Using a Metronome – resolving timing issues?

Hello fellow banjo players.  Today I want to discuss the use of the metronome.  Over the years, I have found that many banjo students struggle with using the metronome.  We have to remember that the metronome is our friend and is a VERY IMPORTANT TOOL TO HELP SOLVE TIMING ISSUES.  This is especially important for beginner banjo students.

There are many styles of metronome available today.  I use a free one that is available on-line.  Whatever version you decide to use, you need to consider two key functions.  First is the volume.  Most banjos are loud and can easily drown out the metronome.  So I would get the loudest one you can afford.  Second is speed.  Make sure it has an easy way of adjusting the “beats per minute” or bpm.  Most bluegrass music is played at 120 bpm.   A third factor is to make sure your metronome has a plugin stereo headset feature. This enables you    to mute the “tick tock” for everyone else and gives you some clear sound in both ears which is good for concentration.  Here is a link for a free on-line metronome:  You have to click the windup handle to get it started.

Lastly I want to mention just a quick note about speed.  When learning new rolls, set you metronome at about 50 bpm and strike the string each time the metronome clicks.  This ensures you are building timing in from the very beginning.  Then you can gradually increase your speed up to 120 bpm.

Hope this is helpful.


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