Old School Metronomes

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by AndrewMartinMusic, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. AndrewMartinMusic

    AndrewMartinMusic Member

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    This might sound crazy, but does anyone prefer using the older style mechanical/pendulum metronome over a quartz/digital one. I've always used a digital one since I was a kid. The other day, I was teaching a lesson and realized I had left my metronome at home/somewhere else. I asked my student if she had one and she pulled out her dads old school wood one. At first I was a bit bummed out because it sounds different than a digital one. I was thinking that it wasn't very accurate or as precise as a digital one. After a few minutes I was kinda digging it though. You can hear the swing off the pendulum coming through in the click and it was pretty fun to play along with. Has anyone else noticed this?
     
  2. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    I like clockwork metronomes--and even prefer old plug-in-the-wall wooden metronomes that actually have a mechanical hammer apparatus--to new, battery-powered "beepy" types.

    The main reason is, the high-pitched beepy sound gets on my nerves. A nice mechanical 'click' is much more enjoyable to practice with, for me. Other reasons: no batteries to change or get weak.
     
  3. gainiac

    gainiac Senior Member

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    I like the sound of the Akai MPC's click.........

    It's sort of like a soft.."pip,pip,pip,pip....."....

    Not ear fatiguing at all.........
     
  4. Brion

    Brion Supporting Member

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    I like my wittner wind up deal because of the more pleasing clack.
     
  5. stevel

    stevel Member

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    I agree with this and the others that the "beep" is the main turn off for me of digitals.

    However, one big plus of the nicer digitals is they can do accents for divisions and subdivisions, asymmetrical meters and so on. And it seems to me many of them have gone for a more "traditional" clack.

    I've messed with some software versions that let you choose a pre-recorded sound file to make the click sounds, or send it to MIDI so you can pick whatever sound you want, which is kind of cool.

    Peace,
    Steve
     
  6. AndrewMartinMusic

    AndrewMartinMusic Member

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    Yes, the click is more pleasant for sure on an older wooden metronome, but I'm actually trying to describe something else. It's the actual (sense of) time from the pendulum that seems to me to be different than with a digital click. I'm not sure if it's that you can hear the click loud and than soft as the pendulum swings away? I'm not sure why, but it seems to me that the mechanical ones are much (or maybe just slightly) more organic and musical. Am I alone?
     
  7. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    Hmm... if I had to guess, I'd say what you're perceiving is the 'less urgent' quality of a clockwork metronome. The click itself has a more natural transient envelope, due to its acoustic nature, than an electronic 'beep.' The click 'blooms' more slowly. The beep is "full on" right away.

    This is probably what you're feeling. If I had to guess, I'd surmise that it's similar to the difference between a walking bassline on a double bass, versus an electric bass. The slow bloom of the sound contributes to the groove.

    That's really the only thing it could be, I guess, provided both metronomes are working properly. Since it's just a click, it cannot be "behind" or "ahead" of the beat without speeding up or slowing down! the actual timing of the clicks cannot change without changing the tempo. An exception would be a defective clockwork metronome, with bent parts. I've heard one before that actually did 'swung eighth notes" because of a defect in the mechanism.
     
  8. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

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    Analog metronome all the way... :phones :roll
     
  9. JonR

    JonR Member

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    I dunno about organic, but the visual cue of the pendulum is a great additional aid to the click. I mean, there's a literal "swing" there... ;)

    You do get lights sometimes on the digital ones emulating that back-and-forth swing, but its not the same as that moving arm. The wood ones are generally bigger, at least, easier to see out of the corner of your eye.

    As long as you keep them wound up, they're great. Otherwise they really will slow down. (Unlike the digital ones, which just SEEM to slow down sometimes... don't they? ;) )

    Hey - no batteries either! eco-friendly!

    (Hmm, now someone's going to suggest bringing back real drummers, instead of drum machines... :eek: :worried:hide:NUTS
    ... no, OK, silly idea ;) )
     
  10. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a Seiko which has a lot of possibilities but lately I'm thinking of getting one that goes "tock" when it chimes. It sounds more like a drum to me and since I am working on playing 2 and 4 on the strong hits this might be easier to get in sync with then a beep.
     
  11. KagakuNinja

    KagakuNinja Member

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    I have an old windup one I got at a garage sale, it is kind of cool. I don't use it though, because someone (Tomo?) recommended not to. I've been using my Petersen VSAM II. It clicks (not beeps); my main complaint is that it doesn't go slower than 40 BPM.
     

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