The Best Metronome
At first, I didn’t understand why I needed the best metronome. I like to record music by myself. I enjoy playing all of the instruments to cover songs or write originals as a way to explore and improve my musical technique. I understood from the beginning that it would be hard to pull off, but I didn’t initially get why it was going to be so much harder without the help of the best metronome.
I would say that I don’t struggle too much with rhythm, but having the best metronome definitely helps with my consistency and timing when I’m writing or pacing music. I like being able to use the best metronome to paint a broader picture that improves the overall quality of the music I make, particularly when I’m trying to be the jack of all trades and hit every instrument in my arsenal.
These are the metronomes that I trust the most, and I feel like they’d all be just as good for beginners who are just learning to keep rhythm, as well as experts who want to refine or learn new technical practices in music theory.
BOSS – Best Electronic Metronome
It’s a multifunctional tool that I find myself reaching for time and time again.
It’s not just a functional tool – it’s a teaching tool.
It comes preloaded with some rhythm coaching exercises that I think beginners would find to be exceptional. Since you can actually learn from the metronome itself, you aren’t just trying to teach yourself and using the metronome as an aid.
You’re able to utilize actual beats as backing noise. It comes with some drum machine tracks, and it even allows you to create and program your own drum beat tracks to really personalize your experience.
The Boss DB-90 metronome can do a lot. It’s loud enough to hear, whether or not you’re using headphones.
It allows you to input whatever you want to input. You can use it with a microphone, a bass, a guitar, or a drum set.
On top of that, it even comes with a built-in tuner, so you only need one tool to travel with. This isn’t your everyday clicking machine.
It’s been redesigned to encompass the needs that any musician would have, and you don’t feel like you’re paying for something that’ not worth the money thanks to all of the additional features.
The reason why I’m so personally attached to this metronome is that I feel like it’s not as patronizing as a lot of other metronomes that assume only an amateur would want to use one. I can work with every instrument I own and keep my settings so I can stop working, eat lunch, and come back without having to do it all over again.
I feel like this metronome had to be designed by a real musician who understands the needs of other real musicians who want to have the best tools.
Peterson – Best Metronome for a Guitar
You clip it to your instrument, and it vibrates with the timing that you’ve programmed to the main unit.
You don’t need to be looking at the screen or listening to anything – the vibration is enough to help you keep proper timing without being distracted by the actual metronome unit.
The higher the BPM, the harder it is to feel the distinct vibrations. Since the metronome goes between 10 and 280 BPMs, I stick the audio or visual modes for anything remarkably fast.
The unit itself is simple to use. It kind of looks like and operates like an air conditioner thermostat or a home security alarm system.
It doesn’t take forever to figure out how to set it up the way you want it to. It boasts a lot of features, but it’s not overwhelming to figure out how to access them.
It even stores up to 99 presets, which is way more than the average person would need.
If you have or use MIDI tempo maps, you can load them and play them on the device. It’s USB compatible, and in fact, that’s how it recharges.
The wireless pulsing metronome is my favorite part of this set, and the only drawback is that people can hear it. If you want to record or play with it, the people listening will notice.
For practicing and mastering material, that feature is actually a lifesaver. I love how many features this has for a compact metronome, as well as the fact that the USB charger makes it very portable and easy to maintain.
No AC adapters and no disposable batteries!
WITTNER – Best Traditional Metronome
It has an antique look and a classic style, like old composers, used to use. It appears to be an antiquity, but it’s truly great.
It’s that tall pyramid shape, and it’s made of a gorgeous mahogany colored wood.
It looks just like the metronome my grandmother used when she would play the piano, and if you had musical grandparents, you’ve probably seen one of these around their house when you were growing up.
This is a mechanical pendulum metronome without a bell. You have to wind these up to get them to work, kind of like a grandfather clock, but on a smaller scale.
It fits right on top of the piano and ticks when I need it to. This is the perfect metronome for people whose hands are busy playing an instrument while their eyes are busy reading sheet music.
