Published on : 18 June 20204 min reading time

The metronome is an instrument that most guitarists don’t know much about. However, the role of a metronome is to guide the tempo while the guitarist plays with his instrument. Among other things, it is used to follow the rhythm and also to avoid getting lost with the strings. This tool emits a sound at intervals to help follow the tempo. This interval is counted in beats per minute or BPM. For example, if you set the tempo to 60 BPM, it will produce a sound of 60 clicks for one minute, or one click every second.

The different metronome models

There are currently three types of metronomes. The first to be invented is the mechanical metronome. This tool is equipped with a winder using the same principles of the old crank clocks. To use it, simply turn the winder to the desired number of beats. The advantage of the mechanical metronome is that it works mechanically with its crank. The only disadvantage is the tempo adjustment (it cannot perform intermediate tempos). Then comes the electronic metronome. The principle remains the same, but it can be adjusted (volume, making rhythmic divisions, etc.). With the advance of technology, developers have been able to create metronome software using the same functions as those made electronically, but on a computer or via a mobile application.

The role of a metronome for a guitarist

A beginner guitarist has the disadvantage of concentrating too much on the notes and strings of the guitar. He sometimes forgets to follow the tempo. This is when the role of a metronome comes into play. This tool will send a beep to guide the guitarist to change time in a time interval. Among other things, it allows you to get used to following the tempo little by little. Apart from that, during a passage on a rather difficult song, the guitarist has the habit of channelling himself on his fingers on the string. He then forgets to follow the rhythm of the music. Thanks to the metronome, the musician then stops concentrating on the guitar strings and follows the rhythm little by little. Once he gets used to listening to what is going on around him and following the rhythm, the musician can then play the exact notes without using the metronome.

How to use the metronome

The basic role of a metronome is therefore to force the musician to follow the rhythm of the music correctly. At the beginning, this can be quite difficult, but with perseverance, a beginner guitarist will succeed in specifying the rhythm of his notes. The perception of rhythm has nothing to do with the instrument to be played. The first thing to do with the metronome is then to follow the clicks given by the tool. It is possible to do this by clapping your hands for each click given. Of course, in the beginning, the strokes can sometimes be ahead or behind the sound given by the tool, but this will improve later. Once this has been mastered, it will then be necessary to master time divisions (an electronic metronome or software is ideal for this exercise, as it will send a sound every half or quarter beat). Once these exercises have been acquired, it is now time to play with pieces while following the tempo of the metronome. After getting used to following the rhythm of the tool while playing notes, the guitarist will easily be able to play difficult notes while following the tempo, even without using a metronome. He will then have the sensation of hearing in his head the clicks by habit and specify the rhythm of the music.