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Thread: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

  1. #1

    Default PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    I just noticed a 2010 thread here about uneven clicks on those metronomes.
    Instead of raising a thread from the dead ...

    This is about those metronomes with a moveable weight on a pendulum arm that points up and swings back and forth.
    I've googled around and this simple fix seems to not be very well known.

    Problem:
    The time between each click is supposed to be even, but often it isn't so the time between every other click is longer.

    Nothing's wrong with the metronome.
    The problem is, the surface it's resting on is not level.
    That makes the weighted pendulum move faster when it is going downhill than when going uphill.
    The fix I keep reading about is people propping up one side with pieces of paper to make it level.

    But all you have to do is rotate the metronome till the time between the clicks is the same.
    There will be two positions (180 degrees apart) that produce even clicks.

    Why does this work?
    Imagine riding a bike on a large paved but slanted surface.
    Riding uphill will be hard, but downhill easy.
    But if you turn your bike 90 degrees to the slant of the grade you are not riding uphill or downhill.
    Same with the metronome's pendulum.
    Last edited by Tico; Apr-10-2019 at 5:46pm.

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  3. #2
    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    Ive been trying this with my metronome but its hard. I keep falling off the bike.
    No matter where I go, there I am...Unless I'm running a little late.

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  5. #3

    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    Lol.

  6. #4
    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    --Mike Buesseler

  7. #5

    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    Good stuff!

  8. #6
    Registered User Timbofood's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    It’s like pendulum clocks, they must be adjusted so they are “in beat” which might not be how they might appear perfectly straight on the wall or mantle clocks might need to be shimmed so they work properly.
    I have seen movements inside cases that are not perfectly centered in the vertical plane, it might be half a degree or more but, it will make a difference.
    Timothy F. Lewis
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease a very big skillet" J.D. Clampett

  9. #7

    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    Quote Originally Posted by Timbofood View Post
    It’s like pendulum clocks, they must be adjusted so they are “in beat” which might not be how they might appear perfectly straight on the wall or mantle clocks might need to be shimmed so they work properly.
    I have seen movements inside cases that are not perfectly centered in the vertical plane, it might be half a degree or more but, it will make a difference.
    Good point.
    In my house I'd just rotate the grandfather clock so it's at whatever angle makes the pendulum swing on a level plane.
    The clock wouldn't look right, but it would work right ... function over form, I say!
    I'm kinda weird and it would be a great ice-breaking conversation starter.

  10. #8

    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes


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  12. #9
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    I never could work with those old style metronomes, though I lean toward the simpler I found that a good electronic one works better for me. I have a Seiko.
    Jim

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  13. #10
    Registered User flatpicknut's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    Lol! I got my Seth Thomas metronome when I was a freshman in college (1979) and I took it back to the dealer because the time between ticks was inconsistent. They couldn't hear the problem but gave me a different one, and it had the same problem, too. The inconsistent timing annoyed me enough that I basically let it set on a shelf all these years. I'll have to try out this interesting fix! (I'm sort of relieved that there apparently is a real problem and that it wasn't just my imagination.)
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  14. #11

    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    Quote Originally Posted by flatpicknut View Post
    Lol! I got my Seth Thomas metronome when I was a freshman in college (1979) and I took it back to the dealer because the time between ticks was inconsistent. They couldn't hear the problem but gave me a different one, and it had the same problem, too. The inconsistent timing annoyed me enough that I basically let it set on a shelf all these years. I'll have to try out this interesting fix! (I'm sort of relieved that there apparently is a real problem and that it wasn't just my imagination.)
    Apparently you placed it on an unlevel surface in an orientation that made the pendulum swing alternately uphill, then downhill.
    But the dealer happened to place it on a level surface OR placed it on an unlevel surface but it happened to be placed so the pendulum swung perpendicular to the tilt of the unlevel surface.
    Let us know whether rotating it slowly to many orientations evens out the time between clicks.

    If it does you owe me a beer.

  15. #12
    Registered User flatpicknut's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    Quote Originally Posted by Tico View Post
    But the dealer happened to place it on a level surface OR placed it on an unlevel surface but it happened to be placed so the pendulum swung perpendicular to the tilt of the unlevel surface.
    No, the metronome was not even between ticks at the dealer either. They just said they couldn’t hear anything wrong when we tried my metronome.
    Doug Brock
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  16. #13

    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    I have the mini plastic box version. It works fine, fits in a case, and unwinds after a while giving you a break. I also much prefer
    the tic tock over any electronic tone I've heard. I usually use it on a desk top and have no issues.
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  17. #14

    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    I have an old pendulum metronome which is very uneven and has to be held at an extreme angle to work correctly. On the other hand, if you place it on a level surface it clicks in 6/8 time.

  18. #15

    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    Nice clip, but what does it have to do with this thread? Did I miss the metronome reference?

  19. #16

    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    Quote Originally Posted by David L View Post
    Nice clip, but what does it have to do with this thread? Did I miss the metronome reference?
    I think it's just the name, Tico.
    That's my name.

