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Thread: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

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    Doc Ivory Doc Ivory's Avatar
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    Default Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    The "Iron Maiden" is the term I ascribe to the common metronome.

    It's completely without feelings, deadly accurate and is always willing to point out your deficiencies. Still, its the best device I've found for getting my timing a bit better when it slips, even after all these years of playing.

    Most people will resist it when I suggest just a few minutes a day of practice with it and I just don't know why. It really does help get your mind working well with times and rhythm though most ignore it. I almost hate to suggest it to new players anymore.

    I used to set the metronome up for say 80 beats per minute and just tap my knee in time to get that rhythm planted in my head back in the day.

    Korg makes a wonderful electronic metronome for a bout 12 bucks and is a lot better than my old clockwork and weight unit.

    Oh well, times area changing.
    Doc Ivory
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    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    When practicing I like to use this metronome app on my phone. It keeps time and was free.

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    Doc Ivory Doc Ivory's Avatar
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    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    Quote Originally Posted by Zach Wilson View Post
    When practicing I like to use this metronome app on my phone. It keeps time and was free.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Free, now thatís my price!
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    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    Yeah, the metronome is a harsh mistress. But it is by far the most effective tool I've found for improving my timing. If I can play something with swing and pulse against a steady backbeat, then I know that I'm getting it. Like, really getting it.
    Mitch Russell

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    Registered User Bob Visentin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    Players with bad unsteady rhythm will ruin any jam for me. Many will get upset and insulted when I suggest they practice with a metronome.

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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    Since I was a young kid I've had an ancient Regulator wind-up pendulum wall clock hanging over my head, much of the time in my bedroom where I learned to love and hate it, to sleep, study, work, basically live with it. It was the timekeeper at my dad's elementary and high school and he was around it since he was around 10 years old. I've inherited it and continue to live with it over my head, as has my wife for 43 years and my kids since they joined us. As an extended rhythmic reminder, and also because we all like real wind up clocks now, my whole family has also lived with an original old cuckoo clock in another part of the house.

    Today my wife and I and our cats and dog are the only occupants of the house, but we continue to keep the clocks going. As it has worked out, three out of four of us humans who have occupied the house are dedicated part time musicians, and the fourth can understand music having taken piano for a number of years but it just isn't his current preferred pastime. Of the three of us who are into music, two of us are bass players, two are rhythm guitarists, one a lead guitarist, one a singer, one plays banjo, mandolin, Dobro and flute. Rhythm is what we've lived with for so long.

    The old Regulator still hangs over our music room, where I practice daily. We do have a dedicated metronome in the piano bench, but when it's time to verify rhythm and tempo, the Regulator is my metronome. It's very convenient to slow down to some fraction of 120 bpm to get the rhythm and tempo even and balanced... And then eventually to bring the music up to speed or faster. I've felt resistance to using a real metronome, but I don't hesitate to use our Regulator as my monitor frequently each day. It's always there and running, ready to help... It's just the natural thing to do.
    Last edited by dhergert; Dec-30-2018 at 10:13am.
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    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    The problem I have practicing with a metronome is it slows down on the easy part and speeds up on the hard parts.

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    Registered User John Hill's Avatar
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    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    I thought this might be about a Rime of the Ancient Mariner mandolin cover.
    There are three kinds of people: those of us that are good at math and those that are not.

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    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    I also downloaded a free metronome app on my phone. I use it most of the time I am practicing. My wife and kids were all in band in high school, and my wife says you learn pretty quick to stay in time.

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    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Visentin View Post
    Players with bad unsteady rhythm will ruin any jam for me. Many will get upset and insulted when I suggest they practice with a metronome.
    Same here.
    I have very little patience with musicians who never use a metronome.

    My long gone violin teacher would come back from the dead and kick my ass if I stopped using one.

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  17. #11

    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    I have a very compact wind up metronome I use often, if not daily. When I find a new exercise, I always use it. I'm doing a chromatic exercise that goes to the fourteenth fret. Trying to get clean notes up there is hard, but there is no sence doing the exercise fast and either slowing down or playing sloppy up high on the neck.

    It's a love hate thing for sure.
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    Doc Ivory Doc Ivory's Avatar
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    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    [QUOTE=Br1ck;1693685

    It's a love hate thing for sure.[/QUOTE]

    It is for certain a love/hate relationship with a metronome.
    Much like yourself, I do exercises with it and I swear there are days itís just wrong or trying to trip me up.
    Alas, itís never the device but always yours truly.

    It really is a great device for reenforcing timing
    Doc Ivory
    -Play loud, live long..

