I am trying to play (finger picking, not strumming) with a metronome. The trouble is, a song I can play at 70-80 bpm pretty steady without the metronome becomes a disaster as soon as I try the metronome, even slowed down to 45 bpm. It is like the metronome turns my hands to stone. I often fumble the very first few notes.
Turn off the “nome” and I do pretty well again, although sometimes I am shook for a while.
I do need to get on the metronome. Although it goes ok without, I know there are inconsistencies that need to be ironed out and I drift a lot. I also need some way to slowly grow towards full speed play.
Hi Joshua, I find it a good exercise whatever the BPM to use beat drops and bar breaks on Justin’s Time Trainer. I always include the latter to ensure I’m in sync with the rhythm of the metronome and not anticipating or waiting for the click.
Joshua, it seems to me that you may have learned to fear it, it’s not uncommon!
Maybe it might be worth trying something else, for example a drum beat - I had the same issue and started using a simple drum track with just kick drum and snare; it works for me.
Depending on what already works or doesn’t it’s hard to know if this will help but adding the metronome (initially) is giving you another level of complexity for your brain to think about so if it’s possible to simplify or reduce the number of things. Eg
if the rhythm isn’t on every beat, clap or tap to the metronome without the guitar
listen to the metronome and count or tap along so you sync / internalise the metronome and can anticipate it on its own
if the finger pattern is complex or changes then just play one part over or slightly simplified
if the fretting hand has lots to do then can simplify eg hold same chord or mute
try a simpler song to get used to metronome in general
if using tab or notation can mark the counts to follow vs the notes
Other things like find a metronome sound that stands out and you ‘get on with’, blend it into play at same time if playing along (some software and websites have notation, midi and metronome integrated and support changing tempo) and then turn down to just metronome overtime.
Some rhythms will be harder to adapt and some divisions will be harder to listen for and accommodate eg start with 4/4 and quarter notes or even whatever the ‘pulse’ of the piece is eg could be beats 1 and 3 so have a different tone for those and listen for them.
If you are learning by ear then it can be difficult to reconcile to the metronome and different speeds.
I guess it boils down to practice the metronome as a skill / layer in itself and build up to using it as a tool on a newer piece you are learning?
It may not be, but I do think I am limiting myself by not using it.
What I think happens is that playing without a metronome or beat measure, encourages or allows breaks in timing. Like a series of flow then hesitation. The hesitation is allowed without a beat to follow and I am learning a permanent bad habit.
So, ready or not, I think I need to persevere lest I have a bigger problem in the future.
I would second the suggestion to play along with a drum beat. I struggle with a metronome - I am guessing that the tick is supposed to be of a very short duration for super accuracy, a nice fat drum beat may give more margin for error whilst still keeping time?
My playing along with drums isn’t perfect either though, I always get ‘intensity’ muddled up with speed and race ahead when the chorus drops…