Another thing I really like about this metronome is that I don’t have to remember anything. There are markers for different kinds of classical times, like largo, adagio, and moderato right on the metronome.
I can look at the sheets and just adjust the metronome to do what I need it to do without having to think about it or look something up or guess. I only need to have my sheet music, set the metronome, and do what it says.
The case is real wood, too. It’s not like those plastic metronomes that you drop once and the whole case shatters. It’s sturdy and durable.
Since it’s not a quartz metronome, you just need to make sure you keep it on a level surface. I used my liquid level that I hang shelves with to make sure it was set in the right position, and everything works great.
This is a must have metronome for anyone who plays classical music. Advanced, high tech metronomes are great, but the bounty of features is lost on someone who can’t look away from the sheet music to watch and program the metronome.
I would have such a hard time mastering the time on classical music without this metronome. It’s given me the patience and the backup I need to become a better pianist, and because of that, it became a total game changer for me.
Soundbrenner – Best Metronome for Drums
This was a major innovation that brought wearable tech to the music industry.
This is a pulsing metronome that you can wear while you play.
You can put it on your arm or your leg to get timing cues in real time. It’s quiet, it isn’t disruptive, and it won’t interrupt most recordings.
You can’t hear the noise when you’re playing in front of an audience, even if you aren’t playing at an exceptionally loud volume.
The wheel is easy to spin, but it isn’t very loose. If you accidentally bump it against your instrument or your bandmate, it won’t mess up the timing.
What I love more than anything about this incredible piece of metronome technology is that the app allows you to create custom set lists. If you know you want to play eight songs in a specific order, you can create the set list in the app and it will wirelessly transmit through Bluetooth directly to the wearable metronome.
There are absolutely no disruptions.
Even people who ordinarily hate metronomes will be able to get used to this very fast. Some musicians find the clicks of other metronomes to be annoying, and the sound dissuades them for using one.
Since there are no noises at all, just a subtle vibration that’s reminiscent of tapping your feet to a beat when you’re trying to get a feel for a song, it almost feels like this metronome is uploading timing directly into your muscle memory. It becomes intuitive because it’s literally transmitted through a feeling.
Since it doesn’t need to go on your shirt or on your wrist, it’s not going to disrupt your motions while you’re in the zone.
This is one of the coolest gadgets I own, and it’s the only metronome I’ll use while performing. It’s increased my confidence by allowing me to play material that’s a little trickier to keep up with, and because the metronome is so discrete, nobody knows that I’m getting a little extra help.
I would recommend this metronome for drummers in particular because it’s an incredible solution to the problems that many drummers face when trying to find a metronome that will work well for them.
Matrix – Best Metronome for Piano
This is a quartz metronome, but it’s fancier than the average unit.
It’s also very affordable for what it is, which is exactly why I wanted to give it a shot.
I’ve owned a few quartz metronomes, and most of them, I could have done without. This is my absolute favorite of any quartz metronome I’ve ever tried.
The LED display looks like a pendulum, but it’s much better. There’s a simple volume control on the side that can take the volume from practically silent to substantially loud, and I’m easily able to adjust the metronome to exactly the level I need to be able to hear it over my instrument.
The lights at the top show you what’s going on with the beat, so you’ll know at a glance.
It’s very compact and easily portable. It fits right in the palm of my hand, and it uses a 9-volt battery.
Despite the fact that it isn’t rechargeable, I find that I get great battery life out of this metronome. I rarely have to replace the batteries.
It also has a chromatic pitch setting. When you use it on the 0 beat setting, the clicks are all identical.
It comes with a downbeat chime setting, and that setting does have a pitch. I’m fine without using the downbeat and chromatic pitch settings, but some musicians are looking specifically for those features in a metronome when they’re working on refining more complicated techniques.
It’s worth noting that you get them here.
Since this metronome has adjustable volume, light cues for the timing, and all of the classical timing you’d need right on the dial, it’s great for learners. The size and convenience make it perfect for traveling back and forth to music lessons.
It’s more than just a clicker – it comes equipped with a few extra features that beginners will appreciate. It’s affordably priced and high quality, making it a superior entry level portable metronome.
