum the right rhythm and stay in time.

I have been practicing strumming in time with the metronome but also of course I prefer playing along to songs. I find following the metronome quite difficult. Not if I’m just strumming and muting the strings - then I don’t find it too challenging. But if I am playing chord progressions of some of the songs I was learning then I find it very difficult to do that in time with the metronome and I really have to concentrate a lot. But when I’m playing along to the music, I don’t find it so difficult to keep the strumming rhythm in time. I just get into the rhythm of the music with the drums and bass and then keeping in time seems a lot easier.

So here’s my question: So why so much emphasis on using a metronome to stay in time. Surely following the rhythm of the drums and a bass is like a metronome anyway, so isn’t that better because it’s playing along to actual music rather than to a click click click click sound? Secondly, why does it seem so much harder to me to keep in time with the metronome rather than a backing track of actual music?

I have to say that I don’t really like the metronome as the whole exercise seems very mechanical with the tick tock noise.

Best, Ian

I think there’ll be some disagreement on this one but my opinion is that if you always plan to play along with a band (be that a live band or a backing track) then practice like that because there’s a lot of value being able to focus in on that beat in among everything else that’s going on. A real live band might not be perfectly in time either.

On the other hand if you plan on being the type who goes to play solo, just you singing along to your guitar then maybe a metronome is more important because you’ll sound bad if you’re speeding up and slowing down

One possibility of course is to change your metronome. There are some that do have various drum beats which are at least marginally more fun than the sound of click, click, click

I’ll be the first to say, I’m no expert, I’m no guitar teacher, the above is simply my opinion and it’s how I’m choosing to learn and as you say, I’m having fun with it


I dislike my metronome… a lot!
I use it anyway, especially when practicing scales… as Matt suggests, I don’t know if I’ll ever play along with a drummer or a band so working on timing is crucial & I think the metronome is key to internalizing good timing & rhythm.
As a side note, I was at a local music store several years ago for a gear show. The live band was a Jazz trio (piano, bass & drum kit) who were moderately successful at the time. I was talking gear with the drummer because I was shopping for a drum kit for my boy. He recommended that I find a good metronome & fit my son for a molded earpiece so he could hear the click when things get loud. He said that was the only way he could keep in time & provide the groove for the rest of the band!
Good luck with your journey!!!



You have answered your own question. When you practice to a metronome your listening to the clicks not feeling the rhythm.
Feeling the groove is a good skill to have at your level. Some people never get it, your one of the lucky ones to get it this early in your journey.


Welcome to the JG forum @Prof_Thunder. Great place to learn from others stumbling a few steps ahead of you on the path. Here is a recent thread with lots of talk about the Demon Metronome.

Yeah a metronome should be a good friend.

Don’t play songs with a metronome though. But do practice scales etc, and if you’re reasonably early in your rhythm, strumming.

I agree with this 100%.

Thanks Michael,

Actually I’m not new to the JG community. Been on here a while. I appreciate the thread you posted. It’s very helpful and answers a lot of my questions.

Yes strumming to the metronome is mostly what I’ve been trying to do.

I don’t always practice with a metronome but when I do I feel I play better and I can do it even faster. And it is just a great tool to measure your progress.

I wouldn’t call it my best friend because my dog would get jealous but is good company :+1:

1 Like

I’m among those who love the metronome and I use it everyday, but…I don’t practice songs with the metronome, I play along with the original to get in the groove of the song. My advice would be to just do your exercises with the metronome: it’s so valuable! It transformed my playing and time feeling…as if my hand or fingers are now trained to move on time.

Thanks a lot for the advice Silvia.

Best, Ian

Seems a consistent theme here which I’m only going to add to. For strumming and progression practice then play with the song for sure. But the metronome absolutely has its place, be it learning a new strumming pattern (with muted strings for example) or scales and exercise work.

Using a metronome is a great way to improve your rhythm and timing, but, I suggest you also work towards tapping your foot or something similar to allow you to keep time even when you don’t have a metronome handy.

You don’t want to end up being so dependent on the metronome that you can’t play in time without it.

1 Like

Something I haven’t seen referenced - What if your learning a blues riff that has a combination of quarter, eighth and sixteenth notes plus a few triplets thrown in? Justin has a bunch of those in his blues lessons. Or syncopated rhythms? I find these challenging and really need a timer to get it right. Even if you aren’t playing those types of rhythms now, you might be later and being comfortable with a metronome would be a good thing.

Thanks for the advice. I think I’m quite a long way from that at the moment But it’s helpful to know for the future.

As someone who plays drums as well as guitar my opinion is that learning to play along with a metronome is extremely helpful. Whenever I am practicing I use a metronome to keep me as in time as I can be whether it be on drums, guitar, bass or keyboards ( I play all of them). I also use one when I’m first learning a new song.

The metronome has one fault. It doesn’t lie. If the drum / bass is from an electronic source, it doesn’t lie either, but if it’s live, well, that varies depending on the drummer.

When I was first starting, I tried using the metronome and ended up giving up on the idea, it sucked all the fun out of playing. Tried again some months later, same thing.

Third time lucky and it stuck.

Don’t stress over the metronome at this stage is my advice. There is always time down the road to become friendly with it.

I also use the Boss DR-01S rhythm partner, it’s a bit more fun than the metronome.

Watch this interview with Josh Smith from 38 mins 20 seconds.

When Josh says he never ever practiced with a metronome Justin is somewhat taken aback.
A great discussion on rhythm, groove, pocket.


It took me ages to hunt the right video down, dug from a dust memory corner somewhere and of course, I had to watch the entire interview all over again!