The Importance of the Metronome for the Bassist
The use of a metronome can transform your bass playing. Here’s how!
Let’s face it - the bass is one of the most important parts of any track, with the sometimes overlooked instrument playing a key role in not only keeping the tempo, but also providing a rhythmic variation to the steady beat of the drums, whilst also adding depth and ground to a track.
In Red Hot Chilli Peppers, bassist Flea is the most iconic member of the band, with many of their tracks centered around showcasing the funk rock slap style he uses. This can be seen most notably in “Can’t Stop'', where in many points throughout the track, the rest of the band drop out to allow Flea to carry the melody. When this happens, it is essential for the bass to be in time, which can be achieved through the use of a metronome for bass guitar.
What Is a Metronome?
A Metronome is a device used to measure time intervals through an audible click on each beat and can really help a bassist to identify any timing errors they may be inadvertently making, as well as play each rhythm more accurately and precisely.
When it comes to live recording music in the studio, the metronome is essential for the bass guitar, as usually the drums and bass are the first instruments recorded to act as a guide for guitars and vocals.
Despite the fact that it may seem easy to just play in time with the click of a metronome, even the most prolific bassists have been known to struggle keeping up with the clicks, or have altogether drifted far from the original tempo, creating further problems for their band.
Why Should I Use a Metronome?
If you want to be a competent bassist, who can be relied on to keep the rhythm and tempo for each song with the drums, it is important to incorporate metronome pacing into your regular practise from early on, with those using one having the advantage over those who didn’t rhythmically and dynamically.
Even if you are an experienced musician or live performer, it is worthwhile to train with a metronome, as it will allow your band to be synchronized with any playback or video mapped projections that you may be performing with, and overall make the experience better for your audience.
How to Use the Metronome?
Now you know the benefits of using one, it’s time to learn how to use the Metronome, which is fairly simple. The timing of a metronome can be adjusted from 40 to 208 BPM (Beats per minute) with whichever number you set being the amount of clicks you will hear in a minute.
To begin, set the metronome to a slower pace, like 60BPM and begin to play a simple bass line on one string, paying attention to your timing so that each note lands on the beat. Once you are confident at 60BPM, you can then begin to speed up gradually until you reach the desired tempo. It may take some time before you are able to play fluidly, with many metronome beginners either rushing or missing the beats. The key to this exercise is practise, patience and perseverance and once you have this mastered, you can move on to apply your newfound skill to your favourite tracks.
Where Can I Get a Metronome?
Getting your hands on a metronome is easy nowadays, with many music stores selling both traditional acoustic metronomes, and digital metronomes, which need to be plugged into a power outlet to function. By far the easiest way of accessing a metronome is via the Moises app, which can be downloaded on the App Store or Google Play.
In the app, after you upload the song you want to play, the smart metronome is generated automatically, making practice much more efficient. With Moises, you can produce music like never before using one of the many built in music practise tools the app offers.
Hopefully, this blog has shown you the importance of using a metronome when learning the bass, as overall, it can really improve your playing, and transform an ameteur into a professional.
Do you use the metronome to practice music? Tell us about it in the comments!