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Using the metronome-Part 2 clicks/durations

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Sep 24, 2014 - 6:07:10 AM
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508 posts since 9/22/2012

Recently at a steam and gas show I was captivated by the rhythm of one of the big diesel generators that they run as a display.  It had one exhaust port open and it is a four cylinder so it had a great beat.

I recorded it and loop it as a metronome that doesn't sound clinical.

Not exactly a metronome but you might like this.  

Download the attachment and open in Audacity (or any software that loops).  You can adjust speed by using effects/change tempo in Audacity.  

You might have to adjust the cut by lengthening or shortening the dead space at the front of the clip.  

You will find that dead air disappears as you play but lets you know when the cut starts.

 

When you loop it it has a nice flow and you can lock onto it but it doesn't BEEP or CLICK.


Edited by - Ric in Richmond on 09/24/2014 06:08:53

Sep 30, 2014 - 10:21:28 PM

16 posts since 9/30/2014

So I have tried forever to play with a metronome and I just can't. I talked both with Peter wernick and Tony Trischka at different points about that. It just does not fit me at all and I cannot stand that f'ing click and I do not hear Scruggs, or anyone....playing to that. It seems to me their time changes....except maybe Alan Munde who ironically said in Masters of the 5 string he can't play to one either. What is wrong with learning time from putting on a record (yeah I do mean record) and playing to the band? It seems far more helpful to me. I try to play with a metronome cuz everyone says to and I feel like a machine. I play with people and sometimes its just God aweful. But when we all hit it....when we all feel the same "time" (not some machine time) all of a sudden it doesn't feel like I am playing the banjo....it feels like the banjo is playing me. I don't know....but I can't play to a metronome for the life of me and I am afraid if I do figure it out I will lose me.

Oct 7, 2014 - 4:27:41 PM
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13420 posts since 3/6/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Jim LeSuer

So I have tried forever to play with a metronome and I just can't. I talked both with Peter wernick and Tony Trischka at different points about that. It just does not fit me at all and I cannot stand that f'ing click and I do not hear Scruggs, or anyone....playing to that. It seems to me their time changes....except maybe Alan Munde who ironically said in Masters of the 5 string he can't play to one either. What is wrong with learning time from putting on a record (yeah I do mean record) and playing to the band? It seems far more helpful to me. I try to play with a metronome cuz everyone says to and I feel like a machine. I play with people and sometimes its just God aweful. But when we all hit it....when we all feel the same "time" (not some machine time) all of a sudden it doesn't feel like I am playing the banjo....it feels like the banjo is playing me. I don't know....but I can't play to a metronome for the life of me and I am afraid if I do figure it out I will lose me.


Errm, this thread isnt about telling anyone to or not to play to a metronome...it is about using the metronome to help you understand note durations against a beat and theres no better tool for this task.

Try reading the very first post and you'll see this. If you dont like a metronome dont use one, period..simple as that.  for those who do, and get value from it, your comments don't have any merit. This thread is NOT about arguing metronome use or not. wink

Oct 7, 2014 - 9:27:57 PM

16 posts since 9/30/2014

I read all these posts. I am not picking a fight and I am sure you are a much better player than I will be especially since I really don't get your first post. I do know I asked Peter wernick one time if that was a quarter note he was talking about and he basically responded...who gives a f***...this is music played by ear not classical music and the feel it is what counts. something like that....close anyways. And I liked his response. I read your posts and I couldn't do that. I play by a feel for the time....I could give a f*** what the duration of the note is....as in knowing anyways....I feel the dynamics and sometimes sustain it and sometimes....cut it short....and I change it all the time depending on the day, the moment, the people I am playing with....and whether I got laid and ate breakfast. I am not a great banjo player....but I play my way and listen to what is going on.....that is how I find out the duration of the note....

I know many use the metronome and I have one and I know they are highly recommended and I wasn't saying to anyone or challenging anyone as to the benefits of a metronome. I do suspect though that an awful lot of people spend a ton of time playing tab to a metronome rather than just jamming alot and playing. I also know Earl never played to a metronome and he had a huge sense of time and space in his music. Not challenging anyone or claiming that it's of no use. I just prefer my ears, my own sense of space, tone, dynamics and time and being bugged when it isn't falling into place.

And it is entirely possible I have no clue what you are talking about. In fact, that is probably it.

No offense meant, Jim

Oct 7, 2014 - 9:35:22 PM

16 posts since 9/30/2014

And I should say I belonged to Academy of Bluegrass for a while and there were folks who couldn't keep steady separation and space between their notes I heard and after a month or two on the metronome they sounded amazingly better. But it isn't the way I find separation, duration, and I never in my life will think in terms of "dotted quarter notes." I'll let someone else write down what I was doing....assuming anyone would ever want to.

