How to Change the Way You Practice with a Metronome!
Hi everyone! To my students who have the day off from school, I hope you are enjoying your day off in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday. I wanted to give everyone a little bit of a cool tip about working up the music you're working on to a metronome. Learning to play to a consistent beat or time is a crucial skill for any musician. It helps you learn how to play music with other musicians together in sync, and time changes together. It also will help your playing, not feel as though it has a start and stop, stick-shift like quality throughout a song.
But even for experienced players, playing accurately to a click track/metronome synced to a particular tempo can have a bit of a learning curve. For one, metronomes have a droning tone or knocking click sound that can be annoying and make it difficult for you to focus on what you're playing. There have even been instances where I have messed up tracking during recording a song because the sound of a click track irritated me to the point where I couldn't finish what I was playing. What I do in these situations is usually ask the recording engineer to change the metronome to sound more like a drumbeat. I find this helps me feel like I'm less annoyed with playing to a beat, and most importantly, I feel like what I'm playing is more musical overall!
I have found a fantastic downloadable app that will allow my students to get a similar experience by changing the metronome click to a drumbeat at home. It is an app available for Apple products or Android OS called Drum Beats+. Drum Beats+ is a basic drum machine app that allows the player to pick what drum groove works best for the style they are playing. All of the drum beats can be manipulated by tempo to allow you to work up new songs in time to help develop faster speed, skill, and accuracy. It will also give you a sense that you are playing with a drummer in your home whenever you want to practice! It costs $5.00 off the app store, and it's so far the best musical app I've purchased in a year!
If you're looking for something a little more upscale, check out Roger Linn's multi-effect processor, the Adrennalinn III pedal. The Adrennalinn III is an updated version of Roger Linn's original Linn drum machine from the 1980s that powered hit after hit of Prince, Don Henley, and Madonna. The Adrennalinn III not only features the iconic drum samples and drum grooves from the original Linn 9000 drum machine, but it also features effects and amp modeling that synch to the tempo you set inside the drum machine. The guitar effects inside the Linn III are in the hundreds. It's quite easy to get lost for a week navigating the multitude of effects under the Adrennalinn's hood.
Adrennalinn III has become one of my favorite ways to quickly chase down my inspiration and rapidly turn any idea into an easily recordable demo in minutes. If I already have a chord sequence or melodic idea, I sail through amp modeling presets until I find the right tone that matches my song's mood, then play along to a few different drumbeats presets until the idea starts to flow- and presto! You have a song! There's even a dedicated headphone jack to jam around on your favorite headphones, so you don't have to wake up anyone late at night! The Adrennalinn III is undoubtedly the more expensive option of the two programs, coming in at a whopping $400.00. However, if you want to do it all out of one effect pedal, I haven't found anything better sounding that comes straight out of the box.
Check it out! I think it can revolutionize your guitar playing, and help you become a better musician overall!