What alternatives to a metronome ??? .

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ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1121
So after the recent discussion on who uses metronomes, and my admission of a pathological hatred of the little beggars, I thought I should ask for your thoughts...

What alternatives are out there to practice to?
   without the psychologically disturbing "click" that takes hours / days / weeks / months to get out of your head.

Manufacturer, model, apps for phone or tablet, bring out your dead....

Any ideas would be appreciated, especially as it seems I am not the only one who hates them.

And I do think that a good groove goes way beyond the constriction of a midi file, so if there is anything out there that fits that bill then please share.

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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 9778
    SR-16 ;)
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1121
    Thanks @Phil_aka_Pip

    So I googled SR16 - and this is what it gave me -


    No variable tempo and I'm not sure I can keep up with that  :-O

    OR - is it the best way of silencing a big hairy arsed drummer ?
    In which case what do I use as a volume control on one ?
    And how do you switch the drummer back on after removing all the rounds ?

    I presume you mean the Alesis SR16, I hope.  See I've been out of the industry for so bloody long I even had to use Google for what (probably) everyone else on the forum already knows.

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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 22571
    edited May 2014
    SR-16 ;)
    ^^

    This or a Roland drum machine - they have a range of styles with bass or you can program your own with full control over the tempo so you can start slow and build up your speed. I have a DR-880 which I've used for years. It has guitar tones so you can plug your guitar in, select or create a tone, pick a drum track set the tempo and jam through headphones. An all in one practice unit.

    http://www.roland.co.uk/products/subcategories.aspx?c=69

    Obviously you can do this on a computer through a DAW or similar.
    A good swordsman is more important than a good sword — Amit Kalantri

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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1121
    Cheers @Fretwired.

    I like the idea of an "all in one" solution of plug the guitar in and be able to use headphones if required.  The addition of a bass track is another bonus.  I'll check both out a bit further.

    I am not going down the DAW route just yet, not enough hours in the day as it is.  A bit further down the line it will become a necessity I think.

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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 9778
    Yes, Gentlemen, I did mean the Alesis and not the assault rifle ;)

    There are of course other alternatives but a half-decent drum machine plus a "Rhythm Pattern Dictionary" which tells you how to program beat patterns in a variety of styles, is very instructional.

    The nice thing about the SR-16 is that it is just a drum machine, leaving you with all the guitar sounds and everything else you might want up to your own choices. Whereas some Boss or Zoom products with it all in the same box will lock you in to their versions of OD, distortion etc which might not be what you want.
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 22571
    @ChrisMusic @Phil_aka_Pip

    The guitar tones in the DR-880 are good enough to practice with ...


    A good swordsman is more important than a good sword — Amit Kalantri

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  • frankusfrankus Frets: 4711
    a Linn Adrenalinn III :D
    A sig-nat-eur? What am I meant to use this for ffs?! Is this thing recording?
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  • johnnyurqjohnnyurq Frets: 1354
    How about a Boss DR-5 that I have no need for these days (newer toys means tata). It does drums. bass and synth tones wiht keys to program notes set out like a fretboard.

    http://www.bossus.com/gear/productdetails.php?ProductId=115

    http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1994_articles/may94/bossdr5.html




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  • steamabacussteamabacus Frets: 981
    I think one of the best devices for honing your timing is a looper pedal.

    I've used a Line6 DL4 for years (quite basic looper) but I've just acquired a new Digitech JamMan Solo XT - this gives you basic beat box style accompanyment if you want it plus is fully linkable to a computer via usb so you could load it with any percussion loop you wanted.
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 22571
    frankus said:
    a Linn Adrenalinn III :D
    I've got one of those as well - great fun.
    A good swordsman is more important than a good sword — Amit Kalantri

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 48644
    The Zoom G3 has a primitive drum machine in it, and also a looper.

    I say primitive, but to be fair I've worked with drummers who know fewer patterns...

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • Toe_KneeToe_Knee Frets: 29
    Steven slate drums 4
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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 9778
    Fretwired said:
    @ChrisMusic @Phil_aka_Pip

    The guitar tones in the DR-880 are good enough to practice with ...

