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Learn to get Remarkable Practice Results By Using a Metronome. Guitar Control instructor Darrin Goodman demonstrates how to use a metronome to get the most out of your guitar practice sessions. Be sure to get the tabs to go along with this free guitar lesson.
Hey everybody how’s it going? This is Darrin with GuitarControl.com bringing you this video lesson. Today I want to go over something that I keep getting asked about and that is how to use a metronome for practice, so that’s what we’re going to be taking a look at today so be sure to click on the link so you can get the tab to follow along with us and let’s get close up and take a look what we’ve got going on.
Choosing A Metronome
All right so the first thing you’re going to want to get you a metronome. This is a quartz metronome that I’ve had for nearly 40 years, it’s held together with a hair tie. I’ve dropped it a million times and stuff, but it still works so I use it, but you don’t need to even go out and buy something fancy like this if you have a smartphone, there are tons and tons of free metronome apps that you can get for android or iPhone. So you want to get the app if you don’t already have a metronome or pick up a metronome. I don’t think it’s really anybody’s favorite thing to do to practice with one of these, but it is extremely beneficial.
So to start with, what the metronome is doing is it’s just showing you where the quarter notes are in whatever it is that you’re playing. So you know like when you turn on the radio and a song comes on you like and you start tapping your foot or clapping your hands or whatever. What your body is done is found where those downbeats are so when you look at a transcription at the beginning of it has what’s called the time signature. So you’ll see the example in the tabs that their one that you probably see most often says 4 and then it’s got another 4 underneath it, so it’s like a 4 stacked on top of a 4. So what that’s telling you that there are four beats per measure. So the bottom number’s telling you what kind of a note, which is a quarter note because a quarter note is where you’re; one two three four. We’ll talk a little more about that in a minute and then the number on top is telling you how many of those are going to be in a measure, so 4/4 is referring that there are four beats or the equivalent of four quarter notes, but it isn’t going to just be quarter notes, I mean you have quarter notes, half notes, whole notes, eighth notes and 16th notes.
There are different ones and that’s what we’re going to talk about here with this. So another common one will say ¾, what that means is that there are three beats in the measure, so that’s like a waltz; one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three, so what that’s meaning is the number on top is that there are three of the equivalent of quarter notes.
Setting Up Your Metronome
All right so I have my metronome set at 60 beats a minute. So as you can see there’s a light that blinks simultaneous with the click. One other thing really quick if you are using an app on your phone, in the settings or maybe just a button right on the app it might have something where it says to turn on or off the accent or maybe it’ll have where you can select if you’re in 4/4 or 3/4 or whatever, you want to turn that off or set your timing to 1/4. The reason is because you want it to just be a steady click, when you have the accent it’ll make a different sound where one is, so it might be like tick, you know one two three four, you don’t want that accent where number one is at this point in time, if this is new to you. So I’m setting it to 60 beats a minute and we’re going to count with it; one, two, three, four, you want to get it so your body’s kind of in sync with it so you know where that click is, you know tap your foot, get yourself in sync with it.
Whole, Half & Quarter Notes
Okay so if we were doing a whole note, whole notes gets four beats, so we would just one two three four one two three four. Now we have a half note, which gets two beats, one two three four or quarter notes which get one beat one two three four. So in 4/4 timing it could have any of those or any combination that adds up to four, so you could have a half note with two quarter notes, one two three four four one two three four, anything that adds up to those four beats.
Okay, so the next one we’re gonna look at is the eighth note. Now the eighth note is half of a quarter note (let me turn this off, I have a hard time talking with the click going on, I start trying to talk in time LOL). If you have two eighth notes together the first one will be on the downbeat where the click is and then the other one will be in between the clicks or what they call the offbeat or the upbeat. So you would count that one and two and three and four and. So when you hear somebody talk about like “oh that’s on the and of three”, that’s what they’re referring to, so in this case, you have one note on the click and one in between one and two and three and four and one and two and three and four and, so in one measure and of 4/4 timing you could have a combination of half notes, quarter notes, and eighth notes. So you could have a half note for beats one and two and a quarter note for beat three and then eighth notes for beat four, so that would be one two three four and one two three four and one two three four and, just like that.