If you’re about to start learning an instrument from an experienced teacher, this is the exact metronome you want.
Best Metronome – Buyer’s Guide
On the surface, a metronome sounds like a very simple thing. It’s just a box that makes little clicks at certain times, right? The answer is no – metronomes are a lot more useful than that. Musicians of all kinds can benefit from a metronome, but in order to make the most of that metronome, the musician needs to understand exactly what they require that metronome to do. If you’re a first time buyer or you’re looking to find a metronome better than the one you already use, it’s time to do a little research.
Do I Really Need a Metronome?
Metronomes have been around for forever, and everyone from classical composers in decades past to modern day hard metal drummers use them to help keep time.
They’ve been an important tool in playing, learning, or refining musical technique since before your known ancestors existed – the first portable metronome was invented in 1816.
Alternatively, metronomes can be used to write music. When you’re starting a new piece and you’re not sure how it sounds best, using a metronome to help you demo it out in different timing can help you optimize the sound.
It can help you toy with the concepts of “this part should be faster” or “this part should be slower” when you’re piecing together a new vision.
Basically, you need a metronome when you’re learning or improving rhythm. That timing isn’t something that comes naturally to all musicians, and they might need a little help until their intuition kicks in.
It’s especially useful when you’re learning new techniques, or you’re moving from slower pieces to faster pieces. Getting a metronome never hurts – even if you only need it for a few months until you’re a little more comfortable with what you’re doing.
If you’re still unsure whether or not you need a metronome, test yourself. Record yourself playing a song you play all the time.
Use an online metronome to try to find the tempo you’re playing at. It might be harder than you think it will.
It might change several times throughout the recording, even if it isn’t supposed to. Unless your tempo is unwaveringly perfect, you’ll probably benefit from a metronome.
What Instruments Can a Metronome Be Used With?
A lot of people don’t realize that metronomes aren’t just for classical instruments or playing styles. An emo guitarist can use a metronome with his Fender Telecaster.
A hardcore drummer can use a metronome to help her keep her hi-hat foot in time. Metronomes don’t have limits on instruments, genres, or playing styles.
Do Musical Experts Use Metronomes?
Yes. A lot of experts started out using metronomes and mastered their art so much that they outgrew the need for them, but some experts still use metronomes to help them retain their vast wealth of musical knowledge.
It’s sort of like a little background reminder about how a specific complex piece is intended to be played. Metronomes aren’t just for the beginner.
A lot of popular musicians even use metronomes on stage, in the form of a click track. The click track will play the metronome timing in an earpiece, preventing them from falling out of sync with each other.
This is super important when they are a lot of things going on. Four or five musicians doing their thing with backing tracks and samples and loops playing in the background can’t even hear themselves think, making it easy for the timing to fall by the wayside.
Even if you don’t see or hear an actual metronome when you’re seeing your favorite band play live, they’re probably using some kind of equivalent in the form of a clicking signature to help everything come together seamlessly.
They might even have their drummer act as a human metronome with the hi-hat or bass drum so that the other musicians can pick up cues for when it’s their time to jump in.
What is a Simple Metronome Used For?
Simple metronomes, like wind-up pendulum metronomes and quartz metronomes, are best for piano. That’s basically what they were invented for.
Sheet music has a lot of instructions going on, and with both hands doing different things while your eyes are fixed on that sheet music, timing is a difficult thing to incorporate into the mix.
That’s where the metronome comes in. It’s set to do a specific job. Whether you’re playing Bach’s Largo for Violin or Chopin’s Prelude in E Minor on the piano, you can just listen for the metronome to tell you how each section is supposed to go.
What is a High Tech Metronome Used For?
They also will often save your presets, which is very convenient for people who are learning and experimenting with music that drastically varies in BMP. Since they’re programmable, some of them come with inputs for multiple kinds of instruments.
Metronomes have come a long way from being just a little ticker box. If you need more help with timing and rhythm or if you’re trying to teach yourself a new set of skills, a high tech metronome can act as your personal digital teacher.