    Cool guy, good demo :)
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • monofinmonofin Frets: 1115
    @johnnyurq and @schnozzalee
    How much are you after for you dr's?
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 27890
    Some mates.
    http://uptheoctave.com
    Audio Production Reviews and Technique.
    Latest article for Production Expert: Mixing with guitar pedals. https://bit.ly/3hCtIHF
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  • CacofonixCacofonix Frets: 317


     a "Rhythm Pattern Dictionary"
    And all this time I never knew such a thing existed.  Where would I obtain one of these things?  It is the single thing stopping me from moving forward in a number of directions.
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  • johnnyurqjohnnyurq Frets: 1354
    edited May 2014
    monofin;238132" said:
    @johnnyurq and @schnozzalee
    How much are you after for you dr's?
    @monofin

    I will PM you just now.
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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 9778
    Cacofonix said:


     a "Rhythm Pattern Dictionary"
    And all this time I never knew such a thing existed.  Where would I obtain one of these things?  It is the single thing stopping me from moving forward in a number of directions.
    I bought mine some time ago, will have to dig them out. In the meantime this might help.
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 9778
    Cacofonix said:


     a "Rhythm Pattern Dictionary"
    And all this time I never knew such a thing existed.  Where would I obtain one of these things?  It is the single thing stopping me from moving forward in a number of directions.
    Opened a few cardboard boxes in what is to be "the studio", found these:

    • "Rhythmical Grooves & Patterns for Drum-Computer Rhythmic Composer Acoustic and Electronic Drums and Percussion" by Siegfried Hoffmann Pub. 1988 Voggenreiter, Bonn ISBN 3-8024-0174-3
    • "Roland Drum Machine Rhythm Dictionary" by Sandy Felstein Pub. 1987 Alfred Publishing Co, Calif. ISBN unknown (shame 'cos its a very helpful book)
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1121
    Some interesting alternatives coming through, thanks all.

    The Linn sounds interesting and rather quirky.

    Rhythm and looper is a tempting combination.
    I have held off of the looper thing, as there are so many options in different price points, and never having used one I guess it's the paralysis of the unknown, or of choice.  I really should find out more, maybe I'll save that for another discussion though.

    I have to say Roland do get some great musicians doing their demos.

    I agree the  "Rhythm Pattern Dictionary" is intriguing.  (I take it that the book data is posted for shared information)  Thanks

    Keep the ideas flowing...

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  • CacofonixCacofonix Frets: 317
    Cacofonix said:


     a "Rhythm Pattern Dictionary"
    And all this time I never knew such a thing existed.  Where would I obtain one of these things?  It is the single thing stopping me from moving forward in a number of directions.
    Opened a few cardboard boxes in what is to be "the studio", found these:

    • "Rhythmical Grooves & Patterns for Drum-Computer Rhythmic Composer Acoustic and Electronic Drums and Percussion" by Siegfried Hoffmann Pub. 1988 Voggenreiter, Bonn ISBN 3-8024-0174-3
    • "Roland Drum Machine Rhythm Dictionary" by Sandy Felstein Pub. 1987 Alfred Publishing Co, Calif. ISBN unknown (shame 'cos its a very helpful book)
    Thank you.  I will look out for these. 

    ISBN Located:

    • ISBN-10: 0739027263
    • ISBN-13: 978-0739027264

    Only £50 from Amazon.


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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 9778
    £50!  :-O
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • CorvusCorvus Frets: 1687
    tFB Trader
    Same as @steamabacus I've just bought a Solo XT, from exocet on here. It has a basic beat that you can turn on/off any time, and takes an SD card - I'm currently collecting a few backing tracks to go on that. Could also home-brew some, if I had more of a clue how to use my freebie Ableton...
    Corvus (BillKat)
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  • kelvinburnkelvinburn Frets: 153
    Roland MC303 groovebox. Drum machine, sequencer and all round box of noisemaking joy. Generally found on evil bay for <£100
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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1121
    edited May 2014
    Another Roland to check out - great, straight onto Google with that then.

    Yes Phil that's about the face I puled when I got to the £50 bit - rip and off came to mind at that point (at least I think the word was rip). (maybe worth scanning it though, just for a select few, non ?)

    @steamabacus I am intrigued about your statement "I think one of the best devices for honing your timing is a looper pedal".
    I don't want this thread to get into loopers per se, I haven't used one so I don't have a valid perspective on them, but from the metronome and timing point of view what is your experience ?