Oct 8, 2014 - 7:05:21 AM
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13420 posts since 3/6/2006

I'm not sure why understanding the difference between a whole note and a quarter note will impair anyone's ability to play the banjo. It may...may mind you, just make you understand what you are doing and that is never a bad thing. It is also fuzzy to me why you need to drop the "F bomb" in this thread ( or anywhere else on these forums). You should really lighten up and get a grip.

Saying that someone can't use a metronome and still be able to play good Bluegrass banjo is like saying someone can't use a capo and still play good bluegrass. They are both tools and a tool is never at fault for someone not being able to play well...it is operator error.

One day you may understand what the thread is about, which is using the metronome to make you know just a little music theory, and apply it to what you are playing. It is ultimately your choice how to see it all; poopoo all over it or decide to value it. That's something no one can do but you. Hopefully you may see some value in it and decide to learn something. 

Edited by - Banjophobic on 10/08/2014 07:15:59

Oct 8, 2014 - 7:34 PM

1256 posts since 10/22/2003

John,

Thanks for the great post.  You answered my biggest question, which is what type of metronome you use.  I can't easily hear the electronic ones over the sound of the banjo and I've been thinking of investing in a wooden one, and now I feel ready to make the plunge.  Price is somewhat of an issue, and I'm wondering if there is a specific make/model that you recommend.  

Oct 8, 2014 - 9:27:07 PM
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5256 posts since 5/8/2014

quote:
Originally posted by DantheBanjoMan

John,

Thanks for the great post.  You answered my biggest question, which is what type of metronome you use.  I can't easily hear the electronic ones over the sound of the banjo and I've been thinking of investing in a wooden one, and now I feel ready to make the plunge.  Price is somewhat of an issue, and I'm wondering if there is a specific make/model that you recommend.  


I can't speak for John, but I'd suggest either a Wittner Taktell Super-Mini or a Wittner Taktell Piccolo.  My personal preference, over many, many years, has been for the Super-Mini (tiny, tidy, fits in most instrument case accessory compartments, and lasts forever--my oldest one I've had now for 34 years).

Edited by - Rawhide Creek on 10/08/2014 21:30:08

Jan 3, 2015 - 11:35:47 AM

71253 posts since 5/9/2007

I prefer a drum machine.

Jan 3, 2015 - 12:54:44 PM
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Players Union Member

Chris Meakin

Australia

2777 posts since 5/15/2011

After purchasing my very first musical instrument in 2011 I joined the work choir.

It has been immensely useful in learning to count and read note duration, and transfer that ability to playing along to a metronome (I use a free online drum machine).

For those having difficulty keeping good timing with their banjo playing, give it a try and join a church or work choir - they're mostly free or very cheap music lessons.
 

Jan 3, 2015 - 12:57:54 PM
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JoeDownes

Netherlands

3188 posts since 2/7/2008

I use this online metronome. I got speakers hooked up to the computer so that I can hear it over the banjo noise.


Metronome by BestMetronome.com

Jan 3, 2015 - 3:08:46 PM
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5256 posts since 5/8/2014

This is great metronome-based tool for learning to read and play rhythms:

https://sites.google.com/site/sightreadrhythm/home

It seems very much in the spirit of what John is teaching with this thread.

Regrettably, it is available only for iPhone and iPad.  

Edited by - Rawhide Creek on 01/03/2015 15:11:25

Aug 8, 2015 - 9:06:10 PM

Tom Hanway

Ireland

6442 posts since 8/31/2004

I must upgrade!

Aug 19, 2015 - 11:32 AM

1188 posts since 9/25/2003

quote:
Originally posted by Jim LeSuer
 

..... I also know Earl never played to a metronome and he had a huge sense of time and space in his music....


Are you entirely sure about that? I seem to remember a story in his book about when he was a kid he'd set the metronome going, then walk around the house (the outside) playing, and then come back to the metronome to check that he was still in time! Or maybe it was his brother playing rhythm guitar and he'd check back on that. But I'm pretty sure it was a metronome.....

Aug 19, 2015 - 11:54:45 AM

1188 posts since 9/25/2003

On the time keeping topic, I've taken to using TablEdit loops as a variation on the ordinary metronome. If you highlight a section in TablEdit, you can isolate and loop it. You can also loop it at whatever speed you like. So what I do is go the rhythm guitar part (any of the Jack Baker tabs have very solid rhythm guitar parts), isolate a two or four bar section, set it to the speed I want, and play my rolls or whatever over that. It makes the whole exercise a bit more musical.

