Essential Secrets 32: Use a Metronome
Use a Metronome
Making Sure Your Tempos Are Even
Mastering the basics will make you a great bass player. As you work on basic music elements like intonation, tone, rhythm, and dynamics, it’s essential that you learn to keep even time. Playing at a steady speed is a crucial part of mastering rhythm and an absolute must for playing successfully in any band.
If you’re serious about keeping a steady tempo, you need a metronome in your arsenal of musical accessories. The difference between practicing with a metronome and practicing without one is like the difference between driving on the freeway with your eyes open and driving while blindfolded. It’s simply too dangerous to practice without a metronome.
Metronomes reveal a universal truth that you can’t see on your own: Bass players slow down when the music gets really difficult—and they usually don’t even know they’re stretching time! Many bassists think they’re doing just fine. Without a metronome, they’re completely unaware that they’re speeding up and slowing down as the notes get easier and harder to play.
With a metronome in place, you will be instantly aware of any fluctuations in your tempo. If you hit a section where you can’t keep up with your metronome, you’ll know you’ve just defined an area that needs special focus. This is a huge practice success! Knowing exactly what to practice is one of the most important time-saving strategies for musicians, and metronomes are the perfect tool to point out which sections of music need the work.
Metronomes are crucial for two other reasons: (1) having a steady, slow tempo to work out Tough Stuff and build muscle memory, and (2) building up speed to the performance tempo for a song.
To make the most of your practice time, use a metronome to help you with all of your time and rhythm issues.
Books by David Motto:
THE TEN MINUTE
FOR ELECTRIC BASS
COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET