What's the best metronome for us?

July 19, 2007 at 07:17 AM · What is a good metronome to use for violin practice, and should it include a tuner? Merci.

Replies (46)

July 19, 2007 at 09:54 AM · I use the Sabine MT9000. It's compact, fits easily in the violin case, and has a multitude of functions, including a tuner. I believe Southwest Strings, as well as Shar, both carry them.

July 19, 2007 at 12:15 PM · I think there's no single "best". It depends to some extent on what features are important to you, and what your budget is, etc.

For many years I had a Seiko (don't remember the model#) and was very pleased with it. Finally it broke. I thought I'd try something simple, cheap, and easily portable, and ordered Shar's own house brand, "Metro Tone". I was very dissatisfied with it, and returned it. They advertised it has having a "very loud beat". On the contrary, it had a pretty soft beat - hard to hear over my scales. Also the dial was very awkward to use. At a local music store I bought a Sabine "Zipbeat-6000" for only about $20. I like it. The beat is loud enough, and it's very easy to move the dial around. The only thing is that I find it a bit hard to read the numbers under the reflective dial cover. But maybe that's just me in need of reading glasses!

July 19, 2007 at 01:18 PM · One thing you should consider is whether you want to get a combination tuner/metronome. I have one of Shar's which works well for me. It cost $15.99 if I recall correctly.

July 19, 2007 at 01:35 PM · Dr. Beat baby!

July 19, 2007 at 01:28 PM · I used the basic Seiko model for a long time, and it finally bit the dust after falling on the floor one too many times. That would be my fault, not Seiko's.

I then bought a Sabine Metrotune MT9000, which has a tuner, tones, and all sorts of subdivided beats. It is compact and cute, but it was not loud enough to teach with. So the Sabine is now my travel metronome.

I now have a Korg KDM-2, which is loud enough to wake the dead. This one also has all of the nifty tones, tuners, and subdivisions.

If you want to go all out, get the Dr. Beat Boss metronome, which does everything but the dishes. If you like electronic doo-dads, then this is your best pick.

July 19, 2007 at 05:00 PM · The metronomes I like best have these three specifications:

1. Loud. (Many metromomes are too quiet to be well heard while the violin is playing at high volume.)

2. No A for tuning. An electronically generated A is generally an ugly tone. Not the kind of sound I would want my students to have as their daily reference! There is already too much stridency pollution! Students should surround themselves with beautiful sounds. I ask them to get a tuning fork for tuning. It makes a pretty tone, it is inexpensive and it requires no batteries.

3. Absolutely no tuner (of the kind that tells you whether you "on pitch" when you play into its microphone!) These are so harmful. I absolutely guarantee that anyone who uses one of these to determine whether a particular note in a piece, etude or scale is in tune will train themselves to have terrible intonation. Anyone who doesn't believe this would do well to perform the following experiment: adjust the first finger, first position E natural on the D string until it is exactly in tune with open G (playing the 2 notes together, as a double stop). Now, leaving your finger on this E, play it as a double stop with open A. It will be out of tune!! In order for the E to be in tune with open A, you will need to raise the pitch. Thus proving that there is no one pitch for E (or any other note) that is always in tune. Rather intonation is largely the skill of choosing which one of the many pitches in the vicinity of a note fits the musical context. Would you want your student to be trained by a machine to always choose the same pitch for a note? Think about it.

The Franz, plug into the wall outlet type, is my favorite. It is no longer made, but is available used, on Ebay.

July 19, 2007 at 03:16 PM · So I have three metronomes and a chromatic tuner...

At home I like to use a big, old-fashioned wooden Wittner that rocks from side to side. The students like this, too. It's nice to have the visual element, and it's pretty loud.

I also have the pocket-model Dr. Beat, which is good for excerpts because you can set it on virtually anything. You can get up to something like 300 beats per second, which I wanted for extremely obsessive detail work. But, the battery ran out on it quite a while back, and I can't figure out how to replace it (or at least it's enough of a pain that I won't take the time).

Also I have an ancient "Tempus" quartz metronome with the manual dial and 440 A. It's LOUD and reliable. I still use it a lot and bring it to auditions. And the battery is easy to change. :) But the A doesn't help, because now everyone uses 442.

So I also have a small "Qwik Tune" automatic chromatic tuner, which can be adjusted to tune anywhere from 436 to 445. It also fits in the case.

July 19, 2007 at 04:12 PM · I use metronomeonline dot com, and a little Korg when I'm away from the computer, but most often I just use the one on my keyboards.

July 19, 2007 at 04:31 PM · I'd suggest the old-fashioned wind-up weighted pendulum style for a couple of reasons.

1) It's loud, so you can hear the clicks while you're playing.

2) If you have a habit of getting off-tempo, this will be easy to follow, since you can watch the pendulum and tell when it's about to click, so you don't play a beat too fast or slow.

3) Have you ever picked up a child's toy and pressed a button on it, and the voice was low-pitched and spoke slow, because it was so old? I don't trust electronic devices for accurate measurements of pitch or tempo. As the device ages, it'll become less and less accurate.