And if you loop chord changes, you can practice yours over those too. I've found it fun to play with varying the note that you're hitting on the one and three beats. So if the guitar is playing say, G and B (1+3 of the chord), you play around hitting the D (the 5) or the 6 or even the b7...and you get a bit of different tonality. But at the same time you're still working on your timing and tone.

Anyway, just an idea for anyone who's interested.

Dec 23, 2015 - 10:04:30 AM

21 posts since 8/8/2005

Dec 23, 2015 - 10:12:29 AM

21 posts since 8/8/2005

At what speed should I change from 2 notes per beat to 4 notes per beat. It seems to be to fast anything over about 120 using two notes.

Dec 30, 2015 - 7:18:18 AM

molllydooka

Australia

43 posts since 1/5/2015

Hello
If at the very least, using the metronome daily has benefitted my rolls.I incorporate the 12 bar blues in G.I find this a good practice drill, as this also helps with my left hand synchronization.(play right handed).
I'll be definitely trying other keys, and practising different chords.
Also varying the speeds on the metronome has been very helpful.
I'll be honest sometimes I lose count and my timing is out, usally 120 bpm and above.
I purchased a Nikko metronome and didn't use it for 2 months...I dreaded using it, but now it comes out daily.
Terrific post John and thanks for your knowledge and generosity.

Happy pickin to ya.
Feb 25, 2016 - 10:46:23 AM
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401 posts since 10/19/2007

I'm late to the discussion here, but for me playing with a metronome or drum machine is checking in with Timing Central. It's handy, like reading Strunk and White to learn more about the rules of good writing. It allows me to check what I am doing against a set of tangible things. It doesn't mean all I would do is read the rules - I would also, presumably, write. A metronome is similar - it allows me to check my timing against something that doesn't move at all. Now, here's the thing. Some are saying knowledge doesn't matter, that it's feel that matters. Well, both matter.

Music is a language. A child doesn't start learning to speak a language by learning A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and being taught to put letters together to make words. She just imitates the sounds she hears. Ma-ma. Mama. Mom. Da-da. Dada. Daddy. Dad. Tose. Toas. Toast. As the baby turns into toddler, words get clearer. Speech gets stronger. Words get put into phrases. Phrases begin to speak paragraphs (and sometimes a novel, with some kids). When the kid gets older, he starts school. That is, he starts learning, not just by feel, but also with his intellect.

I think learning the banjo is similar. It takes a lot of listening and learning and paying attention. We we can use helps and tabs and the metronome, yes. But don't substitute those things for really listening and learning, or for immersion into what good banjo playing sounds like. In the early couple years of learning banjo, I would suggest making sure you have fun, more than anything else. I've quoted this statement by Robert Capon a lot: "Interest in results never conquers boredom with process." In other words, make sure you're enjoying the journey of learning.

That said, this is a good thread on using metronomes and such. I already downloaded the app Russ Martin suggested. Thanks to John for starting this thread. I consider timing to be one of the most important factors in bluegrass banjo - especially if one plays with other people.

Edited by - RonBlock on 02/25/2016 10:56:01

Apr 12, 2016 - 7:00:13 PM

Tom Hanway

Ireland

6442 posts since 8/31/2004

quote:
Originally posted by RonBlock
 

I'm late to the discussion here, but for me playing with a metronome or drum machine is checking in with Timing Central. It's handy, like reading Strunk and White to learn more about the rules of good writing. It allows me to check what I am doing against a set of tangible things. It doesn't mean all I would do is read the rules - I would also, presumably, write. A metronome is similar - it allows me to check my timing against something that doesn't move at all. Now, here's the thing. Some are saying knowledge doesn't matter, that it's feel that matters. Well, both matter.

Music is a language. A child doesn't start learning to speak a language by learning A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and being taught to put letters together to make words. She just imitates the sounds she hears. Ma-ma. Mama. Mom. Da-da. Dada. Daddy. Dad. Tose. Toas. Toast. As the baby turns into toddler, words get clearer. Speech gets stronger. Words get put into phrases. Phrases begin to speak paragraphs (and sometimes a novel, with some kids). When the kid gets older, he starts school. That is, he starts learning, not just by feel, but also with his intellect.

I think learning the banjo is similar. It takes a lot of listening and learning and paying attention. We we can use helps and tabs and the metronome, yes. But don't substitute those things for really listening and learning, or for immersion into what good banjo playing sounds like. In the early couple years of learning banjo, I would suggest making sure you have fun, more than anything else. I've quoted this statement by Robert Capon a lot: "Interest in results never conquers boredom with process." In other words, make sure you're enjoying the journey of learning.

