Using a Metronome

Wouldn’t it be nice to get twice the benefit of your practice session with just a little more effort? The cheapest way to get this added benefit is to incorporate a little gadget called a metronome into your practicing.


Keeping good time is essential to playing music

If you think about it there are really only two general elements required for playing music. First there is the harmony. That’s the scales and chords that make up the sound of the music you are playing. And then there is this thing called time. Developing good time means playing everything at more or less constant speed. It’s like a heartbeat, the thing that makes you move your feet and really feel the music. Most people have a sense of time built in, but keeping good time in musical situations is something that needs to be learned and made automatic.


What is the best metronome for you?

You may have seen the old fashioned metronome that looks like a tall pyramid with a little arm that moves back and forth, producing a click each time the arm sweeps across.

Today there are electronic metronomes and drum machines that come in all shapes and sizes. If you are starting to learn to play guitar a good choice is a small inexpensive metronome that you can buy at any music store. I have had the same metronome for about twenty years.


Using your metronome

Towards the end of this curriculum, you will be practicing chords and scales with your metronome. It just makes sense that you practice them in time. This way you will develop the technical ability for your fingers to remember the scale and chord shapes and at the same time learn to play them in time. It only takes a little extra effort to practice this way but pays huge dividends in your playing.

Another good way to use a metronome is as a tool to gauge you progress. By starting on a slow tempo and working your speed up, you can see how much progress you are making, set goals, achieve the goals and move onward! This is why I start you off at a lower speed, then work you up to a higher speed!



  • Always play slow and clean.

  • Keep track of you metronome speed settings and try to improve them.

  • Move your foot up and down with the down matching the click.


Always play everything in time!

Once you get used to playing in time and using a metronome you will be amazed at how much better whatever you play sounds. In a musical performance it easy to overlook a bad note or two… but being out of time or not being at the right place at the right time, will be noticed by everyone!