Now the other one aside from eighth notes, I mean there’s lots and lots of different stuff we’ll look at; 16th notes and eighth note triplets and then that’s as far as we’re going to go with this. So if we do a 16th note, that’s a group of four notes per one beat, so you have one on the click and three after the click and then the next one would start on the next click. So how you count sixteenth notes is 1 e & a, so that’s how you can get the four; 1 e & a, 2 e & a. So the numbers are going to land on the clicks, 1 e & a. Now with these again, anything that will add up to four in a measure, so you could mix quarter notes and 16th notes and eighth notes all together if you wanted to, so maybe half notes, let’s do that. So one two and 3 e & a four one two and 3 e & a four, so I’m doing a quarter note on one, eighth note on two, sixteenth on three and quarter not on four.
Now the last one we’ll look at is an eighth note triplet. So with a triplet you have three eighth notes that equal one beat, so where you hear that in a lot of rock music, you’ve got three notes per click, so it’s like trip le lit. So you want to break it up so you know which beat you’re on. So how I like to do it is that for the first one I’ll say the number and then I use the word yellow for the next two notes because there are two syllables, so like one yellow two yellow three yellow. So with the metronome, one yellow two yellow three yellow one yellow two yellow.
Strumming With Metronome
There are so many different combinations of things that you can do with this. If we we’re playing single notes, but if we were trying to play, say we had a song and it has a strum pattern you know like you’re looking at the tab and it’s showing you that you’re playing a chord and you’re like okay well what’s the strum like? How many downs how many ups? Well this can really help with that, so when you look at the tab I’ve provided for this will show at the bottom half of it is tab and the upper half is the sheet music. The sheet music is going to show you the notes stacked on top of each other and then I like to put at the top of that what chord it is and then the tab will show you where you’re putting your fingers, but if you already know how to play the chord you don’t need to look at the tab, you would just look up say “oh it’s an A chord” and then you might look to see where they’re playing at a this at. If you look at the music part you can see that maybe the first one shows that it’s a half note and then the next one is a quarter note and then the next two are eighth notes; so that would be one two three four and, so as a general rule when you’re strumming chords quarter notes going to be down strokes and a whole note would be a down or a half that would be a down depending upon how the song is, and if you’re doing eighth notes, the downbeat is a down stroke and the upbeat is an upstroke.
Like I said this is a general rule that’s not set in stone 100% of the time, but a really common strumming pattern is what’s called the universal strum that is a half note, a quarter note and then two eighth notes; so one two three four and one two three four and. So a really common song you’ve probably heard that uses this strumming pattern is Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Greenday. So this isn’t a lesson on how to play that song, but I’m just going to play it so you can kind of see how that would work.
All right, so I hope that this has shed some light on how to practice with metronome and how it works and stuff. One other thing I didn’t talk about is that I set the metronome at 60 beats a minute, it’s just kind of a random place to start, if that feels too fast for you slow it down, you just want to make sure you’re in time with it, you don’t want to be trying to play faster than you’re ready to do, so you just want to make sure you’re in time with it. You will find that it’s a little bit easier to play when it’s a little bit faster than slow. So one other thing I want to share with you is that if you’re playing, let’s say we turn it all the way down to 40, see how much time there is between those? So you’re one two three, it’s easy to kind of get where you end up going one two and you’re not in sync with it. So if you’re trying to play something, let’s say you’re playing half notes, it’s kind of hard to anticipate where that click is, so if you count the notes that you’re not playing it makes it a little easier. So you could just count those notes that you’re not playing so that way it can help you to stay in time.
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Thanks for watching and have a great day.