July 19, 2007 at 05:26 PM · Dear vcommy friends,

Rather than starting a separate new thread, I added a third paragraph to my post above. The subject of this paragraph is one about which I feel the strongest conviction. I would be grateful if you might read this just added paragraph, as I very much want to share this idea.

July 19, 2007 at 06:05 PM · Electronic tuners are good for tuning very high portions of scales and arpeggios, in my opinion. Tuners, however, should only give you an IDEA of how in tune/out of tune you are (aka you are playing an E and the tuner says you are playing an E flat)

July 20, 2007 at 03:52 AM · Agreed. Tuners go bad. Electrical or not; even the pitch pipes eventually go out of tune.

July 20, 2007 at 05:53 AM · My metronome also has a light that blinks with each click, and I find this useful. No one's mentioned this yet...

July 20, 2007 at 07:12 AM · I used to be of the same opinion as Oliver - thinking that it wasn't worth getting an electronic tuner because you're just not always going to be in tune. However, my intonation was (and still is) my biggest problem. After a semester of working with an electronic tuner (and of course my ears), my intonation has taken a large leap in the right direction.

For those whose intonation isn't a major hindrance to their playing, an electronic tuner might not be the best device, but for someone who is having issues with it like I was, an electronic tuner can be a life saver (so long as it's used with the knowledge that it's tempered tuning and not adjustable).

As for me, I preferred the old Pendulum style metronome because it's loud and easy to adjust and switch on. However, one day I noticed that mine had decided to go all jazz on me and started swinging the beat. Had to throw it out (I actually opened it up to see if I could fix it). So now I'm using a Seiko metronome, which is ok, but a bit quiet. Hoping to get myself a nice wooden metronome soon.

July 20, 2007 at 12:18 PM · Tuner to check if my fingers are falling in the right place: useless.

Tuner to check the piano A at all my different audition locations and to minimize nasty shocks when moving from cold to warm rooms (and the other way around): indispensible.

July 20, 2007 at 02:13 PM · I tried many kinds, and settle for Korg Beatlab for my bad sense of rhythm. I am happy with the fact that I can program a few measures to learn the beat at a time. The price for this one is much cheaper than Boss as well. My teacher uses Seiko. I have Seiko SQ 100-88. It is very good, but no as good as the Korg Beatlab for my purpose.

July 20, 2007 at 02:41 PM · The Dr. Beat works extremely well for me. You can even put in syncopation beats.

For playing in tune I love my "The Tuning CD." This plays chorded drones in any key you could possibly want so you can coordinate you intonation with whatever key is playing. Simply program that track to endlessly repeat if you want to spend time on one key.

July 20, 2007 at 03:15 PM · "However, one day I noticed that mine had decided to go all jazz on me and started swinging the beat."

When that happens, try propping one side higher than the other.

July 20, 2007 at 04:02 PM · I have the Dr. Beat. It's loud and I like the voice option.

July 20, 2007 at 09:41 PM · BTW, do they still make the old plug-in kind, favored by pianists? I haven't seen one in a store or catalog in a long time. It's not big on bells and whistles, but it's really loud.

July 21, 2007 at 04:05 AM · I much more old fashioned but, I use the Wittner manual. I tried an electronic one, but it wasn't loud enough for me to hear over the violin. Also, I could never figure out how to set the thing to my desired beat. It is pretty funny though, I can operate my computer, MD, DVD and TIVO player, but put a metronome in front of me and my mind goes blank. Oh yeah and I'm a fan of the tuning fork too, LOL I'm 27 yrs old, but I smell of moth balls.

July 21, 2007 at 05:07 AM · To me, there is something inately irriating with those "electronic torture devices". Electronic beeps or clicks have no place in my music. I also use the old fashioned wooden box with a wind-up pendulum. I prefer the nice solid loud click, and what was stated before, you can SEE the swing, much like a conductor's wand.

July 21, 2007 at 05:27 AM · A tuner works really well for tuning your A string in the event that you don't have an oboist or a piano available...

January 24, 2008 at 08:47 AM · You can always use online metronome for example

http://bestmetronome.com

January 24, 2008 at 11:03 PM · Greeitngs,

I think you need thre emetronomes. The big wooden one at home becuase the visual aid of the arm is really importnat. A smaller electronic one that fits in your case. The Yamaha hearing aidf size version you can use while sitting ona train or walking the dog.

Cheers,

Buri

January 25, 2008 at 12:24 AM · just get one that's loud and can go everywhere.

January 25, 2008 at 01:20 AM · hearing aidf size version you can use while sitting on a train or walking the dog.

Absolutely, another interesting activity to while away the hours of a long train ride.

But 'Walkin' the Dog', hmmmmm, not too sure about that,

I think you need to take the whole band with you, like this..........

http://www.myspace.com/henrybutcher

I swapped my clockwork metronome for a electronic one, but it just refuses to ‘swing it’.

And I can’t see the dial without my glasses, so I'm pleased to have http://bestmetronome.com as a desktop icon.

