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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Here I am with yet another facile set of questions that are probably all too obvious to everyone except those in a persistent vegetative state. So here goes... please feel free to tell me to piss off and use Google at any stage, but Google doesn't seem to answer my specific question at the moment. I noticed recently my timing was as messy as fat porn and decided to attempt to fix it.

First of all, I am a metronome virgin, I honestly thought it was something only used by classical musicians for practice and devout catholics as a form of contraception. Then I discovered HumanFusBen's lessons on sweep picking and thought what a great little tool (not you Ben, the metronome). I visited many lessons on youtube on sweeping and came away with a variable speed piss poor technique that would get me shot if I attempted it public.

Then I discovered Ben's lessons and advice (Guys, he's the only one that has a handle on how to correctly teach this, so watch/like/worship his youtube channel and otherwise support his excellent contributions). I digress, Ben stressed the importance of the metronome with the prophetic "practicing without one is like driving a car without a speedometer, you've no idea how fast you're going!". So with that advice ringing in my ears I started using that previously annoying clicking thing on Guitar Rig. My questions are as follows:

1: I'm comfortable with 4/4 and the concept of increasing the bpm in small increments so the brain stays in its comfort zone. At the moment I am playing on the beat and practicing triplets, quadruplets etc., off the beat at slower speeds. Is this the correct way to use it?

2: If I am practicing at faster speeds on the beat, say runs containing distinct groups of 9 notes, am I correct setting the sig. to 9/4 or am I making a total arse of thing?

3: Almost like 2. If I am practicing sweeps that contain 11 notes and playing on the ping, should I be using 11/4?


Thank you all in advance for any light you can throw on this one.


Cheers
 

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I dont know how I'd do it for practicing sweeps, but for me, someone who has like 0 sense of rhythm, I NEED a metronome for even simple things. If you see my videos of goofing around with backing tracks, you'll see how piss poor my rhythm is :?
 

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Honestly- you don't need a metronome to practice simple sweeps. The best way to learn is to figure out the feel of them, only after you understand how they work will you be able to practice it slower.

This is where most of you probably disagree with me lol. Playing it fast, and then making it sound clear and good, will teach you better than doing it slow at first. Practice them fast, make THAT clean and work in that, then go back to it slow.

That might seem backwards but it's the best way to do it IMO.

That might just be my way if learning, you can't really learn a song that way. I find it only works with sweep picking
 

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It SOUNDS like you're doing it right starting slowly, gradually building speed, focusing on cleanliness and accuracy. Really, as long as you're playing in the pocket, there's no wrong way to use a metronome - if you're playing 9-note phrases in 4/4, then you're going to have a bit of rhythmic displacement stuff going on and it'll actually be a little more challenging (as your phrase will repeat on something other than the downbeat), but that can be a very musically interesting thing.

I actually tend to play to a drum track more than a metronome, myself - I'll usually load up Superior 2.0 in the Toontrack Solo player, and then find a beat that whatever I'm practicing fits in well well, then just play over that. In fact, even when I'm just screwing around and kind of jamming out rather than playing some structured exercise, I'll often have a drum track going in the background and improvise against that (sometimes I'll play over a full backing, but drums alone give you a lot more room to move around harmonically), as really these days it's so easy to find some way to play against a rthythmic groove there's almost no sense in NOT practicing without something keeping you to the beat.

Though, one question:

3: Almost like 2. If I am practicing sweeps that contain 11 notes and playing on the ping, should I be using 11/4?
Let me ask you sort of a perverse question - why are you practicing a sweep that contains 11 notes? To play that in tempo, you'll either 1.) need to play in an odd time signature, like 11/4, which if this is what you want to do, then right on, or 2.) kind of "squeeze" the notes in in sort of an odd grouping, like playing it with an 11-against-8 feel, which is both kind of tough to do especially if you're then going to break into a straight 16th note run or something after the arpeggio, and might not sound all that great.

I'd argue it makes a lot more sense to find arpeggios you can play in note groupings that just work, musically. An arpeggio with seven notes, for example, can be "looped" pretty naturally in 6/8 time - ascend six notes from the root with your upstroke, and then desend from the seventh note down to one above the root, like this:

Code:
|--------------11-|-14-11-------------|
|-----------12----|-------12----------|
|--------11-------|----------11-------|
|-----13----------|-------------13----|
|-9-14------------|----------------14-|
|-----------------|-------------------|
Off memory, but as long as I didn't mess it up that's a B major, from 5th to 5th. You can repeat that as a loop over and over again and that 9th fret F# and 14th fret F# will always be on the downbeat of the one in 6/8 time, which means it's something that's immediately very easy to play in a musical context over a peice of music in 6/8 (or 3/4, or any other related subdivision).