  19. #13
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    writing about music
    is like dancing,
    about architecture

  20. #14

    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    we gave my youngest daughter a cheap $40 keyboard for Christmas, this thing will lay down entire drumlines. it might be a little less tiresome that way.

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    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    I downloaded a free app on my iPad that tunes and has a metronome.
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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    Just a reminder, many of our common electronic clip-on tuners have a visual metronome.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
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    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

  23. #17

    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    Just a reminder, many of our common electronic clip-on tuners have a visual metronome.
    Holy cow, you're right! I never knew.

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    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    For whatever reason, I find that the visual doesn't work for me. In fact, I find that it distracts me and pulls me off. YMMV.
    Mitch Russell

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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    I think the reason a visual metronome works for me is that when I'm in a band or jam situation, often I can't hear certain instruments, like bass or rhythm guitar due to other instruments -- due to my own hearing loss as much as anything -- and I've taught myself to follow the tempo based on watching strums of the most reliable rhythm guitar or of the bass. For me, this is one of the most valuable things about learning how to play without having to watch my hands.

    Related to that, one lesson I've learned from watching my wife is not to watch people singing for this visual metronome -- a good singer / guitar player will sing an expressive, free rhythm, but play guitar dead on beat.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
    2016 MK LFSTB
    1975 Suzuki taterbug (plus many other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [7/29/2019 -- New Arrival!!!]

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    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    When I was growing up I didn't have much of anything, grew up pretty poor didn't start pickin till 13 in the early 90's and with my family pedigree on Dads side them being Great pro pickers and all with my parents divorce when I was 4 or 5 I didn't see them so I may of started sooner and got instruction but I was flying blind for years! Learned on a little 50's plywood Sears and Roebuck guitar that Dad gave me along with a cheap mandolin and I didn't have a metronome so I started playing along to records, tapes Dad sent me then cd's. It gave me the feeling of playing with others and to play with timing that's on. Sure I'm just an improvisational player that usually just plays what pops in my head as I never really was shown much just a few chords and learned some scales that's it! My advice get out and play with others, "we all have to start somewhere and if anyone gives you guff!, hey your trying, your learning and more than likely they were there when they started out!" So pop in a Cd a tape, a record if ya'll know what those things are or any of those new gadgets that hold 2000 cd's in the palm of your hand!
    Metronomes are great too don't get me wrong but if you want to resist that "Iron Maiden" put in that Cd and train your ear to hear those key changes and it will come. But with anything its all what you put of yourself into it, I pry drove my Mother nuts just trying to learn those chop chords, those alternating rhythm patterns on guitar for endless hours! And if your in a picker deprived area such as I was a Cd with all your Grass or whatever your into is the best as playing with other better musicians will make you a stronger more confident player In My Honest Opinion. Happy New Year and Keep on a Truckin!

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    Registered User G7MOF's Avatar
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    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    I thought the iron maiden is a torture and execution device, consisting of an iron cabinet with a hinged front and spike-covered interior, sufficiently tall to enclose a human being.
    I never fail at anything, I just succeed at doing things that never work....


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    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    Your foot is a good metronome, if you follow it, your foot will keep great time. The problem most have is they tap their foot to the music instead of playing the music to their foot.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  31. #23

    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    I absolutely detest drum machines or any electronic device people use to "enhance" a performance, including pre recorded loops. But if you have not developed a good sense of time, your music will suffer. The beauty of a metronome is you can't fall into the trap of unconsciously slowing down the difficult bits. It won't lie.

    Any performer using a bass and drums devise to provide a "band" looses my attention from the get go. I just leave. I know that most don't care, or maybe even aren't aware. Looping in real time is an art that I admire, but not too many folks do that. But if a drum machine works for your practice, go for it.
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    Bluegrass Mayhem marbelizer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    Back in the '90s, before there were apps, I was playing the fiddle and struggling with Irish tunes. I bought a small cary-in-your-case 'mini maiden'. It was inexpensive, tiny, adorable and handy but hard to hear especially when there's a fiddle next to your face. Muting the fiddle didn't help much either. I was a broke boy back then and buying a real full sized quality maiden wasn't happening. I would put the mini maiden on a small light cedar box for some acoustic advantage then place a metal pie pan behind it. It was still marginal though it made it loud enough to be able to practice with it.

    Later I came to my senses, put down the fiddle and focused on the mandolin.
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    Default Re: Resisting the "Iron Maiden"

    I also spend one year in high school in a marching band, my timing has always been accurate since, although I still practice
    with a metronome.
    Foot tapping: I have seen people in jams foot tapping completely out of time, no rhythm, mostly random taps, I pretend not to notice
    look the other way, make me queasy to watch.
    next to a poorly played fiddle or bagpipe is playing out of time, it messes everything up

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