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  • steamabacussteamabacus Frets: 981
    edited May 2014
    @steamabacus I am intrigued about your statement "I think one of the best devices for honing your timing is a looper pedal".
    I don't want this thread to get into loopers per se, I haven't used one so I don't have a valid perspective on them, but from the metronome and timing point of view what is your experience ?
    I'll try and keep this succinct (it's a huge subject)

    First of all, I have to say that I don't think there's any real substitute for working with a metronome (or a click of some kind) - the unforgiving nature is very revealing of all your flaws and rhythmic quirks - and, although I rarely use my metronome now, I did spend many hours practice with that infuriating click click click back-in-the -day.

    Developing a good sense of rhythm is about internalising a strong sense of metronomic pulse. Our perception of time subjectively changes due to various factors (adrenaline, mood, frustration, etc.) - we need some kind of objective external reference in order to become aware of this, either a mechanical (or, nowadays, electronic) device or by, for example, playing along with a more experienced teacher - we have a natural facility to entrain rhythmically with others. This is how traditional african drumming rhythms are taught.

    But, and this is especially true with guitarists I feel, it's easy to slip into a mode of playing where you are just tagging along with a strongly expressed rhythm (the drummer - this is why they have to learn to play in time. Sadly, they rarely do!). Developing good timing (and, by extension, good phrasing) requires you to develop a feel for where the pulse is and also where the notes you play lie in relation to that pulse. It's not actually desirable to play absolutely metronomically - that just sounds like a machine - but it is desirable to have a strong sense of that metronomic pulse and, importantly, share and communicate that sense of metronomic pulse with the other musicians you're playing with. In other words, the beat becomes something collectively established by the group rather than something established by the player with the biggest, loudest, most percussively dominant instrument (yes, drummers, that's you) and slavishly followed (or chased) by everybody else.

    So, metronomes and loopers.
    With a metronome, it's still incumbent upon the player to develop an awareness of where, relative to the pulse, you are pushing and pulling the beat. Not to simply 'tag along' unconsciously but to become consciously aware of where the pulse is (the click of the metronome) and where the note is (that you're playing on the guitar). That takes a certain amount of objectivity that can be at odds with the immersive subjectivity that often accompanies playing the guitar. Maybe this has something to do with why playing to a metronome can be so annoying?

    Playing with a looper (and also with a rhythmic delay, á la Steve Hillage) gives you an immediate feedback of your timing. It's a really common experience when learning to use a looper that the looper switching is malfunctioning in some way - that there's some kind of latency or error in the switching. (I've just started a new ambient project with three synchronised loopers. Both of the other guys are new to looping - both have problems timing the loop accurately, both have experienced the 'but I'm sure I got it right that time' moment over and over again). It is very common to discover that where we think we are playing a note (or operating a pedal switch) and where we actually are playing that note, are not the same. Loopers are utterly unforgiving in this.

    Another advantage with loopers is that it can give you immediate feedback on your phrasing timing. As you overlay layers on a loop, if your timing is poor your funky groove will quickly turn into a leaden plod. As that man Steve Hillage once pointed out, groove is all a matter of micro-timings ahead of or behind the beat. It is very difficult to address these factors analytically - using a looper allows you to develop a feel for how to play one part relative to another in order to establish a groove.

    It soon becomes apparent that a killer groove is not about everybody playing everything at exactly the same time, bang on some metronomically accurate rhythm. It's about everybody playing in and around the beat, subtly pushing and pulling while, at the same time, sharing and communicating a sense of that metronomically accurate pulse between themselves.

    Or so I reckon. I should shut up now, I think.
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  • I agree with you man.

    It really helps me to start with a metronome, then... Er... Headbang in time.

    Rock and roll, baby.

    Seriously, it is helping massively.  However, there is no substitue for a drummer or a metronome.  I'm just trying to become less dependant. 
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  • 57Deluxe57Deluxe Frets: 6946
    I prefer the direct approach when drumming it in to my students...




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  • 57Deluxe57Deluxe Frets: 6946
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  • steamabacussteamabacus Frets: 981
    edited May 2014
    I agree with you man.

    It really helps me to start with a metronome, then... Er... Headbang in time.

    There's actually a lot of wisdom in this. So many players stand stock still when performing but it's all the foot tapping, nodding, head banging ... Shadows' dance steps if you must .... that help comminicate that shared sense of pulse amongst the group.
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