Some of them even come preloaded with small lessons or practice sessions you can use to help you warm up.
Why Shouldn’t I Use a Metronome App or Software Program?
You’ve probably seen metronome apps in the app store. Some of them are ad-supported and free, and others cost money.
There are also software metronomes that you can use on your computer. These seem really convenient, but they probably aren’t going to help you as much as you’d like.
Not only do they take up space on your phone or your hard drive, but they’re not as versatile as traditional metronomes.
I used to use them, and there’s why I stopped: when my phone is in my hand, I’m not practicing. I pick it up to make an adjustment to the metronome, and I wind up mindlessly browsing Facebook or Instagram for 15 minutes that I could have spent practicing.
It’s always a distraction to have technology in the way, especially when you’re working on something hard. It’s more fun to play with your phone, so it’s easy to slip into that terrible habit.
If you’re not worried that you’re going to get distracted, there are also a few other caveats. One is that they kill the battery on your phone incredibly quickly.
Two is that they can’t really replace silent pulsing metronomes, and three is that you’re limited by your phone volume. If you can’t hear your phone ring over the sound of your instrument, you aren’t going to hear your metronome either.
If you put headphones on to hear your metronome, you can’t hear your instrument. It’s an unsolvable dilemma.
Though it won’t matter to some people, there’s also a fourth reason. You can’t use inputs on your phone for your instrument, so if you want to be able to directly connect the two, you’re totally out of luck.
You can’t sync them up or program your set list, either. This might not be a deal breaker for the average Joe, but there are additional limitations.
You can’t play music on your phone and use the metronome app to measure the BMP. That’s always a headache for me – I like to open my music app, play what I want to learn, find the timing on the metronome, and jot some stuff down.
I take notes when the tempo of a song changes and I can’t instinctively figure it out. Even if you have the music playing and the app on at the same time, it can’t properly register or record anything from the phone’s speaker.
It only seems convenient, but in reality, you’ll find that it’s keeping you from doing a lot of the things you’ll want to do when you’re practicing.
What if I Hate The Noise of a Metronome?
Recently, noiseless metronomes have come into the market. Think about wearable techs, like FitBits and smartwatches.
There’s a metronome equivalent, and you can get it in two ways – as a clip-on, or as a wearable.
If you’re the kind of person that likes to tap your foot to keep time, you’re going to get a similar benefit from a silent wearable metronome.
These kinds of metronomes are ideal for drummers, who probably wouldn’t be able to hear even the loudest metronome while playing since the volume of drums can’t really be adjusted. They’re also ideal for people who want to be able to use their metronomes in concert or during live performances.
Multiple people rehearsing different music or parts with different time scales in the same room also like these metronomes, because it keeps people from getting confused. There aren’t a bunch of different ticks coming from different directions that ultimately make it easy to feel lost.
Everything is contained, and everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing simply by a pulsing feeling.
A lot of musicians prefer the pulse metronome for the long-term learning benefits. You associate your timing and rhythm with a feeling in your arm, rather than a clicking noise.
Some people wear it helps them develop muscle memory, so when they pick up their instrument again without their pulsing metronome, they remember how the pulses felt.
I Heard You Shouldn’t Use Metronomes!
There’s a little bit of controversy surrounding metronomes, but it’s time to put that controversy to bed. Metronomes offer a lot of benefits that it would be a total shame to disregard.
Some musicians call it cheating, but that’s highly debatable.
They say it’s worthwhile to learn the hard way to develop natural rhythm, but that’s not an innate instinct for a lot of people who are passionate about the instrument they play.
Sure, everyone might have some kind of natural rhythm, but that doesn’t mean that their natural rhythm is going to be intuitive to the piece they want to play. Someone with a furious, thrashing natural rhythm who would be excellent playing black metal might not be naturally inclined to keep timing with something slow and long.
Someone who likes soft and dreamy music may not be able to keep up with the fury of an orchestral piece about war. It works both ways.
