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PHOTO: Mike Duffy

How to Improve Your Timing with a Metronome

Stay right on time with this handy tool of any guitarist.

The one thing that distinguishes between good and excellent musicians is a sense of timing. A metronome keeps the time perfectly steady. It doesn't lie. If you take formal lessons, the metronome is one of the most common recommendations teachers give students. But it's also one of the most difficult things to do well.

Here are some tips for getting past the hurdle so your timing improves:

Hearing vs. Listening

Many players will hear the metronome and think that's the same as listening to the metronome. Listening requires effort on our part, while hearing happens without thought. Pay attention to what you hear and listen carefully.

How to Feel the Beat

Imagine someone tapping you on the shoulder each time you hear the metronome. This will help you feel connected to the time and to the click.

Become the Beat

Let’s reverse the process a bit by imagining you're the one creating the sound of the metronome making a down strum every time you hear the click. Imagine that your down strum is creating the click of the metronome. If it doesn’t feel real, adjust the motion so that the motion aligns with the sound.

Working with the above concepts while listening to a metronome will help you develop a good rhythmic concept and strong sense of time. Playing with a good sense of time is one way to make your playing sound professional.

To learn more about a metronome, watch this video from Fender Play. Not a member of Fender Play yet? Click here for a free trial.