For Fans of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine
I really need to work on my right hand technique and timing. I've tried to use a metronome but I find that it is not working out all that well for me. I've heard some pretty good players say that a drum machine is better to use to build timing. Does anyone have any thoughts on drum machines vs. metronomes?
I'm a lefty playing right-handed and often feel I have problems with weak rhythm, timing and speed. I found that drum machines or similar help greatly for 'remedial' training. A metronome seemed to fail me at the times I needed it most, i.e., when things got hard or too fast, I'd just start ignoring it. Drum machine can be turned up so loud that you can't ignore (also you can program in measure, phrase and section endings, if the intent is keeping in sync in the bigger picture). That said, as soon as you get comfortable with playing it 'right' with a drum machine, you might want to do the same piece with a metronome to better develop your own sense of timing with only a 'guide', and when that is 'right', do it with only what is in your head, or with foot stomping and/or being very conscious of metronome-like action in the right hand.
Hi Jim. I use a metronome, a drum machine, Band In The Box and The Bluegrass Band as well as Steve Kaufman's rehearsal CD's. The metronome advantage is that it is simple and you can log your progress i.e. 85 BPM in week one to 90 BPM in week 3. It is useful to push yourself to concert tempos. You would never hit those tempo by yourself.
One tip to improve rhythm playing is to record a guitar rhythm track by playing and recording a good drum machine on a separate track. A good drum machine will have been programmed by drummers and have a groove or feel that will lift your rhythm playing. Then, take out the recorded drums. Your rhythm will have good time and hopefully you will have absorbed the groove of the machine. I prefer this method to using a click track for my own recordings. I have included an example - the guitar rhythm track was played to a drum machine, which was then deleted from the mix.
At the suggestion of Tim Stafford at a workshop in Granville, Ohio (Denison University), I got an old fashioned windup mechanical metronome with the weight that swings back and forth on the arm. I actually like it better than my electronic metronome. You can see the arm swing back and forth and it gives a visual indication of the rhythm. It also sounds better than the click of my electronic metronome.
I have been thinking of doing the same thing. The lack of visual cue makes electronic metronomes difficult for me to use.