If you want to master everything across the board, relying solely on your natural rhythm might limit you. This is especially important when you play multiple instruments and you love a diverse range of music.
You need to train yourself to be able to explore things outside of your comfort zone, and the metronome can keep you from slipping up. It’s like a supportive little sidekick that helps you build better habits, whether that habit is slowing down or speeding up.
Technically, metronomes don’t need to be used indefinitely. They won’t become a crutch in your abilities as a musician if you’re making the most of what you’re learning.
If you practice with a metronome a lot, you won’t need it forever – it will positively impact your ability to moderate and control your own natural rhythm to suit whatever it is you’re trying to play.
When you think about it, using a metronome is a lot less intense than taking direct lessons or copying what you hear. By copying, you aren’t developing an innate knowledge of how the timing works.
Don’t listen to people who tell you that you don’t need a metronome. Some people are just naturally better at timing and rhythm than other people, but we all learn somehow.
Maybe they learned differently. There’s absolutely no shame in making the most of a tool that accomplished musicians have been using for literal centuries.
You’ll eventually get to the point where you can play like a prodigy without a metronome anywhere nearby.
How Do I Practice With My Metronome Without Becoming Dependent on It?
This will show them whether or not they’re able to independently keep the time.
By running the same exercise over and over again while turning the metronome back on at different points, they’re able to pinpoint exactly where they’re stumbling. It could be a difficult transition that’s throwing them off for a few seconds, disturbing the overall timing in the long term.
Rhythm disruptions might merely be the result of a small technical hang up that needs some fine-tuning.
What Else Can a Metronome Help Me With?
Some people use metronomes specifically to work on alternate picking or strumming speed. If you play guitar, banjo, or a similar instrument, you can use the metronome to see how fast you’re strumming.
Stick to an open string and completely ignore the frets, because they’re not important. Start out small, and work your way up to as many beats per minute you can effectively handle without hitting the adjacent string.
Over time, you can actually strengthen your strumming wrist and refine the motor control with that exercise. You’ll be able to play super fast pieces without slipping up or getting painful wrist fatigue that makes you want to put down your instrument early.
Try to practice doing it on a frequent basis, but don’t do it so often that you hurt your hand and wind up hindering your progress. You’ll need a little bit of time to recover for the muscles and tendons in your wrist to actually get stronger.
If it’s the chords you’re worried about, you can also use the metronome to monitor your transition speed. If you get slowed down switching chords without making any mistakes, your metronome can tell you where your comfortable timing is.
You’ll know what you need to work on in order to improve your overall fretwork. You can take notes and use them for chord exercises, then come back to the metronome to measure your progress.
You can also use a metronome to help you get used to playing with other musicians, without actually having anyone else in the room. When you mess something up, you probably have a tendency to repeat it until you get it right.
If you did that with other musicians, you’d throw everyone else up.
You’ll be likely to disturb your bandmates or practice buddies.
What Are Some Other Uses for Metronomes?
There are special metronomes designed to be used to treat insomnia and anxiety, inducing relaxation by timing breaths to the clicks. They’re also used as hypnotherapy tools or meditation accessories.
These metronomes will sometimes have other features, like prerecorded ambient noise. Some of them may not be as consistent in their construction as musical metronomes, which never miss a beat.
Make sure you’re not grabbing one of these models by mistake – you don’t want to sit down to practice your timing only to fall asleep to soothing ocean sounds.
Some runners use metronomes to help them run faster, making their right and left steps with the tick and the tock.
Dancers will sometimes use metronomes to practice moves without the music, which is especially helpful when they need to be able to hear an instructor or coach giving them personalized directions to perfect their movements.
Metronomes can help you improve timing or pacing in almost anything – they’re not just limited to music.
Though I’m personally more partial to high tech metronomes, there are plenty of great low tech metronomes that will do exactly what you need them to.
These metronomes are all great for specific purposes, though if you play a whole bunch of different instruments, it’s worth splurging on a higher tech model that will let you save your presets. These are merely the metronomes I’m happiest to have tried, and I’m sure a lot of other musicians will feel the same way.