That said, this is a good thread on using metronomes and such. I already downloaded the app Russ Martin suggested. Thanks to John for starting this thread. I consider timing to be one of the most important factors in bluegrass banjo - especially if one plays with other people.

 


Ron Block, casual brilliance you are ... and you couldn't be too late.  

I love this .. "like reading" Strunk &White. And the whole sentiment makes sense.

big

Aug 17, 2016 - 2:10:36 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

12355 posts since 8/30/2006

I'm not sure why understanding the difference between a whole note and a quarter note will impair anyone's ability to play the banjo. It may...may mind you, just make you understand what you are doing and that is never a bad thing. It is also fuzzy to me why you need to drop the "F bomb" in this thread ( or anywhere else on these forums). You should really lighten up and get a grip.

Saying that someone can't use a metronome and still be able to play good Bluegrass banjo is like saying someone can't use a capo and still play good bluegrass. They are both tools and a tool is never at fault for someone not being able to play well...it is operator error.

One day you may understand what the thread is about, which is using the metronome to make you know just a little music theory, and apply it to what you are playing. It is ultimately your choice how to see it all; poopoo all over it or decide to value it. That's something no one can do but you. Hopefully you may see some value in
it and decide to learn something.



Well,I guess you told him, I want you to work on your customer service skills because when you talk like that, your canoe leaks. It's hard to bail and paddle at the same time.
I know what I'm talking about.
I worked with disabled and challenged people in my personal career, and everyone learns different ways.

I have a great metronome.

I learned "Cole Younger" from Peter McLaughlin's CD Cliffs of Vermillion, he's a noted double flat picking champion, so much easier to stay with those guys, I sped it up, raises the vibration.

You have such great credentials, you play so well, when are you going to form your own band? And personally, if I had the legacy and background of roots like you do, there would be Craig Evans down there shooting a documentary about starting at your family's store with a small fiddle shop right there.

You are a journeyman, you don't have to apologize about anything.

My metronome has a useful downbeat feature.

Timing is not for every soul, no one has the right to try to regiment a herd of cats, much less a bunch o banjo players.

I need you to work harder.

Click 2,3,4    Hup, 2,3,4
 

Edited by - Helix on 08/17/2016 02:12:38

Aug 17, 2016 - 2:29:02 AM
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PaulRF

Australia

3075 posts since 2/1/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Rawhide Creek
 
quote:
Originally posted by DantheBanjoMan

John,

Thanks for the great post.  You answered my biggest question, which is what type of metronome you use.  I can't easily hear the electronic ones over the sound of the banjo and I've been thinking of investing in a wooden one, and now I feel ready to make the plunge.  Price is somewhat of an issue, and I'm wondering if there is a specific make/model that you recommend.  


I can't speak for John, but I'd suggest either a Wittner Taktell Super-Mini or a Wittner Taktell Piccolo.  My personal preference, over many, many years, has been for the Super-Mini (tiny, tidy, fits in most instrument case accessory compartments, and lasts forever--my oldest one I've had now for 34 years).


I will add another to your list if you don't mind Russ.  A matrix MR-800.  Nice, loud and easy to use.   http://www.metronomes.net/Matrix800.htm

Mind you, I just added Joe's online metronome to my favorites page. smiley

Edited by - PaulRF on 08/17/2016 02:36:04

Aug 17, 2016 - 4:40:01 AM

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

23948 posts since 8/3/2003
Online Now

I have hidden a post that had language that is against the rules for the Hangout.   Jim, we do not use that kind of language on here.  

Aug 17, 2016 - 9:36:01 AM

Waldguy

Canada

294 posts since 4/27/2013

So, after posting a video in which John revealed to me that my timing was highly irregular, I've been working mainly at getting the rock solid timing that makes the banjo shine.

One can play along with a backing track, and still have only a level of discipline to the playing which brings you back to the right timing at the beginning of each bar or phrase.

I had a terrible tendency to play a shorter interval between my thumb and index finger on a roll.  It's shaping up now after hours of slow playing and listening and recording.  My old standard metronome is now not quite as daunting and much easier to play along with.  It's a great help -- even going back to one click per one or two string picks.

I also came across this http://bestdrumtrainer.com/tt/-- referred to in the archives.   http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/255197.

It allows you to hear the beat for a few bars, then cut out, then resume.  If you go, say four bars on, four bars off, you get a decent, idea whether you're rock solid.   Yes, a little like the story of Earl and Horace Scruggs walking around the house, keeping the timing constant.  http://www.flatt-and-scruggs.com/earlbio.html

Thanks again John for your contributions to the forum.

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