January 25, 2008 at 02:29 AM · The Yamaha QT-1 has two pleasing sounds, take your pick. It has a volume control, a flashing light, and built-in A440 if you like. It's very portable. It can play plenty loud and it's nearly indestructible. It takes a 9-volt battery. The price is reasonable.

I've had mine around 15 years. I love it (obviously).

February 25, 2008 at 05:09 PM · The new RHYTHMSOURCE metronome is without a doubt the best metronome to use, for musical practice. You can phrase with it, and the visuals are cool. I also like the "just intonation" scale, a different slant on pitch.

Andy

February 25, 2008 at 06:00 PM · Wow. That's really cool.

http://www.rhythmsource.com/dev/metro_faq

Thanks, Andrew. :)

February 25, 2008 at 07:42 PM · Nothing warms my heart more than seeing my students' eyes light up when I haul out Dr. Beat (I named mine "Betty") and set her to scream triplets! ;-)

February 25, 2008 at 07:06 PM · Tone generators aren't all bad, if used properly.

While teaching my students scales initially, I will usually play the tonic and then have them tune all the resulting intervals (it's an eye opening experience, especially for the ones who played piano first and are used to strict ET tuning).

Having something like a DB-88 allows my students to practice with a drone on their own without requiring a second player, or double stops (as some have not developed that facility yet). Obviously it's not a model for tone, but it's used in moderation, until a student can internalize their reference pitch.

February 25, 2008 at 11:01 PM · Here's the one I use. It works really well and now I love using the metronome it's really fun. Here's a link so that you can see it and read about it's features.

http://www.korg.com/gear/info.asp?a_prod_no=MA30&category_id=5

February 25, 2008 at 11:27 PM · The one that keeps time. Check it against your watch and or heart beat.

February 25, 2008 at 11:57 PM · Mine is lost at the moment, so I can't check the brand. It's an electronic one, but it has a bouncing light to show the clicks. I can also plug it into my stereo which is really nice. If you're concerned about volume that would be an excellent option to look for.

February 26, 2008 at 01:34 PM · Has anyone tried the BodyBeat metronome yet? it looks like a good idea, but does it work?

February 26, 2008 at 04:50 PM · I recently purchased a Boss DB-90 and am very happy with it. It has more features than I need but I bought it for it's optional voice mode which says the beats and can be set to even say eighth and sixteenth notes and triplets ("one and two and" "one e and a two e and a" etc.) This has really helped my younger students. A sub divided beat is also available in several other normal metronome sounds.

May 27, 2011 at 07:37 AM ·

My teacher tells me, to my shame, that I'm rushing some 16th-note passages in the Telemann viola concerto.  Get thee to thy metronome, she said.  But I can't hear my little Korg TM-40 when I play.  I need something so loud that I'll reform my 16th notes ASAP just to stop the beating of its hideous heart!

This string is a bit old now; are your recommendations still the same?

May 27, 2011 at 07:50 AM ·

Do you have old computer speakers sitting around? I use TM-40 as well, and this combination serves me very well. Here is another similar thread.

May 27, 2011 at 11:18 AM ·

 My first teacher used a thin switch from a tree as a metronome. Painful but very effective. Nowadays I prefer my trusty mechanical Seth Thomas metronome. Nice and loud, accurate and no batteries. Everything I want in a metronome, minus the bruises.

May 27, 2011 at 05:33 PM ·

I use a Matrix MR600 that I've had for years. It's virtually indestructible; I've dropped it so many times it's not even funny, yet it keeps on ticking! It has a very pleasing "tock", with a green light that goes back and forth across the top which is useful for syncopation. It has a setting that you can pick a beat to be accented (i.e. accent every 2nd beat, 3rd beat, 4th beat, etc.), it also has a tuner built into it. I don't use that function very much, as the volume leaves a little to be desired. The volume for the beat is great, although when the battery runs down it will start to fade.  

 

My teacher uses a Matrix MR800, which she swears by. It is super super loud (which is helpful when you practice fortissimo), and there is no volume control. It doesn't have the tuner, either, but it does have the accented beats. It has a bigger-sounding "tock", which tends a little to the "click" side. (I guess a "tick" if you wanna get technical) There is also a light across the top, which blinks red.

 

The prices are pretty hefty, but it's totally worth it. They're good quality, they fit in the case, and you'll never have to buy another.

May 27, 2011 at 07:22 PM ·

The mechanical wooden ones tend to have very loud beats.   This is even more important if you are playing the piano while using it.  

May 28, 2011 at 05:00 PM ·

I'm happy with my Korg MA-30 Metronome/Tuner.  It only cost a bit under $20.00 USD.

May 28, 2011 at 08:02 PM ·

Korg KDM2 is my rec-- if you're looking for a loud metronome. 

January 29, 2012 at 10:30 PM · I really to get a good loud metronome. I have a small, cheap Korg metronome that sounds about as loud as a clapping ladybug.

January 30, 2012 at 09:36 AM · it depends on what kind of music you play. If you play contemporary music or even Bartok I would suggest a metronome where you can program every bar. Very useful if there is a lot of timesignature changes or/and syncopations.

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