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  21. #17

    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    Sorry, Tico Tico is one of the songs we played in the Atlanta Mandolin Orchestra when I was in high school. I wouldn't have ever built a a mandolin if I hadn't met those folks, there were two builders in the ensemble at the time and they really encouraged me to start building.

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  23. #18
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    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    Quote Originally Posted by Tico View Post
    the time between every other click is longer.
    Really? Or is this just the wording? Or am I reading this when I should be asleep?

    Wouldn't the time between every other click (let's call them odd) be the same, and the time between the evens be the same, but the time from odd click to even click be different from the time from even to odd?


    Oh, there must me a simpler way to put that.

  24. #19

    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyV View Post
    Really? Or is this just the wording? Or am I reading this when I should be asleep?

    Wouldn't the time between every other click (let's call them odd) be the same, and the time between the evens be the same, but the time from odd click to even click be different from the time from even to odd?


    Oh, there must me a simpler way to put that.
    Ok ...
    Below is an example of the issue, which is solved by rotating metronome so its arm no longer swings uphill then downhill ...

    With the metronome set for for 60 clicks per minute:

    Time between click 1 and 2 is 1.1 seconds.
    Time between click 2 and 3 is 0.9 seconds.

    Time between click 3 and 4 is 1.1 seconds.
    Time between click 4 and 5 is 0.9 seconds ... and so on.

    After rotating the metronome so the arm moves on a level plane, the time between every click is 1 second.

    Thanks for the request for clarification.
    Things can never be too clear.
    Last edited by Tico; Apr-15-2019 at 4:49am.

  25. #20
    but that's just me Bertram Henze's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    It's curshed...

    the world is better off without bad ideas, good ideas are better off without the world

  26. #21
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    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    Quote Originally Posted by Tico View Post
    Ok ...

    Thanks for the request for clarification.
    Things can never be too clear.
    Sorry Tico, That was just me maybe being a bit of a smartass. I think we understood what you were saying.

  27. #22
    Registered User Polecat's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    Quote Originally Posted by David L View Post
    I have an old pendulum metronome which is very uneven and has to be held at an extreme angle to work correctly. On the other hand, if you place it on a level surface it clicks in 6/8 time.
    I am guessing that it was probably dropped at some time. Mechanical pendulum metronomes (at least the better ones) usually have one fixed and one movable plate between which the escapement axle runs, the movable one making it possible to adjust the mechanism to run regularly on a level surface. When I used a mechanical metronome (I've switched to an app on my tablet), I would check the regularity by setting it to 60 bpm., play one stroke with every beat, then two, then four (effecdtively 240), if the metronome didn't line up precisely with every fourth stroke, it wasn't running accurately. My stepdaughter is a watchmaker by profession and we tried to adjust it to be 100% accurate, but could never get it exactly right. It was she who introduced me to the doubling and quadrupling of the beat - that's how clockmakers used to do it before there was electronic help.
    "Give me a mandolin and I'll play you rock 'n' roll" (Keith Moon)

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  29. #23

    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    I've just dug out my Witner Pyramid, it's a modern plastic one, it keeps the timing perfectly.


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  30. #24

    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    Quote Originally Posted by Polecat View Post
    I am guessing that it was probably dropped at some time. Mechanical pendulum metronomes (at least the better ones) usually have one fixed and one movable plate between which the escapement axle runs, the movable one making it possible to adjust the mechanism to run regularly on a level surface. When I used a mechanical metronome (I've switched to an app on my tablet), I would check the regularity by setting it to 60 bpm., play one stroke with every beat, then two, then four (effecdtively 240), if the metronome didn't line up precisely with every fourth stroke, it wasn't running accurately. My stepdaughter is a watchmaker by profession and we tried to adjust it to be 100% accurate, but could never get it exactly right. It was she who introduced me to the doubling and quadrupling of the beat - that's how clockmakers used to do it before there was electronic help.
    I had it in college and can guarantee it was dropped more than once, along with several other things.

  31. #25

    Default Re: PSA - those old-school wooden pyramid metronomes

    Don’t puts down those old pendulum swinging metronomes so fast! After listening to this you may see those vintage Wittner Metronome prices skyrocket and take over the classified section!
    Here is a very interesting talk by well known world class violinist Catherine Cho. She is a member of the string and chamber music faculty at The Juilliard School, A prize winner in the ’91 Hannover and ’89 Queen Elisabeth competitions, and a frequent guest with “Musicians from Marlboro.” She has also collaborated with many renowned artists and performed with orchestras around the world. This is a talk from “Thebulletproofmusician” a great site on Performance by Noa Kageyama PhD, Performance psychologist and Juilliard alumni & faculty member. He regularly provides evidence-based topics on improving musical and general performance!
    I follow his blogs and highly recommend them. Excellent content. If I was more youthful, full of vigour for my world tour I would definitely sign up for his online courses!

    Why metronome practice often doesn’t work, how to solve this issue, and why she likes the old-school “pendulum” metronomes best! If you don’t want to listen to her complete talk go to (4:56). However I recommend finding time to listen to her complete talk. Here is the link.
    Enjoy, Barry

    https://bulletproofmusician.com/cath...the-way-to-go/

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