Practicing alternate picking on electric guitar with headphones on, how to properly hear the metronome?

I posted the original comment suggesting use of a visual reference. I was admonished for being completely wrong. Now, I’m hearing that such use will limit a person’s musical development. Couldn’t disagree more and influencing people to stop using strategies is indeed more harmful. As far as the “experts” go, the finest musicians in the world for literally hundreds of years have all used visual rhythm references. Just go to any symphony rehearsal or performance. These musicians seem to have developed quite nicely.

A conductor of an orchestra is a poor analogy for a metronome.

Yes, the conductor sets the tempo, but the members of the orchestra are not strictly locked to it as you should be with a metronome if you are using it properly.

If you actually watch conductors, it very often appears the conductor and the orchestra are doing different things. In particular, there is a lag between the conductor and the orchestra, and that varies depending on the orchestra, the conductor, and the piece being played.

It’s part of what makes being a conductor such a skilful role: being able to build that communication with the orchestra. If it was as simple as being a human metronome, it would not be such a revered and respected position.

So if you want to give a common example of where humans follow a visual metronome, you’re probably going to have to find something else.



I am not knowledgeable enough about whether visual or audio time tracking is better, but I do find that I like the visual cue as a double check. I play to the tone, and every so often glance at the visual display and find I am an entire beat off and didn’t realize it. Somehow this is easier for me than trying to match the slightly different tone of the first beat, especially with more complex times.

For hearing both metronome and amp output, how about a splitter?

As I indicated before, giving bad advice like you are doing again is more harmful than my advice here, which I learned from at least Justin and anyone who has seen all of his videos will agree with this…or heard it from so many other teachers… And comparing a metronome with a conductor is not the best example, as explained by Keith above…
I hope this helps …

To respond or not to respond…

1.) Keith indicated it would be a good idea if I actually saw what a conductor does. I was in a symphonic orchestra for years that included some members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (well known throughout the world). I have some experience seeing what a conductor actually does.

2.) The original post of mine was in response to a member here that was having trouble with using the metronome. I was simply suggesting an additional alternative, not a replacement.

3.) At no time did I suggest that anyone should be staring at flashing light anymore than should anyone be staring at a conductor or focusing acutely on a beeping metronome.

4.) All of these “devices” are nothing more than rhythmic references. They’re there to provide a checkpoint to assess your timing.

5.) The tone of some of the experts on this forum is becoming an issue that needs to be addressed.

“The problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”


Dennis, if you have problems with me or someone else, you should speak to the moderators about this and they will take action if necessary, you use big words to dismiss what is just what Justin advise is and there are quite a few insulting words in your text and this tone you use is not the first time… I will ask @Richard_close2u to contact me or someone else if necessary …

Ps, there are still some mistakes in your list, but I don’t dare say anything more

Hi Judi, you are totally right that my Roland Cube does not have Bluetooth :wink: Maybe I should buy a new budget amp which does have that function. I still need to find a way to practice with the metronome on my electric guitar. Currently I either practice without the amp on so I can focus on the metronome click and other times I have my headphones on slightly crooked so that one ear is mostly free to hear the metronome. It’s not ideal but it’s the best I can think of :slight_smile:

I dont see any tone issues at all, everyone is entitled to an opinion and as long as its expressed politely then i think thats fine.
I’m more concerned by unnecessary passive aggressive comments. It\s ok to wrong, it’s ok to have a different opinion. Some things work better for some going against the norm and thats ok too.

Chill out folks and if you want to make noise, pick up your guitar :+1:

Except that is exactly how one normally uses a metronome.

And exactly NOT how orchestras work with conductors; and you’ve not refuted any of my observations about how orchestras and conductors collaborate, so I’m guessing you don’t actually disagree with them.

Yes but, beyond this loose, high-level description, the way they work and are used is quite different.

As I said:

In the absence of evidence or convincing argument to the contrary, I stand by that.



This thread is going off the rails.

The discussion about visual time keeping is here. It seems to work for some people, but certainly not everyone.


I have already spent hours in a different topic, trying to sort out issues of offense given and / or offense taken, plus opinions and counter-opinions offered some of which were seen and taken as hostile and as personal attacks.

This community has long been a place of mutual respect, friendly support and helpful encouragement when it comes to learning guitar. It is also a social arena for friendly conversation.

We are not a community that condones or tolerates certain undesirable behaviours. Our etiquette is clear.

Thank you for your cooperation in this.



Way up the thread, some folks have suggested using the Aux input in your Roland Cube. But we haven’t explained what that might look like! So unless you’re itching for a new amp, you might first consider try this - it would be a lot cheaper!

You’ll need two things: 1) a metronome app (I use Justin’s Time Trainer- available on Android and iOS for $1.99 USD, I think) and 2) a bluetooth receiver (under $20 USD) something like this. You would plug the receiver into the Aux input in your amp, connect your phone audio output to the bluetooth receiver, launch that metronome app and you SHOULD hear the metronome app through your headphones plugged into the amp. I’m pretty sure I’ve got that right! :smiling_face:

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Does it have an auxiliary input? You can buy a plug-in Bluetooth receiver quite inexpensively. That’s what I use on my Fender Champion to connect my computer to the amp for playing along with songs, backing tracks, or an metronome.

This is the one I use. It works great.

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I use drum or click track on my DAW. I prefer the drum track though.

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lol That’s exactly the one I linked…

Sorry, I missed that you had already posted essentially the same thing.

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You don’t necessarily need a bluetooth connection, you could connect your phone to your amp’s aux in with a simple cable.


Yeah, I just got tired of so many cables getting in my way. Bluetooth was just more convenient, and it was cheap.

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This is exactly what I do.