How To Practice Guitar With A Metronome: 5 Steps
Under: Guitar Lessons
Aiming to improve your guitar playing massively? Then work on your timing and groove. A skill you’ll need to learn is how to practice guitar with a metronome.
Most people avoid working with a metronome as they feel it’ll make them sound lifeless and like a 2-bit drum machine without any personality!
However, they are wrong! Learning how to practice guitar with a metronome is the quickest way to improve your timing, feel, and grove. All of which will help you get more gigs and better opportunities.
Both Boss and Korg make excellent metronomes that are easy to use, loud and affordable. I recommend using a Korg TM60BK Tuner Metronome, available on Amazon for $23!
Here are some simple timing exercises that will help you learn how to practice the guitar with a metronome and skyrocket your playing.
#1 Your feel
A lot of people hate practicing with a metronome as they treat it like an exercise. Don’t worry, I’ve been there too. It just feels like you’re ticking a box on your practice routine, not playing something musical.
So when you work with a metronome, focus on making everything you play on the guitar feel great and not like an exercise.
Imagine a random stranger listening to you play. Will they want to dance or snap their fingers in time or be completely switched off as it sounds dull?
By asking yourself this question, you can move from sounding bored and like you’re playing exercises to making the song come alive. So, focus on making every beat count.
#2 Play some Motown
Before you dismiss this idea and tell me you play rock, and so can’t possibly listen to Motown or learn from it, hear me out.
What I love about the early Motown records is they are all about the grove. It’s just a bunch of people in a room with a few mics and a reel-to-reel recorder. You can’t get simpler than that!
The songs are well-written yet simple, and the arrangements leave a lot of space. So regardless of what style you play, I encourage you to buy a Motown CD as you can learn a load from them.
Next, write out chord charts for a few songs. Pick one song, grab a guitar and play the tune over and over again. Start by playing only on the off beats (2 and 4). Work on getting it right, each and every time. And restart if you don’t.
After a week of doing this every day, you’ll notice a massive improvement in your timing and feel. Plus, it’s fun to play along with Motown.
#3 You and the metronome
When you’re comfortable playing with the Motown CD, try going nude. Well, not really naked. But do try to play the entire song just with a metronome.
Yes, you, a guitar, and the clicker of death! Ummm… well, maybe not!
The trick here is to hear the missing parts in your head, just like you’re playing with the CD.
Listen to how you play with the click. Are you always rushing into the chorus? Does the verse come around soon? Do you always struggle to move from the verse chords to the chorus?
The more you question yourself, the better you’ll become!
You might be completely scared by this idea. But it works and will help you massively.
#4 Try pop music too
This works on pop tunes as well, so get your “friends” Bieber CD and play along with the CD.
When you’re comfortable, turn it off and work with a metronome. Again, actively listen to how you sound. Are you rushing? Do you struggle to hit the 4th chord in the pattern? Not sure where the bridge section is?
You might wonder, why pop music? Both pop music and Motown are harmonically simple. After a short time you’ll stop focusing on what you’re playing but on how does it sound and feel.
Dance music also works well as it’s usually two or three chords, again allowing you to focus on building a solid grove and not worrying about complex chord changes.
#5 Keep arranging
Try playing something different in the chorus to the verse. How about playing one change per bar? or maybe even holding the chords over the bar lines?
Either will provide a nice comparison to the off beats you’re playing in the verse.
Start this time with only the metronome then move to the CD when you have nailed it. Remember that’s the thing; focus on getting it together and really playing well.
That’s how to practice guitar with a metronome
So there you have a few tips on how to practice guitar with a metronome. Seriously, any time you spend working with on will help you keep better time and feel.
The better your time and feel is, the more others will want to play with you. So, if you want better gigs and more opportunities, then start practicing daily with a metronome!