HOW TO: play along to a slow ticking metronome without getting lost

Trouble with 'empty space'? Try doubling the speed…

Every month, Guitar Techniques attempts to answer guitarists' playing posers and technical teasers with expert and practical advice. Here's one about playing to a slow ticking metronome…

The question:

Dear GT,

I have trouble playing along to metronome times when they are slow – anything around 40 to 60 beats per minute and I find myself getting hopelessly lost. Is this a common trait or have I got a lot further to go than I think?

Mason

The answer:

Believe it or not, the answer to this is really quite simple, Mason. All you have to do is double the metronome speed so that instead of having the metronome click on the main beat in the bar, you have it on the off beat as well (see example below).

Metronome

It's exactly the same, but psychologically you haven't got that vast amount of 'empty space' to get lost in. Eventually, as you become more experienced with slower meters, you'll be able to revert to 'one click per bar' again, but for now, this will keep you on track.

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