Online Metronome

Use our free metronome to hone your rhythm, time signatures, subdivisions, & time feel.

Type, click, or tap to set the tempo

Change beat tones to play with subdivisions

Put your rhythm to the test by dropping out beats

Metronome Instructions

A metronome is one of the most useful (and underrated) tools you have at your disposal as a guitarist. Use our free online metronome to hone your sense of rhythm and time feel.

How to set and change tempos

Use the left and right arrows, your keyboard, or tap feature to adjust the tempo (which is measured in BPM or beats per minute). You can set the tempo from 20 - 400 BPM.

  • Clicking ">" will make the tempo faster.
  • Clicking"<" will make the tempo slower.
  • Double click and delete the tempo to type in a tempo of your choosing.
  • Trying to figure out a song's tempo? Use the tap feature to tap along with the beat.

Subdivisions

Subdivisions refers to dividing a beat into smaller units. The most common time signature is 4/4, which means that you're hearing a quarter-note pulse every time the metronome makes a sound.

Dividing up a whole note gives you the following common subdivisions:

common subdivisions in 4/4 time

Practicing different subdivisions is helpful in a variety of situations – like when you're working on a really fast piece of music, need some help staying on the beat, or want to practice different styles of phrasing.

Our metronome defaults to 120 beats per minute in 4/4 time. Here are some helpful settings you can use to practice common subdivisions at that default setting:

  • Whole notes = Drop out beats 2, 3, and 4 (so only the 1st column makes sound)
  • Half notes = Drop out beats 2 and 4
  • Quarter notes = Default setting with all 4 beats making sound
  • Eighth notes = Set the metronome to 240 BPM with all 4 beats making sound

Tips for Practicing With a Metronome

At Pickup Music, we're massive believers in the old adage "Slow and steady wins the race". This couldn't be more true with metronome practice.

Practice makes permanent, not perfect.

No matter what you practice, it's crucial to start slow and gradually increase your BPM. If you start at a tempo that's too fast, you're just training your hands to make mistakes.

For example, let's say you're trying to learn how to change between two chords in a rhythm-guitar context. Here's how you could approach that with a metronome:

  1. Find your starting tempo – this is the BPM where you can switch between two chords on the beat while getting a clear sound out of each chord. Let's say ours is 50 BPM.
  2. Play 'till it's perfect Practice your chord changes until you can play through what you're working on at least five times in a row with no mistakes.
  3. Gradually bump up the tempo – Move on to 55 BPM and repeat step 2.
  4. Track your progress and set a goal – Increasing your speed takes time. Give yourself a good nights rest when you feel like you're hitting a metronome plateau. If you metronome practice into your daily routine (even 5 minutes per day helps) and track your progress, you'll be astounded at how quickly you progress.

You can apply this general process to any piece of music you're learning.

Additional tips for metronome practice
Use the "beat dropping" feature to test your rhythm.

Metronome practice is key to developing your rhythm, but it's important to make sure the metronome isn't doing all of the work for you! Our beat dropping feature allows you to mute certain beats so you can test your timing.

For example, in 4/4 timing, if set set the metronome so that only the 1st beat makes a sound, you'll have to use your rhythmic instincts to keep playing on the beat. For an extra challenge, set the metronome to 8/4 and leave only the first beat highlighted. Can you stay on the beat?

Practice playing ahead of, behind, and on the beat.

Certain styles of music call for syncopation, which means you're regularly playing ahead of or behind the beat to create a feeling of tension against the established pulse.

To get comfortable with this, practice playing one chord so that you're striking it just before or after the beat. This will help you strengthen your rhythmic control and get closer to the feel of jamming live with other musicians.

Explore more metronome and rhythm drills in our Music Theory Bootcamp.

This guided, step-by-step learning pathway for guitarists is going to transform the way you play and hear music. You'll learn all about rhythm – from the absolute fundamentals to advanced metronome tricks and odd time signatures.

What Is a Metronome Used For?

As a guitarist, you need a metronome. There are no exceptions to this rule!

It’s a key tool to own as a musician, and you should incorporate it into your regular practice routine to make sure your rhythm is on point.

If you often play guitar alone, you may not realize that your timing is off, and you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise if you bring your sloppy timing to a jam with other musicians.

A metronome will help you ensure that you stay on the beat, strengthen your ability to manipulate "time feel" through syncopation, track your progress, and learn music efficiently.

What's a Time Signature?

If you look at a piece of sheet music, you’ll notice two numbers stacked on top of each other that look like a fraction.

This is a time signature – it tells you the meter and pulse for a given piece of music.

  • The bottom number tells you the type of rhythm or pulse (ex. 4 = quarter note)
  • The top number tells you how many pulses (beats) per measure (ex. 4 = four quarter note pulses per measure)

How to Improve Your Rhythm

Learning rhythm is simple. First you need to develop your sense of rhythm away from the guitar through clapping, reading, counting and (most importantly) feeling different rhythms. Then, you need to apply and practice those rhythms on guitar.

A common mistake beginner musicians make is not devoting enough attention to rhythm. You can play the best guitar licks in the world, but if they aren’t in time, you’ll sound like rubbish.

Musicians only want to perform with musicians who possess a great sense of rhythm. Listeners love hearing tight and groove-heavy music. Investing your time now into developing your rhythm – both on and off your instrument – will significantly boost your musicianship.

Of course, this is all easier said than done, and deciding what to work on can be a huge pain. If you're struggling to plan out rhythm practice, check out our guided Music Theory Bootcamp – it's designed specifically for guitarists to give you the clearest pathway to learning the most practical and important music theory skills.

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