• Paul Anderson

Using a metronome to play well!

I set myself the challenge to learn the very challenging 'Scuttle Buttin' by Blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughn, over 12 days. I filmed the progress to demonstrate the benefits of consistent relaxed practice with a metronome and notepad!

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Below are notes from the practise diary I kept.

I recommend keeping a diary to chart your progress. It helps you keep track and see how you are progressing.

Generally I tried to just stick to two twenty minute sessions per day, occasionally I did more but wanted to show what could be achieved with regular consistent practise over sporadic long practise.

-- Start slow - at first learn to understand the riff/idea and how to count it without a metronome.

-- Once you understand the riff, learn to play it at a slow, comfortable speed

-- Start every day at a speed that is comfortable, then push it until it starts becoming uncomfortable, THEN slow it back down to a speed where you can repeat it comfortably without mistakes or feeling rushed.

-- Take your time! As Guthrie Govan says - 'Speed is a byproduct of accuracy'

-- Backing track -

Day 1 - Spent an hour or two learning the riff. Once understood, played at 60bpm

Day 2 - Session 1 - Moving up 10bpm after 4 or 5 good repeats. 110bpm a bit sketchy. 100

bpm comfortable.

Session 2 - Started 80bpm. Up to 120bpm (very sketchy). 110bpm okay, 100bpm

very solid. Finished on 90bpm for accuracy.

Day 3 - Session 1 - Started at 100bpm. 120bpm sounding pretty nice but not 100%

consistent or relaxed. Bounced between 100bpm & 110bpm. Finished on 80bpm

for accuracy.

Session 2 - Started 100bpm but mainly stayed at 110bpm today. 120bpm Okay. 110

& 110bpm solid & relaxed. finished 90bpm

Day 4 - Session 1 - Started 90 or 100bpm (forgot to write this down). Cruised at 120bpm.

130bpm quite messy. Mostly switched between 110bpm & 120bpm.

Session 2 - Started 120bpm but messy so went straight back to 100bpm. Built

speed up again. 130bpm good. 140bpm pretty good. 150 sketchy but worked!

Finished on 120bpm, then 90bpm, then 60bpm for extra accuracy.

Day 5 - Session 1 - Felt a bit clunky today. Went from 100bpm to 120bpm quickly. Went up

to 140/150bpm but not great so back to 110/120bpm. Finished on 100bpm then


Session 2 - Actually went really well. Started 110bpm, straight to 120bpm then

130bpm. Managed up to 150bpm - pretty good but not consistent or confident.

Grooved a bit on 140bpm then took it down to 130bpm. Finished slowly on

100bpm then 70bpm

Day 6 - Got up to 150bpm but everything was clunky the whole of today. Tried to go

straight in at 130bpm but didn't work well. Should have gone in slowly and built up.

Spent a lot of time bouncing around different metronome markings. In the end did

a fair few repeats on 70bpm. Too tired to concentrate today!

Day 7 - First session - Better today. Pretty comfortable at 130bpm. Okay at 150bpm.

Finished slow.

Second session - Even better. I realised I was digging in too much and also tried to

think about the phrasing a bit differently. Actually managed several runs at 160bpm

and a messy one or two runs at 170bpm. Grooved fairly well at both 140bpm &

150bpm. Finished on 80bpm then 100bpm. Weekend off

Day 8 - Session 1 - Started 120bpm. Felt pretty good. Played competently at 140bpm. All

way up to 170bpm okay. Finished on 120bpm and 150bpm.

Session 2 - Grooved at 160bpm mostly Day 9 - Very busy so only managed one

session today. Started 120bpm. Grooved at 140/150bpm and even 160bpm.

Managed a few at 170bpm but not very clean.

Day 10 - First session - Started 120bpm, then up by 10's to groove at 150bpm, then 160bpm.

170bpm messy. Grooved back at 150bpm, then finished on 130bpm and 120bpm.

Second session - Left it way too late. Really tired and aching from a workout. Kept it

slow & focused on end lick. Definitely should have done it earlier!

Day 11 - Practising with backing track- full speed and slowing it down using YouTube.

Day 12 - Achieved goal! Comfortable grooving with backing track at full speed. Pretty

happy with today.

Day 13 - Just jammed and played solos for fun- no recording or effort today.

Day 14 - Plugged pedal boar into Logic ProX and recorded groove to get nicer sound. I

hope this has been helpful to anyone wanting to know about using a metronome

to develop speed. Any questions just hit me up in the comments!

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