Finding ways to play this stuff in musically sensible contexts is way more important than focusing on the technique in isolation, IMO. Just because you CAN play an 11-note arpeggio, doesn't mean it makes sense to do so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you very much guys, as always Jemsite is a mine of information.

Matias, I know exactly how you feel, my sense of rythm is totally undeveloped.

Kyle, that's really interesting, when I started trying to learn sweeps I played them as fast as I could, but they were messy and the notes were indistinct. I didn't want to go down the route of stacking my wife's hairbands on the neck, I want clean technique. Your way is sort of like reverse engineering, when I started playing that's how I taught myself fast chord changes, but it's not working for my sweeps.

Drew, thank you very much for your thoughtful reply. I also play a little with drum tracks, but when it comes to learning control in a technique I find the annoying sound of a metronome is actually helping me.

Regarding your question, I have just realised the answer to your question is simply: because I'm a tool and didn't grasp one important thing. I'm playing what should be a 10 note arpeggio with 11 notes by hitting the root twice in each cycle!!!

ie. A minor (A, C, E, A, C, E, C, A, E, C, A, begin again with A playing it both in the upward and downward sweep) instead of A, C, E, A, C, E, C, A, E, C begin the cycle again with the downward sweet catching A. I've been doing the same with C major, D Major and every other damn arpeggio that stays within 4 frets.

Am I correct in the above diagnosis? If I am would playing at 5/4 or 10/4 and slowly incrementing the bpm be helpful to my speed and technique?
 

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Well, yeah, you could... Or you could also re-arrange the arpeggio by dropping one of those notes so you could play it in 4/4, which will probably ultimately be a lot more useful to you.
 

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I actually tend to play to a drum track more than a metronome, myself - I'll usually load up Superior 2.0 in the Toontrack Solo player, and then find a beat that whatever I'm practicing fits in well well, then just play over that.
Completely agree with this. I like working over a drum track way more than something like a click track or a metronome. It's more like real music.

Here is a great free tool for different drum tracks at different speeds and with different beat subdivisions.

http://www.shredmentor.com/pickingwarmupaccess

This guy is my guitar teacher and he codes up the site himself, so don't be turned off by the fact that it isn't the most polished and pro website out there LOL. And don't worry about entering your name and email. He's not going to mercilessly spam you. If he follows up with you you can say that Jesse pointed you to the site.

He's just trying to advertise himself outside of a local audience, which is why he gives free access to some of the content of his site.
 

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I've used a metronome from day one. Mom is a pianist (no wise cracks about male parts, thank you) and I always thought 'that's just what you do'.
Without it I find I speed up during a song. Not so much 'sloppy' rhythm, but if I start at 80bpm by the time the song is over I'm closer to 90. Not a lot, but something I have to work on and only a mechanical timekeeper is going to make that better. :)
Strong advocate for metronome use here. :D
 

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I just recently downloaded a metronome program... has a visual thing too. Works great, but this is the first I've ever used one and I find it very annoying. I'll check the website listed above, but I've been looking for a keyboard with drum tracks to use. (plus my daughter want to learn to play some songs on it too, so it will have many uses)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Italian, you're so lucky, getting used to it when you've been strangling the guitar for years is a pain. At least your Mom can play 11 notes in succession without having to move her hand, sorry couldn't resist.

Fire, they're as annoying as hell, it's that really annoying pip at the beginning of a group that tells me if I'm in or out. I also use drum tracks I drift and before long my timing is shot to hell. I want to become a lot more precise and improve my picking control. Maybe it's something about going back to something you love after a long time, I feel I want to get the best out of myself and am constantly trying to up my progress.
 

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I would just take any shape and play it slowly and gradually build up speed.
Play nothing but sweep patterns for an hour straight everyday and within a week even days your technique will get better and cleaner for sure.

I have never used a metronome and was only aware of them after I had been playing for 4yrs, I have always relied on feel and the way the riff or lick or solo sounds and is played and it's worked for me. I wouldn't mind getting one maybe just to have a go at it etc though.
 

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To put it shortly - like some have suggested, perhaps get things down in muscle memory prior to bringing a metronome into the equation. Only once the mechanical side of things has settled is it time to bring timing into the equation - just ensure you do it at an early stage. The reason being the following:

I see the metronome as a type of musical/performance insurance - there are a number of variables to account for when playing music - timing and pitch, tone and timbre being chief among these. If you have the timing down to a T, you'll find you're going to be a lot more solid as a live player as the movements have always been linked to something rigid (time) - therefore when nervousness enters the picture your movements will by default be a lot more disciplined than those of someone who hasn't been practicing using a metronome.

Just my two cents....
 
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