The Metronome

A metronome is a regular ticking sound that we can set to a certain bpm (beats per minute) which is how we measure the tempo or speed of a song. At 60 bpm, you’ll hear a click every second.

Knowledge of how to use a metronome is essential in developing your internal timing (so you play in time automatically without thinking). You can buy them, but I recommend using the free one at metronomeonline.com. This one even has a built in ‘accent’ (a louder beep once every 4 beeps) to indicate a bar. Remember;

Beat- what you tap your foot to

Bar- 4 beats, to a count of 1 ,2, 3, 4

Tempo (aka bpm)- the speed of this count

metronome

Use this at metronomeonline.com

In this lesson, we’ll be looking at using this from a rhythm guitar point of view. We’ll come back later to get your speed up with single note playing. Even so, a metronome should only ever beep on the beat, not on every strum. Sometime there can be a lot of fast rhythms in a song, but the actual beat is quite slow, which can confuse.

Paying attention to the Latin names here really helps, especially when knowing which strumming pattern to use in line with this beginners guitar course.

  • The Andante range of bpm (76 to 104) is slow tempos. As we looked at in strumming lesson 2, 8ths all down strumming works best for these tempos. Songs are very rarely slower than 76bpm, but it does happen.
  • The Moderato range (104 to 120) is medium tempo. This is the crossover where 8ths all downs or 8ths down and ups can work
  • The Allegro range (120 to 160+) is fast tempo. Sometime there can be a lot of fast rhythms in a song, but the actual beat is quite slow.

The following exercises are the same as in the previous strumming lesson. However, I’d like you to now do them along to the metronome (rather than the drums) and change the tempos within the specified range.

Exercise 1; Play 1 bar on the beat then 1 bar of 8th All Down Strumming (74 to 104 bpm)

Play any chord using the 2 bar strumming pattern above, then change chord to any other you know. If you can alternate between 2 or more chords, even better! The goal is to strum without any pauses and with the correct count. It’s essential to keep the count consistent and not your count or strumming.

Exercise 2; Play 1 bar on the beat then 1 bar of 8th Down and Up strumming (104 to 160bpm +)

Andy, play any chord using the 2 bar strumming pattern above, then change chord to any other you know. If you can alternate between 2 or more chords, even better!

Notice- if you do this correctly your arm is always moving in the same way, this is crucial!

Trying to guess the bpm of songs you hear or know is a great little exercise you can do without even needing your guitar!